[Rosebowl] Oregon--prediction

gsfisher at gci.net gsfisher at gci.net
Sun Oct 30 07:11:05 PDT 2011

In what must be causing icy conditions on the River Styx, I have somehow
correctly predicted 8 games for the Huskies this year.

I'm guessing that the Ducks will be a 21 to 24 point favorite in this
game. And they deserve it.

On offense, they Ducks have the # 2 offense in the Pac 12 averaging 47
points and 527 yards a game. The Ducks have 1,741 passing yards and
2,474 rushing yards. Washington is the # 4 offense in the Pac 12
averaging 35 points and 430 yards a game. The Huskies have 2,044
passing yadrs and 1,393 rushing yards. We have a slightly better third
down percentage, 50% to 48%. The Ducks have more penalties, 61-52.

On defense, the Ducks are the # 3 defense in the Pac 12 only giving up
on average 21 points and 397 yards. They have allowed 1,915 passing
yards and 1,261 rushing yards. Washington has the # 10 defense in a 12
team league, giving up 33 points and 430 yards a game. The Huskies have
yielded 2,379 passing yards and 1,064 rushing yards. But, really, it
seems as if our defense will give up yards in huge chunks on the ground
or through the air.

The QBs are something of a wash and it is unclear whether Bennet or
Thomas will start for Oregon. Thomas is 100/163 for 1,380 yards (a 61%
completion rate) with 18 TDs and 5 INTs--all good for a 162.8 QB rating.
Price is 157/236 for 1,990 yards (a 66% completion rate) with 23 TDs and
8 INTs [good for a 162.7 QB rating). Thomas got yanked in the WSU game
and may not be 100% healthy yet. Bennet has shown himself to be a
capable back up.

Oregon has an edge in TBs but only on depth. Polk has 183 carries for
987 yards, averaging 123.4 per game. James has 108 carries for 872
yards, avergaing 145.3 per game. Oregon's other TBs (Barner and
Thomas), are excellent. Ours (Callier and Sankey) are good but not
quite as good as Oregon's. James is back from his disclocated elbow
injury, but may not be 100%.

Washington does have an edge in terms of receivers (number and quality).
Aguilar has 28 receptions and 427 yards. Kearse is 31/395.
Sefarian-Jenkins is 21/335. Johnson is 26/330. We also have Smith,
Williams, Campbell, and Polk. Oregon's threat receiver is Thomas who
has 25 receptions and 382 yards. Tuinei has 24/335.

I know comparative scores are meaningless, but then again so are my
predictions. Oregon has beatn Cal 43-15, Arizona 56-31, and Colorado
45-2. Washington beat these same teams 31-23, 42-31, and 52-24. In all
cases Oregon scored a few more points and allowed a few less.

Every year we win a game that we should not win and lose one or two that
we should have won. Oregon's speed is electric. The Ducks, however,
have started slowly in many of their games this year. Also, they have
not played anyone with a dynamic offense yet--I mean an offense with
multiple threats. Although the statistics would suggest a final score
of around 56-35 in favor of Oregon, I actually believe that the Huskies
can pull off an upset here. It can only happen, however, if the offense
plays with consistency, if we limit returns (punts and kick-off
returns), and if we force some turnovers while eliminating or limiting
our turnovers. Last year we kept the game close through the first half
and actually the game was closer than the score. Then we gave up 3 or 4
long returns and Oregon scored easy TDs on short fields. The final
score was something like 53-16 in Price's first start. What concerns me
most is that we might generate a pass rush now and then but Oregon can
easily run away from us when we do. We just need to keep Oregon from
tearing off 70 yard TD runs.

The reason I think Washington can win this game is partly because our
special teams are much better than last year (coverage and returns). It
is also partly because our offense is much more balanced and much more
dynamic. We have a TE this year. We have 2 TEs actually. We have a
great QB. We have an excellent TB. We have solid receivers. I also
like the intangibles. Oregon has Stanford up next after us. It will be
a night game and the last game in the old Husky Stadium. The 1991
National Championship team will be honored. Oregon is going to score.
Oregon is going to move the ball with ease. But if we can contain the
big huge plays and force them to move the ball on longer drives we have
a shot at some turnovers. Our defense has greater depth this year and
hopefully we should be able to substitute more freely to keep guys
fresh. Maybe most importantly the team has demonstrated that it has a
resilient mature perspective. They will not collapse even if Oregon
builds an early lead.

I believe Oregon will build an early lead, perhaps by as much as 21-10
at the Half (maybe even more). But I believe that as the game wears on
Washington's resiliency will begin to pay dividends. Smith or Callier
will break a long kick off return, perhaps for a TD this time. Shirley
is going to have a big game on defense. I believe we will force some
fumbles that will lead to TDs or get a pick 6--in other words, that the
defense will collect at least one TD. I also think Price is going to
have an excellent game. It's 21-10 at the Half. We open the 3rd
quarter with a score. The Ducks answer. It's 28-17. We punt. The
Ducks get the ball but Shirley tips a pass and Shamburger gets the
interception and returns it for a TD. Now it's 28-24 and Husky Stadium
is about as loud as it has been in years. Entering he 4th quarter and
on the next possession, Thompson, Hudson, and Trufant on a corner blitz
force another fumble. Price quickly moves the Huskies down for another
score and Washington now takes the lead for the first time in the game
31-28. The Ducks are not giving up. Bennett comes in for Thomas,
rallies the Ducks, and they go on a long drive to retake the lead 35-31.
The Huskies get the ball back with about 7 minutes left in the game.
Price and Polk lead Washington to another TD to seize the lead again,
38-35. Oregon will get a quick TD, but it will be called back for a
holding call. The Ducks will begin to show some frustration. They
punt. Time is running out. Washington stalls. The Ducks get the ball
back with 2 minutes. It is another nail-biter. However, the defense
comes up with some huge plays late in the game. Chip Kelly waddles off
the field telling Husky fans to shut up.

Your final score will be:

Washington 38
Oregon 35

Go Dawgs!

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