Needing to win out in order to have a shot at the College Football Playoff, the Oregon Ducks have somewhat of a trap game this week as Stanford is next up on the schedule. If you’re the Ducks, you make sure to take each game a week at a time and never look ahead, because in years past, that’s how the Ducks found themselves on the outside looking in during the title race.
The California Golden Bears are the type of team that could give the Ducks some trouble if they aren’t paying full attention to the task at hand. Cal is just 4-3 this season, but two of those losses have come by a combined six points to teams that are now ranked in the Top 25. That 4-3 record could easily be 6-1 right now and the Golden Bears could be a team in the Top 25, hungry for a Pac-12 title.
Oregon has had one of the best offenses in the nation this season, like many of the past few seasons. Marcus Mariota leads the way for the Ducks as one of the favorites to win the Heisman. The junior quarterback has passed for 1,957 yards, 19 touchdowns and no interceptions while completing 70 percent of his passes for the 15th-best aerial attack in the nation. The superstar gunslinger has also rushed for 289 yards and five touchdowns, ranking second on the team behind Royce Freeman‘s 636 yards and 11 rushing touchdowns. Thomas Tyner and Byron Marshall have combined for 528 yards and two rushing scores while being second and third on the team, respectively. Marshall has also made some noise in the receiving game, catching a team-high 34 passes for 388 yards and three touchdowns. However, Devon Allen leads all receivers with 440 yards and six touchdowns on 23 catches.
California’s passing offense is one of the best in the nation, and it fits in quite well with the pass-happy Pac-12. The Golden Bears rank third in the nation in passing yards per game as sophomore Jared Goff has become one of the best quarterbacks in the entire country. Goff has passed for 2,482 yards, 24 touchdowns and just four interceptions while completing 65 percent of his passes. Junior wide out Bryce Treggs leads all targets with 33 catches for 401 yards and five touchdowns while Kenny Lawler is second on the team with 28 catches for 387 yards and six scores. Trevor Davis and Stephen Anderson have 360 yards apiece while Davis has 21 catches and four touchdowns while Anderson has 22 catches and two scores. Junior Daniel Lasco leads the run game with 523 yards and six touchdowns and Khalfani Muhammad is second on the team with four touchdowns and 174 yards.
Defensively, the Golden Bears could use some major improvement moving forward. Cal has been one of the worst defensive teams in the nation, ranking 120th in points allowed per game as well as a lowly 124th in yards allowed per game with 525. Oregon hasn’t been very impressive, either, despite their No. 6 ranking. The Ducks rank 101st in total yards allowed per contest this year as well as 48th in points allowed per contest. The crowd will be roaring and ready for a shootout at Levi’s Stadium.
Oregon will travel to California to take on the Golden Bears at 10 p.m. EST on Friday, Oct. 24. The game will be broadcasted on FOX Sports 1.
PREDICTION: Oregon 45, California 24
Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.