Ducks Wire Roundtable: Predictions and opinions for the Oregon vs. Colorado game

This feels like the final week of relative calm for Oregon Duck fans before the football season comes to an end.

After blowing out the California Golden Bears last week in Berkeley, the Ducks head to Boulder to take on the struggling Colorado Buffaloes. It’s a game Oregon is projected to blow its opponent out of the water with relative ease. It’s an opportune time for a get-right game because the next three weeks offer Washington, No. 14 Utah and No. 23 Oregon State.

Despite the robust point spread that this game has, there are many things we will be watching when the Ducks are on the field. To help preview all of the action, Ducks Wire writers Zachary Neel and Don Smalley gathered to make predictions and offer opinions on what we might see.

Here is your ninth Ducks Wire Roundtable of the 2022 season. Enjoy.

College Football Playoff Rankings

Question: We saw the first College Football Playoff rankings this past week, with Oregon coming in at No. 8. Just curious to hear your initial reaction to that ranking? Too high? Too low?

Zachary Neel (Follow @ZacharyCNeel)

It’s right where I predicted they would be. Putting Oregon ahead of Alabama or TCU wouldn’t be right, but having USC or LSU ahead of them is wrong as well. It will be interesting to see how the committee views potential wins over Washington, Utah and Oregon State.

Don Smalley (Follow @Donald_Smalley)

It’s right. After that first game, Oregon should feel fortunate to be up that high and still have an outside chance of being part of the CFP. I don’t think they should pay much attention to those rankings until after the Utah game if they win out.

Andy Patton (Follow @AndyPattonPNW)

I think it feels about right. Oregon has proven they are better than every team they have played so far this season – save for the Week 1 loss to Georgia. But that loss still looms large in the minds of a lot of people, so they’ll need to keep winning to remain in the conversation.

California Takeaways

Question: Oregon left the game against Cal happy with the victory, but frustrated with the number of mistakes that they made, knowing they can clean a lot of things up. What was your biggest takeaway after the 42-24 victory?

Zachary Neel (Follow @ZacharyCNeel)

A combination of the slow start and the struggles in the red zone on offense are still lingering in my mind. Until we see that stop, I’m going to be concerned about it. The Ducks can get away with that type of sloppy play against Cal and Colorado, but it will not fly against the final three opponents of the season.

Don Smalley (Follow @Donald_Smalley)

I thought it was a good solid victory. That score is misleading as the fourth quarter was full of backups. At one point, the game was 35-10. And on the road. Nothing to be unhappy with here.

Andy Patton (Follow @AndyPattonPNW)

Oregon’s struggles to score in the first quarter seem to show up regardless of who they are playing, and it’s something Dan Lanning and company will need to figure out. Getting behind in quarter one against some of the top programs in the Pac-12 is a recipe for a loss.

Room for Improvement

Question: This week against Colorado isn’t too thrilling to preview, since there’s a massive talent gap between the two teams. If you could pick one thing for Oregon to improve on, though, what would it be?

Zachary Neel (Follow @ZacharyCNeel)

I want to see Oregon finish a game defensively. That side of the ball is much better than the stats show, and though they allow almost 30 points per game, a lot of that production is given up in the 4th quarter when the game is out of reach. The Ducks are now in a beauty contest with the College Football Playoff rankings coming out each week, and they need as dominant of wins as they can get.

Don Smalley (Follow @Donald_Smalley)

Kickoff coverage and returns. But the high altitude could limit that as kickoffs are often booted out of the end zone. Oregon should have plenty of punt return opportunities.

Andy Patton (Follow @AndyPattonPNW)

Would love to see a more consistent pass rush, especially against a Colorado team that struggles to, well, do most everything on the football field. Great chance to add a few sacks to the team’s total in Week 8.

Rooting for a Loss

Question: Earlier in the week we laid out some of the most important games across the college football landscape this week, with some big CFP ramifications. If you could choose one team to lose in those games, who would it be?

Zachary Neel (Follow @ZacharyCNeel)

I think Clemson has to get my vote. Anyone who watches them play has questioned how good they really are, but the committee still put them at No. 4 despite benching their starting QB for poor play recently. If Clemson lost to Notre Dame, it would take them out of the running for a playoff spot and could make room for Oregon in the long run.

Don Smalley (Follow @Donald_Smalley)

Having two SEC teams in the CFP pretty much eliminates any Pac-12 team. So having Alabama lose AGAIN would eliminate them, but they also have the ability to help Oregon later on.

Andy Patton (Follow @AndyPattonPNW)

TCU would be my pick. As the article states, they are the biggest non-SEC threat to Oregon’s CFP hopes, and a loss to the Red Raiders gives Oregon a much-needed bump. It would be nice to see Alabama lose, but LSU would insert itself squarely into the conversation at that point, which makes it less helpful for Oregon.

Searching for Development

Question: There’s a good chance that we see some back-ups get into this game during the second half. Which non-starter do you most want to see put up some stats and have a productive day?

Zachary Neel (Follow @ZacharyCNeel)

Ty Thompson is the obvious answer, but I really want to see some of the young secondary pieces get some good work. That means Dontae Manning, Jahlil Florence, and Khamari Terrell, Oregon’s secondary has improved a little bit, but those young guys getting experience could be big for the future.

Don Smalley (Follow @Donald_Smalley)

Ty Thompson needs some good mojo and it would be nice for that kid to experience some success and gain confidence.

Andy Patton (Follow @AndyPattonPNW)

Hard not to go with Ty Thompson. Ducks fans have been waiting to really see him get some run, and this could be the afternoon for it. Cam McCormick and Patrick Herbert are easy players to root for as well.

Place Your Bets

Question: Place your bets! If I gave you $100 to wager on the spread (Oregon minus-31.5), the money line (Oregon minus-10,000, Colorado plus-2,200), or the over/under (62.5), where are you putting your money?

Zachary Neel (Follow @ZacharyCNeel)

Give me all $100 on the Oregon spread. I feel confident that the Ducks are going to win this game in a blowout. Whether that final score is 35-3 or 56-21 is what I’m less confident about, so I don’t want to touch the over/under.

Don Smalley (Follow @Donald_Smalley)

$50 on Oregon covering the spread and the OVER. I’ll stay away from that minus-10,000.

Andy Patton (Follow @AndyPattonPNW)

Well the money line is entirely unplayable at those odds, and a 31.5-point spread on the road, even against a woeful Colorado team, is pretty rough – so I’m putting all $100 on the over. Colorado’s offense has showed some life since Karl Dorrell’s sacking, yet its defense remains terrible. I could see this game getting well into the 70s in total points and would happily bet on it.

Final Score Prediction

Question: Final score prediction. Who do you think wins this game?

Zachary Neel (Follow @ZacharyCNeel)

I think the defense comes to play, while the offense has another productive 40-point day. Give me Oregon 49-10.

Don Smalley (Follow @Donald_Smalley)

Colorado with the huge upset 24-17! HA! Kidding! The Ducks crush the Buffs 55-14.

Andy Patton (Follow @AndyPattonPNW)

Oregon 52, Colorado 21. Not much to see here.

Story originally appeared on Ducks Wire