Expect a Dogfight in Civil War Between Oregon-Oregon State

Matthew Jordan

Saturday, November 29, 2014 2:29 PM GMT

Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014 2:29 PM GMT

It's Rivalry Weekend in college football. Oregon may be an overlooked state tucked in the Pacific Northwest, but you won't find much more animus than in Saturday's Civil War. The Ducks are 19-point favorites on NCAA football odds with a total of 67.

Different Class Structures
Ever had that big brother who went on to huge success with riches and fame while you were stuck working at home bagging groceries or in the family hardware store (nothing wrong with that but work with me)? That's this rivalry. Oregon  has become the crown jewel of the West Coast because Nike founder Phil Knight is an alum. Knight opens his pockets all the time so Oregon is the "hip" school in the nation with all those great uniforms and incredible facilities. Seriously, many NFL teams can't  match the facilities, much less other college teams. If you have ever been to Eugene, there's no reason to go to college there if you are a superstar recruit from Los Angeles or Dallas or Miami. Yet they do. It's because of Nike.

Oregon State? Cow school in Corvallis. The Little Brother. No multi-billionaire benefactor. So you can see why the Beavers have an inferiority complex, although not too long ago OSU was the better program. Funny what money, smart hiring -- Mike Bellotti and then his offensive coordinator Chip Kelly got the ball rolling at Oregon -- and social media and the "cool" factor can do to influence 17-year-old prep stars. Where would you go?

'Civil War' Rivalry Betting Preview: Oregon vs. Oregon State 

End of an Era
Arguably the best quarterbacks in each school's history will play his final Civil War. For sure Oregon State senior Sean Mannion will play his last one. If you go simply by statistics and not wins, Mannion will go down as the best OSU quarterback ever. That's not saying a ton as the best ones in recent memory were Derek Anderson and Matt Moore. Mannion is the only three-year team captain in OSU football history. He is also the Pac-12 Conference’s all-time leader for passing yards with 13,438 and has an OSU-record 82 touchdown throws.

Then there's Marcus Mariota of Oregon, the Heisman Trophy betting favorite at sportsbooks. He's going to win the award, the first for an Oregon player, barring an ugly three-interception-type game in a loss in this one. The Ducks have had some great dual-threat quarterbacks since they emerged as national powers, but Mariota, a junior, outshines them all.  The Hawaii native, not a top recruit, owns Oregon career records for total offense, passing yards, completions, TD passes, total TDs, total points accounted for and consecutive passes without an interception. He is also on pace to set school records in completion percentage and passing efficiency (leads the nation in that this season). Mariota's 95 passing touchdowns are the third-most in Pac-12 history, and he needs five more to pass USC's Matt Leinart for second on the list. Mariota won't catch USC's Matt Barkley (116) because Mariota is going pro and very likely will be the No. 1 or No. 2 pick in the 2015 draft. He might have been this past draft had he left. Think Kelly would like the Eagles to trade up and get him somehow?

 

What's at Stake?
This is the 118th Civil War, tied for the fifth most-contested rivalry in football and the west of the Rocky Mountains.

For Oregon State (5-6), pride and bowl eligibility are at stake. A win might help secure the job of head coach Mike Riley, a native of Oregon. He was a hot commodity in 2012 when the led the Beavers to a 9-4 record, but things have gone downhill since then. Seven wins last year and now possibly no bowl game barring a huge upset.

For Oregon (10-1), everything is on the line even though the Pac-12 North has been clinched. The Ducks remained No. 2 in the most recent College Football Playoff rankings, and if they win this matchup and the Pac-12 Championship Game next week at the San Francisco 49ers' Levi's Stadium then they are in the first-ever playoff, no doubt about it.  Kelly got the Ducks to the national title game once, a loss to Auburn, and Heisman winner Cam Newton, in the 2010 season. In a great bit of irony, Oregon faces Arizona in the Pac-12 title game, with the Wildcats the only team to beat the Ducks this season. The Wildcats got in by beating Arizona State on Friday and UCLA getting shocked at home by Stanford.

When making you college football picks keep in mind that Oregon has won six straight in the Civil War, with only two decided by less than 17 points. Last year was one. The Duck won 36-35 at home on Mariota's 12-yard touchdown pass with 29 seconds left. Mariota threw for 285 yards and three scores but also two interceptions. Mannion was 29 of 47 for 314 yards, two TDs and a pick. Each team had at least 545 yards of offense and each had three turnovers. OSU had taken the lead with 1:38 left.

Free College Football Picks: Throw out the records in rivalry games. Take the points here, as it's OSU's bowl game, and go 'over' 67 on college football odds.  The 'over' is 11-1 in the past 12 meetings. 

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