Week 14 - Oregon State at Oregon

Posted Nov 28, 2013

Week 14 Fearless Prediction & Preview - Oregon State at Oregon

Oregon State (6-5) at Oregon (9-2) Nov. 29, 7:00, Fox Sports 1

Why You Should Give A Hoot: For the first time in years, there's not a ton at stake in the 117th edition of the Civil War.

Yeah, this matters locally. It always will. But on a macro level, it'll be uncharacteristically unimportant, with neither school competing for a title of any kind. Oregon has carried the torch for the state for years, but the Duck dynasty is experiencing rare hardship. The program is coming off its worst loss in ages, falling to Arizona, 42-16, to hand the Pac-12 North back to Stanford. Oregon, now likely out of the BCS bowl picture for the first time since 2008, wants to maintain some semblance of order by beating the Beavers for a sixth straight year.

Since peaking with a brief appearance in the Top 25, Oregon State has circled the drain with four consecutive losses. The Beavers hit rock bottom in last Saturday's 69-27 home loss to Washington, which marked the most points ever allowed by the program. OSU is bowl-eligible, but that won't guarantee a bowl berth. There are nine teams available for seven slots, and the Beavers become less appealing to committees with each passing flop.

Why Oregon State Might Win: As long as Sean Mannion is under center and Brandin Cooks is running routes, the Beavers have a shot. When OSU was thriving earlier in the year, Mannion-to-Cooks was the most dangerous pitch-and-catch combo in America. Plus, the Oregon D is reeling after getting exposed for 29 first downs and 28 first-half points in last week's loss to Arizona. In the unfamiliar position of playing for a second-tier bowl game, where will the Ducks' heads be on Friday evening?

Why Oregon Might Win: Oregon State just got done being paddled for 692 yards by a U-Dub team that didn't have its starting quarterback. That's bad news with the Ducks up next. The Beavers were completely trucked on the ground by the Huskies, which figures to become a trend in Eugene. RB Byron Marshall is injured, but QB Marcus Mariota and backs De'Anthony Thomas and Thomas Tyner are eminently capable of exploiting their maligned opponent. Oregon will come out with something to prove after last weekend's embarrassment in Tucson.

Who To Watch Out For: Cooks vs. Oregon CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu will be one of the marquee matchups of the entire Week 14 slate. NFL scouts will be paying particular attention to these two stars fare when matched up against one another.

- Oregon is vulnerable between the tackles, but will the Beavers and RB Storm Woods be able to capitalize? Oregon State is 122nd nationally in rushing, and is averaging just 2.8 yards per carry.

- After getting challenged this week by coordinator Nick Aliotti, it'll be interesting to see how the Oregon D responds on Friday night. The Ducks hadn't played horribly all year, but now they've got to rally after bottoming out on Tucson.

What Will Happen: The Ducks will either come out flat or angry. The latter makes more sense since Oregon State will be in the other locker room. Yeah, Oregon is missing Chip Kelly after all, but the Beavers have officially derailed. Mariota, Thomas and the rest of the Ducks are poised to unleash a month's worth of frustration on a Beaver D that doesn't have a clue right now.

Prediction: Oregon 52 … Oregon State 27
Line: Oregon -22 o/u: 68.5
Must See Rating: (5 American Hustle – 1 The Sound of Music Live!) … 3.5
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