The No. 2 ranked Oregon Ducks haven’t been challenged thus far this season, but that is about to change.
The Ducks travel to Seattle, Wash., to take on the No. 16 Washington Huskies on Saturday.
No opponent has been within 39 points of the Ducks so far this season, but the Huskies proved last week they are a good football team.
On the road, Washington gave Stanford all it could handle, but came up three points short in a 31-28 defeat.
Playing at home against Oregon will give the Huskies some support, but will it be enough?
I say no.
While Keith Price and the Huskies have proven they can put points on the board (averaging 37.4 points per game), the speed on the Oregon offense is on another level. Stanford doesn't have the type of athletes at the skill positions that Oregon does.
Even if the Huskies defense plays well, it can only do so much against this versatile attack.
The Ducks' De'Anthony Thomas is perhaps the most deadly ball-carrier/receiver in the country.
He’s scored six touchdowns this season, while Byron Marshall leads the team in rushing and has found pay dirt four times. When you throw in quarterback Marcus Mariota, who has seven rushing touchdowns, there are just too many playmakers in the running game.
Ultimately, big plays will be the difference, and the Ducks have more players capable of breaking the game open.
The Ducks will beat the Huskies 35-24.
Here are my predictions for two other marquee matchups on the Week 7 schedule.
No. 25 Missouri Tigers at No. 7 Georgia Bulldogs
It is time for the Tigers to prove their worth in the SEC. The team has gotten off to a 5-0 start, but it hasn’t faced a ranked opponent yet.
The Bulldogs continue their torrid schedule to start the season. Through five games, Georgia is amazingly 4-1 despite tangling with three top-10 teams.
This week they play host to the Tigers.
In 2012, the Bulldogs went to Missouri and handed the Tigers a 41-20 defeat in their SEC debut.
The game was much closer than the final score would indicate, though. The Tigers had an eight-point lead in the third quarter before Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray rallied the team.
With this year’s game taking place in Athens, Ga., the Bulldogs should have a decided advantage. Georgia has won 15 straight games in Sanford Stadium.
According to Chip Patterson of CBS Sports, the Bulldogs will be without top rushers Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley, who is listed as doubtful, per head coach Mark Richt via the Georgia Bulldogs Twitter account.
Richt on Gurley: "I would say it's doubtful (he plays this weekend). He could." #MIZZvsUGA— Georgia Bulldogs (@UGAAthletics) October 8, 2013
Murray has shown the ability to score points with both Gurley and Marshall on the sidelines. The Bulldogs are 24th in the nation in scoring, averaging 39.8 points per game.
Tigers quarterback James Franklin has had a strong start throwing for 1,407 yards and 13 scores, but the Tigers will be hard-pressed to keep up with Murray and the Bulldogs passing game on the road.
Look for Georgia to jump on top early and coast in the final quarter.
The Bulldogs will beat the Tigers 40-17.
No. 17 Florida Gators at No. 10 LSU Tigers
Which road team has the best chance to win?
The winner of this game will keep the hopes of playing for a national championship alive. The loser will have their second loss of the season.
Barring several miracles, playing for the crystal football will no longer be a realistic goal.
Florida’s defense has been nasty all season. It has allowed just 12.2 points per game, which is good for fourth in the nation. The team has 11 sacks and eight interceptions. Freshman sensation Vernon Hargreaves III has picked off three.
With speed to burn at multiple positions, the Gators defense will be tough to handle.
That said, LSU’s offense has made its mark this season. The Tigers are scoring 45.5 points per game, and Zach Mettenberger has quieted talk that he is simply a game manager. The senior has amassed 1,738 yards passing, 15 touchdown passes and just two interceptions.
The challenge this week is surely the stiffest Mettenberger and Co. have faced all year. As good as the Gators are on defense, LSU is functioning too well as a unit offensively to be shut down.
With Florida devoid of a passing game, it is hard to imagine it scoring enough points in Baton Rouge to beat LSU.
Look for the Gators to surrender 30 points for the first time this season as LSU wins convincingly, 31-14.
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