Abject destruction has been the name of the game for the Oregon Ducks all season and they will look to continue that trend on Saturday when the Colorado Buffaloes head to Autzen.
Led by a scintillating offensive attack, the Ducks have defeated opponents by an average score of 52-20 this year and come into Week 9 ranked fourth in the BCS standings. A massive victory is the only way Chip Kelley's squad will be able to impress voters this week, so look for some running up of the score if possible.
Hoping to keep the game within reach is a Colorado squad that stands 1-6 after losing to USC last week. Not much is expected of the Buffaloes against Oregon, but sometimes it's the teams with nothing to lose that are the most dangerous.
With that in mind, here is a look at everything you need to know about Saturday's contest.
When: Saturday, Oct. 27 at 3 p.m. ET
Where: Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore.
Watch: Pac-12 Network
Stream: Pac-12 Network Live Stream (must be a Comcast subscriber)
Betting Line: Oregon (-45.5), according to Vegas Insider
Colorado Injuries (via USA Today)
QB Jordan Webb, Arm, Probable
LB Brady Daigh, Neck, Questionable
WR Paul Richardson, Knee, Out for Season
Oregon Injuries (via USA Today)
OL Nick Cody, Undisclosed, Questionable
DB Troy Hill, Knee, Questionable
TE Colt Lyerla, Leg, Questionable
OL Carson York, Knee, Out for Season
S John Boyett, Knee, Out for Season
Top 25/BCS Implications
Of the games on most sportsbooks, Oregon is the biggest favorite of any team in Week 9—and for good reason.
Unfortunately, it's an inevitability that the Ducks will lose points in most computer polls by merely showing up for Saturday's contest against the 1-6 Buffaloes.
Coupled with the fact that a Notre Dame victory against Oklahoma this week undoubtedly means the Irish would overtake the No. 4 spot in the BCS, Chip Kelly's squad needs a massive blowout to avoid a steep fall.
If Armageddon happens and the Ducks lose, well, let's just say that could be interesting to see how far they fall.
What They're Saying
If early week quotes are any indication, it seems like Colorado head coach Jon Embree knows his team doesn't have much of a chance.
In effusively praising the entire Oregon roster, he gave a jokingly creative (albeit illegal) strategy to stop the vaunted attack.
Here is what Embree said, via the Denver Post's John Henderson:
Yeah, if you get to play with 12 men. They have weapons at every position whether you’re talking about the tight end or talking about De’Anthony, Kenjon Barner or the quarterback. You can’t just say stop this guy and it’ll help you win. That’s not going to be good enough.
Despite eviscerating their opponents this season, the Ducks are still not satisfied with their overall performance. Linebacker Michael Clay in particular said that the team needs to do better at closing out contests, according to The Oregonian's Aaron Fentress.
"We want to finish better," Clay said. "We don't want to let two cheap scores get in there on us. ... It might come down to a late game so we need to finish better."
Colorado Player to Watch: QB Jordan Webb
If the Buffaloes are going to have any chance at making this contest respectable, they will need a breakout performance from their junior quarterback.
Thus far, 2012 has been a struggle for Webb as his inaccuracies and the lack of receiving talent surrounding him put the team into a constant bind offensively.
However, in the one game Colorado has prevailed, Webb was sensational. Completing 29-of-42 passes for 345 yards with two touchdowns while running for two more, he led a scintillating fourth quarter comeback to beat Washington State 35-34 in Pullman.
Webb will have to perform at a similar level (if not better) on Saturday.
Oregon Player to Watch: RB Kenjon Barner
Though Thomas is the player who consistently gets the most headlines for the Ducks, it's actually been Barner who has been the real star on the ground all season.
With three straight games of 120 or more yards rushing, the senior back has 870 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns on just 132 carries on the season.
That level of performance will undoubtedly be attainable again on Saturday against a weak Colorado defense. In their loss against Arizona State two weeks ago, the Buffaloes gave up 261 yards on the ground and allowed three Sun Devil runners to go over the 60-yard mark.
If recent history continues, Barner should be in line for a massive performance as he continues to have one of the quietly great seasons in college football.
Key Matchup: Colorado Secondary vs. QB Marcus Mariota
Also critical if Colorado wants to make this contest close is winning the turnover battle, which means forcing Mariota to some freshman mistakes.
Though he's been fantastic all season, the dual-threat has thrown at least one interception in four of the last five games and accounted for just 46 yards passing last week against Arizona State.
If there is any minuscule weakness that the Buffaloes can likely pick apart, it's with Mariota.
Unfortunately, their secondary has been so paltry all season that it seems unlikely that they could take advantage even if gifted the opportunities.
Look for Mariota to skate through this matchup before having to prove himself against far stiffer competition later in the season.
I'm not much for lunacy, so I'm taking Oregon and taking them big here. There is just far too great of a talent discrepancy and the Ducks have continually blown out lesser opponents all season.
Final Score Prediction: Oregon 63, Colorado 7
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