Matchup: #7 Arizona vs. #2 Oregon (-14.5, 74.5 at JustBet)
Date/Time: Friday, December 5th @ 9:00 pm (EST)
Location: Santa Clara, CA (Airing on FOX)
Preview: The #2 ranked Oregon Ducks take on the #7 ranked Arizona Wildcats in the Pac-12 championship on Friday night from Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
There will be a lot more at stake for the 11–1 Oregon Ducks. Should they come out victorious on Friday night; they will have a national championship playoff berth intact. Since the loss in their home confines to the Wildcats back in early October, the docs have gotten healthier on the offensive line, and have won 8 straight. They are coming off an impressive 47–19 victory over intrastate rival Oregon State last Saturday. The Ducks, led by Heisman trophy candidate Marcus Mariota, have quite the explosive offense averaging 539 yards per game, with 232 yards of it coming on the ground, and 307 through the air, ranking fourth in the nation in total offense. There high-octane offense can score in a hurry, and that is evident in their average of 45.9 points per game, which is fourth in the nation as well. Their defense isn’t quite as impressive, as they are ranked 89th in the nation in total defense averaging 429.25 yards per game. They are especially struggling in pass defense, allowing 271 yards through the air per game.
The Arizona Wildcats hit a rough patch in the middle of the season losing to USC and UCLA, but have recovered to win their final four conference games to clinch a berth in the conference championship game Friday night. Their offense, led by freshman quarterback Anu Solomon, ranks 22nd in the nation in total offense averaging 481.2 yards per game. Solomon has passed for 3424 yards this season with 27 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Freshman running back Nick Wilson leads the way of the backfield with 1263 yards and 15 touchdowns. Like Oregon, the Wildcats leave little to be desired on defense, allowing 434.6 yards per game. They too struggle against the pass allowing 275 yards through the air per game.
This will be the third meeting between these two teams in the past two seasons, with Arizona winning both contests, one in Tucson last season, and one in Eugene back in October. For a game of this magnitude, I have to take the points in this one. Is there a chance that Oregon could blow Arizona out? Sure, but I highly doubt that will be the case Friday night. As far as I’m concerned, all the pressure is on Oregon. They win, and they punch their ticket into the national championship playoffs. As far as Arizona’s concerned, I would have to think they would be playing a lot looser. They have nothing to lose, as everyone is expecting the Ducks to win and everyone thinks that the last two victories by the Wildcats have been a fluke. I don’t think that’s the case, sometimes teams just match up well with other teams and I think that’s the case with Arizona, as they match up well in the trenches and they have the team speed to keep up with the Ducks. The Oregon offensive line is definitely in better shape than it was back in October, but they still have their flaws. I think this confident Arizona squad keeps this within the number, and even if the game should get somewhat out of hand, with a line like this the back door is always wide open. I’m grabbing the points with the Arizona Wildcats on Friday night.
2014 Pac-12 Championship NCAA Football Pick: Arizona +14.5, Under 74.5
Pac-12 Championship Score Prediction: Oregon 34 – Arizona 27