Week 11 – Oregon at California

Posted Nov 8, 2012

Week 11 Fearless Prediction – Oregon at California

Oregon (9-0) at California (3-7) Nov. 10, 10:30, ESPN

Here's The Deal: Now that Oregon has passed its biggest test of the season so far, it has its sights on moving a step closer to the BCS National Championship Game.

The third-ranked Ducks put a historic beating on USC in The Coliseum, 62-51, moving one giant webbed step closer to Miami. Still, there are two teams in front of Chip Kelly's squad, Alabama and Kansas State, who've also yet to lose. Oregon needs to continue taking care of business, amass style points wherever it can and avoid any loss of intensity or focus this Saturday night in Northern California.

Cal has been a feisty and dangerous opponent when facing high ranked teams in recent years. Playing spoiler is about all the Bears have left to accomplish in 2012. The up-and-down tenure of head coach Jeff Tedford, the program has reached a low-point. After showing signs of a pulse with consecutive wins in October, Cal has since dropped three straight games to miss the postseason for the second time in three years.

Why Oregon Might Win: Cal couldn't keep up with the Oregon offense under any circumstances. The odds are even longer now that two of the Bears' best weapons, WR Keenan Allen and QB Zach Maynard, are unlikely to dress.

The Ducks just got done hanging more points on USC than any other team in history, getting 321 rushing yards and five touchdowns from RB Kenjon Barner. Not to be forgotten, QB Marcus Mariota was brilliant in a tough road venue, completing 20-of-23 passes for four touchdowns, while accounting for 400 total yards. The only reason that the Trojans even hung with Oregon through three quarters is because they possessed the firepower to do so. The Bears, on the other hand, won't, especially now that unproven junior Allan Bridgford is expected to be taking snaps.

Why Cal Might Win: In Oregon's rear view mirror is USC. Up ahead are crucial games with Stanford and rival Oregon State. This is the definition of a sandwich game for the Ducks.

If Oregon was ever going to look past an opponent, this would be it. The Bears are fading, and the Ducks can't wait to get back to playing meaningful games. Cal's formula for a Herculean upset will require playing keep-away from the Ducks offense, and delivering an epic performance defensively. The Bears will have to control the clock with their talented trio of running backs, C.J. Anderson, Isi Sofele and Brendan Bigelow. On D, it'll be all hands on deck, with the coordinator Clancy Pendergast attempting to box in the Oregon runners, and keeping them inside the tackles.

What To Watch Out For: The lone knock on Oregon in Week 10 is that its defense got roughed up for the first time this season. The unit will play with a lot to prove at Memorial Stadium.

Despite what happened at The Coliseum, this is still one of coordinator Nick Aliotti's best groups in Eugene. Even if star DE Dion Jordan is held out because of a shoulder injury, look for the Ducks to dominate an overmatched opponent with their speed and tenacity to the ball. This is one of those games that members of the back seven, like CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, FS Avery Patterson and linebackers Michael Clay and Kiko Alonso, spearhead a four or five-turnover night.

What Will Happen: Oregon might be looking beyond Cal … and still win by a bundle.

The Ducks are basically sandwich-proof because the Bears are that bad and that banged up. Oregon shouldn't have many problems firing up the offense the way it always does, and now the D has the added motivation of being reamed out all week. Once the visitors build a comfortable enough lead, which might occur before the halftime break, Kelly will gradually begin to pull his starters, making sure everyone is healthy for the upcoming games with Stanford and Oregon State.

CFN Prediction: Oregon 47 … Cal 14
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Oregon -28 O/U: 67.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – Skyfall, 1 – Wreck It Ralph): 3