OREGON DUCKS (9-0)
at CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS (3-7)
Kickoff: Saturday, 10:30 p.m. EDT
Line: Oregon -28, Total: 67.5
No. 3 Oregon looks to secure its 10th straight win to start the season when it visits struggling Cal on Saturday night.
The home team is on a 7-2 run (SU and ATS) in this series, but Oregon has won the past three meetings (2-1 ATS), including a 15-13 win at Cal in 2010 in a game where the Bears were accused of faking injuries to stop the no-huddle attack. Nobody has stopped the unbeaten Ducks in 2012, as they have scored at least 42 points in every game and are riding a current four-game ATS win streak. California has dropped three in a row (SU and ATS), and is just 1-4 (SU and ATS) in home games versus FBS schools this season.
Can Oregon cover the hefty spread on the road? For the answer, connect to The Platinum Sheet for all the StatFox Experts picks for every key college football game throughout the 2012 season.
Oregon RB Kenjon Barner is coming off a school-record 321 rushing yards and 5 TD in the 62-51 win at USC last week, a game in which OU piled up 730 total yards of offense. That marks Barner's fifth straight 100-yard effort, as he's totaled 885 rushing yards (177 per game) and 13 TD over this span. The Ducks are scoring 56.8 PPG with 575 total yards per game (384 rush YPG) during the current four-game ATS win streak. Freshman QB Marcus Mariota threw four touchdown passes in the win over the Trojans, giving him 22 TD and just 5 INT this year. The defense got lit up for 51 points and 615 yards in last week's win at USC, but they have been outstanding in turning the football over with 21 takeaways over the past six games.
Cal actually led last year's meeting at halftime before Oregon rolled up 29 unanswered points and prevailed 43-15. The Bears will have a much harder time staying in this game if starting QB Zach Maynard's knee prevents him from playing. His numbers haven't been stellar in his senior year (7.5 YPA, 12 TD, 10 INT) but a lot of that has to do with the ridiculous 39 sacks he's taken. Only two FBS teams (Colorado 40 and Washington 40) have surrendered more sacks this year. Maynard completed just 20-of-41 passes for 218 yards (5.3 YPA), 1 TD and 0 INT in last year's loss in Eugene. If Maynard can't go, Allan Bridgford will replace him. The junior has completed just 17-of-48 pass attempts (35%) in his career, including 4-of-16 for 32 yards in two games this year. RBs C.J. Anderson and Isi Sofele will be the most important parts of the Bears offense. Anderson rushed for 160 yards on 7.3 YPC in last week's loss to Washington and Sofele had a huge game at Oregon last year with 119 yards on just 12 carries. Although Cal's defense has not faced an offense in the same class as the Ducks, the Bears started the season allowing 27+ points in each of its first five games, but has given up 21 points or less in four of the past five contests. And Oregon has been turnover-prone with 17 giveaways in the past eight games.