Currently, the Oregon Ducks are three point favorites over the Ohio State Buckeyes. A No. 7 versus No. 8 match up would suggest that this spread is just about dead on, and at face value both of these teams seem even.
Both the Ducks and the Bucks come into this game with 10-2 records, and have both hit their stride late in the season. Oregon had two thrilling wins over Arizona and Oregon State while Ohio State had tremendous victories over Penn State and Iowa.
Naturally, many people, myself included, are very interested to see the Ducks' explosive offense face the Buckeyes' stingy defense, but as a sports fan who loves to find the facts behind the numbers, I had to see just how legitimate Oregon's offense and Ohio State's defense really were.
So at first glance we can see that Oregon has the 25th ranked offense with 424.7 yards per game while Ohio State has the 5th ranked defense, only allowing 262.5 yards per game. Now if I was a casual fan, I would have no problem picking the Buckeyes to shutdown Oregon because everyone knows that defense wins championships.
However I am not a casual fan, and the statistics are misleading at face value.
Ohio State is a fraud, and the Buckeyes inability to play quality teams creates the illusion that they have of one the most dominating defenses in the country. In a 12 game schedule, the Buckeyes only managed to play four teams ranked in the Top 55 in total offense. Those four teams were Toledo (who plays a less than impressive schedule themselves), Illinois (who sits right at 50), Wisconsin, and Penn State.
The Ducks on the other hand have earned their 25th ranked offense. Over the course of the season the Ducks played seven teams in the Top 50 in total defense (Four of which are in the Top 21).
In addition, the Buckeye offense is pitiful (71st with 364.8 yards per game) despite only playing four teams in the Top 40 in total defense, and playing five teams ranked lower than 81st in total defense.
The Ducks defense is ranked 32nd only allowing 329.4 yards per game while playing a schedule that included seven teams in the Top 55 in total offense.
After discovering all of this, it is no wonder the Buckeyes have come up short in BCS bowls the last three years, and it will be no different this year. The Ducks have too much to lose in what will likely be one the most, if not, the most memorable season in Oregon football history.
My prediction is that the Ducks' offense will overwhelm Ohio State's overrated defense, and the Buckeyes' offense will sputter against Oregon's athletic defense.
Even if I am wrong the outcome will be the same: A Duck victory.
Maybe the Buckeyes should schedule a game in Autzen in an upcoming season ... it might prepare them for Top 10 caliber football.