Civil War: The Case for Oregon

Here's some reasons why Oregon can win today's Civil War game:

  • It's at home. Autzen stadium is a serious homefield advantage. Of course, OSU won the last game there in 2007, but that's not the point. The Ducks feed off the crowd and in this rivalry game with such high stakes (remember, the loser will end up in the Sun Bowl (UO) or Vegas Bowl (OSU) not the Holiday for some stupid reason ($)) the crowd is going to be insane.

    Let's just hope they stay relatively under control. It's way less than ideal, but the Register-Guard's George Schroeder wrote this for a reason.
  • Jeremiah Masoli and the spread offense. The Beavers were lost for the first 30 minutes of last year's Civil War, and by the time they figured a couple things out the game was essentially over. They have had trouble defending the spread whenever they play a spread team - they had issues beating UNLV early this season. Heck, they had trouble with Jake Locker before this year, when Steve Sarkisian changed the plans for his quarterback so he didn't run as much. Ironically, that made the Huskies easier to prepare for and easier to beat.

    Masoli could be the best active spread offense quarterback in the nation - and yes, I'm including Tim Tebow - when it comes to pure athletic ability. Masoli has better cuts than Tebow and a very strong - albeit inconsistent - arm. He sells his pass and run fakes so well that when he does the opposite the defense is totally at a loss.

    The spread may be a gimmick just as much as the Wildcat (or, in OSU's case, the Wild Beaver), but you can't argue with the results for Oregon. Can OSU defend it now? The truth is they honestly don't know - they hope they can. The key for Oregon will be early scores, because no one thinks the Beavers defense can suddenly shut them down if they get hot early.
  • LaMichael James. The numbers say James and Jacquizz Rodgers are almost dead even, but James is faster (might be the fastest guy on the field). If he breaks into the secondary, can anyone catch him on the Beaver defense?
  • The X-factor: LeGarrette Blount. The bruising running back hasn't played since being re-instated from his suspension for punching a Boise State player after the opening game, but could Chip Kelly be saving him for this? Blount was the best player on the field in last year's Civil War and it's possible the Beavers may not have prepared much for the possibility of him checking into the game.

    While Masoli is a big runner, he isn't Blount. Putting him in the game could be something the Beavers aren't prepared for and give the Ducks a surprise edge.
Next up, the Case for Oregon State, and later, my Civil War pick.

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