All eyes will be on fifth year transfer quarterback, Vernon Adams, as he takes over for Marcus Mariota and attempts to lead the 7th ranked Oregon Ducks to a BCS Championship.
There's some irony in this game as Adams will be facing his former team, the Eastern Washington Eagles. The Ducks are a massive 34.5 point favorite in this game. Can the Ducks live up to their "billing" is the question? See who we like as our college football pick in this matchup. Kickoff is set for 8:00 p.m. ET on Saturday at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon.
Sticking It To His Old Team
This is basically the theme of this game as Ducks quarterback, Vernon Adams Jr., gets to play at home, in front of a huge Oregon-based crowd, and against his old squad, who are at a major disadvantage.
Adams Jr. has a Robert Griffin III type of body and has put up massive numbers in his college career. In his last two seasons for the Eagles, he threw for 90 TD and 23 INT while throwing for 8477 yatds. Adams also has the ability to take matters into his own hands with 10 TD in his last 2 seasons. The $64,000 question is "Will these numbers stay consistent as a member of a new team and as a fifth year trasfer?" The AP poll seems to think so as the Ducks are rated 7th in the nation.
Expect 1000 yard receiver, Byron Marshall and Dwayne Stanford (639 yards 6 TD) to be Adams' primary targets while Braylon Addison will also draw attention from the Eagles defense. The rest of the receiving corp is a question mark as they've been hit by a barrage of injuries. Tight end Pharoah Brown is out indefinitely while Devon Allen (684 yards, 7 TD ) is out and wide receiver Charles Nelson (327 yards, 5 TD) is listed as probable.
The Ducks are somewhat lucky of facing this inferior opponent as Thomas Tyner is out for the season. Look for Adams Jr. to develop newly acquainted hookups and Oregon will overcome the injury bug.
"Rolls" Royce Freeman
A huge amount of responsibility will be on the back of running back, Royce Freeman. Without Mariota sharing the rushing duties, Freeman might have a chance at coming close to the 2000 yard mark. Last season, Freeman ran for 1365 yards and 18 TD. This is a running back that's tough to take down and I don't expect the Eagles to be able to contain Freeman. Freeman would love to forget the championship game last season as he ran for just 22 yards against Ohio State. The only question here is if he'll play a full 4 quarters.
Eastern Washington's Answer
Yakima, Washington's Cooper Kupp has been a monster the last couple of seasons. A couple of seasons back, he won the Jerry Rice Award and this wide receiver will give any secondary fits, especially one such as Oregons''. The Ducks will no longer have former safety Erick Dargan and All American Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. This should open the door for some points for Eastern Washington. Kupp has caught for 3122 yards and 37 TD's in just his first two seasons alone. I really like expect to see him have a big game despite playing Oregon.
There's no question that with the addition of Vernon Adams Jr. and the running of Royce Freeman, the Ducks will be a contender in the Pac-12 and for the BCS Championship, but this is week 1 and I look for Eastern Washington to stay within the 34.5 point betting spread on the college football odds board.
College Football Pick: Eastern Washington Eagles +34.5 at 5Dimes