coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
On 09/02/2013 04:37 PM in NCAA Football

Oregon Ducks at Virginia Cavaliers: Preview and Pick

Oregon Ducks at Virginia Cavaliers: Preview and Pick

The second week of the college football season has plenty of interesting matchups to include the game between the Oregon Ducks and the Virginia Cavaliers. The Oregon Ducks entered the season with a new head coach, but they still wanted to prove that they should be considered one of the best teams in the country. A road game across the country against the pesky Cavaliers will give this team a chance to prove they are ready to contend in 2013.

Oregon Ducks at Virginia Cavaliers Odds

The Ducks are a vastly superior team on paper and that is why the odds makers set this line very high. The point spread opened with the Ducks as (-25.5) point favorites. That number has started to come down and now can be found just over three touchdowns at (-21.5) despite the fact that over 92 percent of the betting public is backing the Ducks in this game.

While the Cavaliers are big underdogs and not predicted to pull off the upset, or even keep it close, they can gain some serious respect with a good outing against the Ducks.

Virginia did get a big win to start the season as they defeated the BYU Cougars in come from behind fashion. Kevin Parks ran 13 yards for a touchdown to seal the victory and give the Cavaliers some reasons to be hopeful as they play the Ducks this weekend.
Meanwhile the Oregon Ducks looked like the same team they were under Chip Kelly, as they posted 66 points in a blowout win over lowly Nicholls State. New coach Mark Helfrich has already earned the respect of his team as Marcus Mariota rewarded him with the game ball after the lopsided victory.

Mariota completed 12 of 21 passes for 234 yards before sitting for the fourth quarter and has this team poised to win big in 2013. Winning an important road game will only make this team more confident moving forward.

The college football betting trends for this game show that the Cavaliers have been a bad bet in this situation in the past. The Cavaliers are just 3-8 straight up in the last 11 games and that is included in an awful 3-11-1 against the spread (ATS) mark in the last 15 games.

The Ducks are 16-1 straight up in the last 17 games and 5-0 in the last five games at home. The Ducks might be in a tough travel spot but Virginia will have to work hard to provide a challenge.

Oregon Ducks at Virginia Cavaliers Pick

With plenty of time to go before game day, I will wait to release my pick on this game until we get closer to kickoff.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/03/2013 02:24 PM

Mother nature provided a wet start for the Virginia football team but the 'Hoos put away their first "w" as they took down BYU 19-16. Next up isn't just anybody, its #3 Oregon and these guys are an offensive powerhouse.

UVa head coach Mike London (1-0) said, "Our mindset has to be one of you know we're playing at our place, we gotta bring energy and passion because we know their an excellent football team but instead of asking why, we ask why not?"

In the Ducks season opener against Nicholls, they had 772 yards of total offense which shattered their previous record of 730 when they faced USC in 2012. Oregon had not one, not two, but three players rush for more than 100 yards for the first time in school history.

UVa Linebacker, Henry Coley said, "Football is a humbling game. You're going to have your pluses and your going to have your minus's but how are you going to bounce back whenever you have a minus, that's the biggest thing. I think they can be contained. Just like Kevin Durant. You know Kevin Durant is going to go out there and get 20 points a night regardless but are you going to let him get 45 is the question."

"We know they've got good uniforms but at the end of the day they put their pads on just like us so we're not gonna let that distract us. Just weigh out our options and play our game," added offensive tackle Morgan Moses.

Meanwhile the Cavaliers defense is a force to be reckoned with, highlighted by Anthony Harris who finished with 11 tackles, a sack and a critical late pick.

Virginia cornerback Maurice Canady had 13 tackles against BYU in the season opener. Canady said, "It's something you wait for since what you were 16. Something that I've really made a priority, that I wanted to play the best of the best and this is my opportunity."

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/04/2013 02:19 PM

Mark Helfrich had a simple goal in his first game as Oregon's head coach: self-preservation. Said the longtime offensive coordinator, "I hadn't been on the sideline for a game since 1996, so that in and of itself was a new experience, trying to not get killed when someone was running on the sidelines."

Of course, against woeful Nicholls State, Helfrich might have won the one-on-one battle. Oregon piled up 772 yards of offense -- 500 rushing -- without really trying that hard in a 66-3 victory.

The contest operated pretty much as a preseason game for Helfrich and his staff, eight of whom remained behind when Chip Kelly bolted for the Philadelphia Eagles. There were some minor logistical issues to get used to -- "Mark, do we want to accept or decline this penalty?" -- but otherwise it was business as usual, Helfrich said.

Expect the intensity to ratchet up a bit for the Ducks' visit to Virginia. For one, Charlottesvile is 2,400 miles and three times zones away. That type of cross-country travel is never easy on a team. Second, Virginia is a solid ACC squad, one that opened with a defensive-minded win over BYU.

The Ducks are a three-touchdown-plus favorite, but the Cavaliers have the size and athleticism to -- at least -- keep things interesting. "They're very good," Helfrich said. "It's a completely different test."

Virginia is an interesting team. While Mike London's seat isn't necessarily hot after going 16-21 his first three seasons -- his 2014 recruiting class currently ranks 21st in the nation -- he did massively overhaul his 2012 staff, adding a ton of college coaching experience. He hired former NC State coach Tom O'Brien as associate head coach, former Colorado State coach Steve Fairchild as offensive coordinator and former Georgia Tech and Notre Dame defensive coordinator John Tenuta to lead his defense.

That's a lot of experience going against a first-time head coach. Of course, Helfrich has other things going for him, such as three offensive players who rushed for more than 100 yards last week in QB Marcus Mariota, RB De'Anthony Thomas and RB Byron Marshall, and perhaps the best secondary in college football.

Further, the Pac-12 does pretty well when going east, and Oregon leads the way. Since 2000, the Pac-12 is 26-23 when playing in the Eastern time zone. The Ducks are 3-0 during that span, beating Michigan (2007), Purdue (2008) and Tennessee (2010).

As the Ducks' former offensive coordinator, Helfrich is not like most new head coaches. He knows his school's travel routines. The Ducks will do everything in preparation for this road trip just as they did under Kelly. And, for that matter, under Mike Bellotti.

Still, there are some concerns. The Ducks' opener against Nicholls State didn't produce only bouquets and rainbows during film study. For one, the team's most questionable position -- linebacker -- flashed some ability as well as vulnerability. Helfrich noted too many missed tackles, which means the starting spots are presently written in pencil.

"We're still going to have a competitive situation there," Helfrich said.

Although the Ducks are big favorites, a trip to Virginia will offer a far more substantial test for Helfrich's team than last weekend's walkover. Don't expect Oregon to average 11.1 yards per carry this weekend.

It's so far, so good for Helfrich, but there is so much more up ahead. Or as he volunteered, "I think we'll be tested a little bit differently in future games, but I think we're off to a good start."

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/05/2013 01:19 PM

The last time Taquan Mizzell and Thomas Tyner played together, Mizzell fired down the sideline on a 72-yard kickoff to set up his team's winning touchdown in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl last January.

So when No. 2 Oregon kicks off in Virginia on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. -- the Ducks' first regular-season game in an ACC stadium -- in a game marked by the expected career debut of Tyner, UO's much-heralded running back recruit, there should be forewarning to keep an eye on Mizzell. He's Virginia's own in-state, elite back who also brought a mountain of expectations with him to campus as coach Mike London's first five-star recruit.

Rivals listed Mizzell -- who goes by "Smoke" -- as the co-No. 1 back in the 2013 class, with Tyner No. 2. ESPN ranked Mizzell as the ninth-best back in his class with a grade of 85, while Tyner was No. 6 with an 86 grade.

"I gotta give it to him. He lived up to the nickname," London said in early August. "He ran pretty well. He’s a young man that’s very talented."

First, a note of caution, because Saturday both will share something else, too: limited roles. Tyner is at least third on Oregon's depth chart after a nagging ankle injury and not enough practice reps held him out of the Ducks' 66-3 victory against Nicholls State.

The 4.6-in-the-40 speed of the 5-foot-10, 180-pound Mizzell has installed him as a starting kickoff returner, but he'll see likely spot duty out of the backfield as a backup to juniors Kevin Parks and Khalek Shepherd. Against BYU the freshman from Virginia Beach returned three kicks for 56 total yards and rushed seven times for 16 yards.

Where do Smoke and Tyner go from here? We'll just have to watch out for them Saturday.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
09/06/2013 07:09 PM


Oregon has to travel across the country to play an early game in a different time zone. The Cavs are still riding a high after the come from behind win against BYU. The Ducks take some time to click on a road trip early in the season which is why the Ducks are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games in September. Ducks win but don't cover.

Virginia +25.5