When they’re on offense, the 2017 version of the Oregon Ducks (3-0, 0-0) look like something resembling the circus, mixed with a mega-computer tricked out with 1 terabyte of RAM, and a bunch of squirrels competing on Ultimate Ninja Warrior.
That’s probably the most ridiculous comparison ever associated with an offensive unit in football – and that’s saying something. Anyways, to make more sense of what I am talking about, we can take a look inside the numbers. Tailback Royce Freeman returned for his senior season in hopes of rebounding from his sub-1,000-yard season last year.
So far, so good. Freeman has nine rushing touchdowns in three games, piling up 150, 153 and 157 yards in each game, respectively. As for the Ducks passing attack, they have been nothing short of dynamic, either, as Justin Herbert has no problem airing out the football. The sophomore quarterback has 897 yards and five touchdowns to go with only two interceptions. The team has scored a whopping 168 points already, but if I could put an asterisk next to that totally I would.
The Ducks week-three opponent, Wyoming, was supposed to give them a hard time – but the Cowboys scored only 13 points. Nebraska almost came back against them in week-two, and in the season opener, the Ducks laughed off the field with 77 points on the scoreboard against Southern Utah. Apparently, they play football there? I didn’t even know that was a college to begin with.
Finally, they get into some PAC-12 play to give that offense a reality check. Right? They will have a tough game this week, won’t they?
CAN OREGON PUT UP 600 YARDS OF TOTAL OFFENSE?
The sub-title kind of spoiler alerted this one, but for as efficient as the Ducks have been on offense this year, the Sun Devils from Arizona State have been equally as deficient on defense, setting the table for a potentially fun game to watch for the Eugene-faithful.
Knowing our luck, it will be a 13-9 snore-fest, but for the sake of story-telling, let’s assume it won’t be.
Arizona State is allowing 505 yards and 37.7 points per game in 2017. Let’s be somewhat fair here, Texas Tech and San Diego State have always had really good offenses. Ask Kliff Kingsbury or Marshall Faulk. (Sorry, every other Texas Tech quarterback through history who was probably better than Kingsbury – Patrick Mahones included.) Anyways, I kind of give the Sun Devils a ‘pseudo-pass’ on getting lit up by those squads, and they beat New Mexico State in week three. It was 37-31, but it was close.
This week, however, will not be close.
The Ducks average 609 yards per game and 56 points. I wish there was an Excel formula where I could enter the yards and points allowed by the Arizona State defense and the same for the Oregon offense, click enter and it predict the totals for this Saturday’s game. Since I can’t do that, I will make up some numbers.
The Ducks go for 631 yards and win 58 – 24. Freeman hits the 175-mark on his own and sits out the fourth quarter because he’s board at racking up 10-plus yards every time he touches the ball.
INTO THE TOP-25
I kind of buried the lead here, but this week marks the first time this season the Oregon Ducks enter both the Associated Press and the Coaches Poll at No. 24. I am having some issues with the lead today (not lead like ‘PB’ on the periodic table of elements…and peanut butter is not what I’m talking about…lead as in the opening of the column after the odd comparison involving squirrels earlier).
Anyways, the Ducks are no stranger to being ranked, so this isn’t like the Appalachian State year when top-5 ranked Michigan lost to the Mountaineers (sigh…good times…), but it still is significant in the post-Marcus Mariota era. Sorry Joey Harrington, the Ducks aren’t rebuilding after your dynasty anymore.
AROUND THE PAC-12
Here I am going to attempt to highlight the other games going on this weekend in PAC-12 play. If you thought the previous 650-plus words on the Ducks was worthless, you are in for much worse, sadly. It will be painless, but I can’t promise that.
Friday – #23 Utah @ Arizona – Can Arizona’s basketball team play Utah’s basketball team and then whatever the point difference is, be carried over to the football game? Let’s pretend that happens, and the Wildcats’ basketball team wins by 13, gives 13 points to the football team and with a +13 advantage, Arizona hypothetically wins this by losing, 28-20 to Utah.
#5 USC @ CAL – I know the University of Spoiled Children (Is that still a thing or am I showing my age with that joke?) is ranked No. 5 for a reason, and their pretty quarterback is a Heisman Trophy favorite. I don’t think Aaron Rodgers plays for California anymore (if Jared Goff still did it might be closer), but let’s hope the Bears can at least keep it close-ish and maybe get a couple INT’s to change some Heisman votes. USC 31-20
Nevada @ No. 18 Washington State – This one has blowout potential. Actually, I’m going to make that a thing on Twitter — #BlowoutPotential. I don’t have my own college football – nor any sport really – preview show to create corny things like that, but if I did, I would make it a thing. It isn’t that I think Washington State is that good, but I think Nevada might be that bad. WSU 43 – Nevada 18.
No. 7 Washington @ Colorado – This one should be fun. #PAC12RoadTest. Okay, that’s enough with the cheesy hashtags. With the new college playoff system in place, a No. 7 ranked team, in theory, is a contender to win the national title. Obviously, Washington will need to beat Colorado on the road in order for that to be a possibility. I think the Buffaloes keep it close though. Boulder is a super chill place to visit and live, but the atmosphere in the football stadium is different. UW 39, Colorado 30.
UCLA @ Stanford – UCLA got beat at Memphis last week, so by my self-created numbers algorithm, they will win this week. Sorry Stanford, but my Colts need Andrew Luck back too, so I have no sympathy for you guys right now. UCLA 31 – 10.
Enjoy some football this weekend! Plant a tree somewhere in honor of the Gorge fires – just don’t plant one in the middle of I-5 or somewhere stupid. Go Ducks, Go Mariners, Go Seahawks, Go Beavers (Sorry guys and gals) and go Blazers offseason!