Ranked #1 in both the Coach’s and AP polls and #2 in the first BCS poll, the Oregon Ducks (6-0) host the UCLA Bruins (3-3) in a Pac-10 conference game. Vegas has installed Oregon as a -24 point favorite at home. The past two seasons, UCLA has played the Ducks tough, losing 24-10 at home and 31-24 at Eugene, but this Oregon team is poised for special things.
Oregon, ranked #1 in the polls for the first time in 60-plus years, the Ducks feature an offense that averages 54.3 points per game, first in the nation. This offense can do everything, averaging over 540 yards per game. Darron Thomas has thrown 14 touchdown passes and has scrambled for over 200 yards and 2 TDs. The running game really makes this offense hum, though. LaMichael James averages 7.4 yards per rush, with 848 yards and 9 TDs, while Kenjon Barner and Remene Alston, Jr. also have gained over 200 yards rushing. Their leading pass-catcher is Jeff Maehl with 31 catches and David Paulson averages 21.1 yards per catch. Oregon also averages 16 points against on defense, good for 16th in the nation.
UCLA, after winning three straight games including an upset of #7 Texas, ran into a buzz saw and lost to Cal 35-7. UCLA has struggled both offensively and defensively, at times, especially in the passing game. Kevin Prince, at quarterback, has just three touchdown passes against five interceptions and their leading receiver has just 14 catches. Jonathan Franklin is a bright spot in the running game but he seems too little against too much.
Bottom line is Oregon is a talent-laden, driven team and this game seems more celebration than competition. Unless the Ducks get tight, this team should cruise and easily cover the Vegas spread.
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