Week 13 – Oregon at Oregon State

Posted Nov 21, 2012

Week 13 Fearless Prediction – Oregon at Oregon State

Oregon (10-1) at Oregon State (8-2) Nov. 24, 3:00, Pac-12 Networks

Here's The Deal: The 116th Civil War has lost a little luster nationally. Inside the state borders, it's as hot and topical as ever.

No. 5 Oregon is coming off its first loss of the season, a crushing 17-14 defeat at the hands of Stanford. The Ducks' goals, which were within reach a week ago, have begun to slip away. The Pac-12 championship and BCS national championship aren't completely off the to-do list, but Oregon needs help to go along with a fifth straight win in this series. With a win, the Ducks will host UCLA next Friday night, provided the Bruins defeat Stanford Saturday evening. Making it to Miami? Oregon needs help, beginning with a Notre Dame loss to USC this weekend.

Oregon State's hopes of winning the North Division were dashed with its loss to the Cardinal two weeks ago. It rebounded, though, last week by thrashing Cal at home, 62-14. The Beavers still have a ton at stake at Reser Stadium, most notably upsetting an opponent that has owned the front page in the state for years. As successful as the program and head coach Mike Riley have been in 2012, much of their progress will be overlooked if they can't finally get past the mighty Ducks.

Why Oregon Might Win: Lightning won't strike twice.

The Ducks were corralled by Stanford last week, but a second straight poor effort from the nation's second-ranked scoring offense is highly unlikely. Oregon State has been terrific on defense all year, but Oregon presents unique challenges with its speed and complexities of the Chip Kelly system. This remains a program with three dynamic weapons starting in the backfield, QB Marcus Mariota and versatile backs Kenjon Barner and De'Anthony Thomas. Oh, and TE Colt Lyerla and WR Josh Huff are often overlooked and underappreciated targets for Mariota in the passing game.

As good as Oregon State has been on defense in 2012, it hasn't had to face a diverse and speedy attack traveling to Tucson in Week 3. Oregon is itching to get back on track on the fast surface at Reser Stadium.

Why Oregon State Might Win: Psychology 101. Oregon will still be adjusting to new goals, while Oregon State plays with all of the fire and passion of a school that's dropped four straight in a nasty rivalry.

The Beavers will begin Week 13 with a good mindset. They're healthy, well-rested and coming off an impressive win. Sean Mannion may have solved the uncertainty at quarterback, throwing for four touchdowns and one pick. And Terron Ward and Storm Woods snapped off long runs in the blowout of Cal. If the depleted, banged-up Ducks defense is unable to hurry Mannion's throws, he'll liable to pick them apart with help from the one-two receiving punch of Markus Wheaton and Brandon Cooks.

To its credit, Oregon performed well on defense last week, but depth has become a concern in Eugene. If the Beavers can grind the ball the way Stanford's Stepfan Taylor did last Saturday night, there's a very good chance that the Ducks will be gassed in the second half.

What To Watch Out For: Can Oregon State replicate what the Cardinal D did a week ago?

The Beavers are talented, especially on the perimeter, where DE Scott Crichton, CB Jordan Poyer and weakside LB Michael Doctor call home. They'll seal the edges and create turnovers, but don't have quite the muscle and physicality of Stanford in the trenches. Oregon State will need to be careful not to get stood up by the Oregon blockers. It doesn't take much to spring Barner, Thomas or Mariota, who have the acceleration to take a sliver of daylight and turn it into a crowd-quieting 50-yard burst.

What Will Happen: Oregon won't lose two in a row. But it will get tested by the best Oregon State team it's seen in years.

The Beavers are a quality team on both sides of the ball. Heck, they had league-leading Stanford on the ropes in Northern California just a couple of weeks ago before falling short. They're more than capable of hanging with the Ducks, especially if Mannion can build on last week's effort. Beating the Ducks, though, requires more than simply execution. It demands that Oregon State learn how to finally get past Oregon.

The Ducks keep winning the Civil War because, well, they're better and because they're in the Beavers' heads. And they'll stay there for at least another year. Oregon State will push Oregon into the third quarter before the stars on offense rescue the Ducks and prevent a second straight loss.

CFN Prediction: Oregon 38 … Oregon State 28
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Oregon -9.5 O/U: 64.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – Beware of Mr. Baker, 1 – Life of Pi): 4