College Football Picks: Washington State vs. #2 Oregon

Ross Benjamin

Wednesday, October 16, 2013 1:09 PM GMT

Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013 1:09 PM GMT

The most exciting team to watch in college football is back at it this week against the Washington State Cougars. But can the Oregon Ducks cover another ginormous point spread?

College Football Preview

Saturday 10/19/2013

Washington State (4-3) vs. Oregon (6-0) 10:00 PM ET

According to college football betting odds Oregon is a huge 39.0-point favorite. Oregon has won the last 6 meetings between these teams. Last season the Ducks were a 51-26 winner at Washington St. but failed to cover as a 30.0- point favorite.

Marvelous Mariota

The Oregon Ducks passed their stiffest challenge of the season thus far with flying colors in a 45-24 road win at Washington last Saturday. With all due respect to Johnny Manziel, I am of the firm belief that Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is hands down the best player in college football right now. Mariota just torched a very good Washington defense in last week’s convincing road win over a quality team. He was 24-31 for 366 yards, good for 3 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. In addition he ran the ball 13 times for 88 yards and a touchdown. In 6-games this season the Ducks signal-caller has thrown for 1724 yards and 17 touchdowns. Even more impressive is the fact he has yet to throw an interception in 165 pass attempts this season. Mariota has also run for another 426 yards and 8 touchdowns while averaging a whopping 10.4 yards per carry. 

Dose of Reality

Mike Leach had his Washington St. Cougars off to an impressive 4-2 start, including 2-1 in conference play heading into last week’s home tilt with Oregon St. Then his football team proceeded to take a giant step backwards in a 52-24 loss while falling far short of covering as a 2.5-point underdog. The game was tied at 24-24 entering the 4th quarter when it all came apart for the Cougars. They committed 6 turnovers on offense and defensively allowed the Beavers to amass 583 yards of total offense. They were especially inept in stopping the pass as Oregon St. quarterback Sean Mannion threw for 493 yards and 4 touchdowns. The Cougars junior quarterback Connor Halliday has had his moments this season throwing for 2241 yards and 14 touchdowns. However, he’s been plagued by his 13 interceptions.

Final Analysis

There’s nothing that appeals to me about taking a 39.0-point favorite. Contrarily I find it difficult to take an underdog that doesn’t have a chance of slowing down a dynamic offensive attack. One thing I did take away from watching Oregon last week is that the most underrated part of their game is the play of their defense. If you put the proverbial gun to my head for a free pick, then I would have the tiniest of leans on the home favorite in this one. My advice is to scan the rest of the huge college football board for better values.

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Free Picks: Small Lean on the Ducks to Cover

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