The gauntlet has begun, and it starts off with a tough one.
Oregon is a 13-point favorite, according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
Who will win this matchup? Here’s what our staff thinks:
Kim Doss — Oregon wins 42-28
Sometimes you get surprised by a game. This shouldn’t be one of those times. Even with the 49-3 loss against Georgia to start the season, the Ducks are scoring over 40 points per game and outscoring their opponents by 10 points per game. They’re averaging almost 229 rushing yards per game, which is something that Arizona has struggled to contain. On the other hand, Oregon has had more difficulty containing the passing game than the run by a considerable margin. That should allow Arizona to put points on the board, but it won’t be enough.
Ezra Amacher — Oregon wins 40-20
Arizona will have to play nearly flawless football to have a chance at winning this game. Even if Jayden de Laura is on target and the offense breaks loose for some big plays, I don’t see Arizona’s defense doing enough to stop the Oregon machine. Not only do the Ducks have an experienced quarterback in Bo Nix, they have one of the best ground attacks in the country.
Running back Bucky Irving (great name) has rushed for over 80 yards in each of Oregon’s last three games, while Noah Whittingham has averaged 67 yards per game over the same stretch. Between two explosive backs and a duel-threat QB, Oregon will have Arizona on its heels all game. As others in the post have pointed out, Arizona hasn't proven it can stop the rush yet.
That’ll be the difference as Oregon runs away with it in the second half.
Adam Green — Oregon wins 37-27
Winning is fun, yeah? Unfortunately Arizona’s schedule stiffens up a considerable amount now, with the 12th-ranked Oregon Ducks coming to town. Now, while the Ducks are not the best team the Cats will face this season, they are definitely more talented than Arizona and bring a style of play that should find success in the desert.
While QB Bo Nix can be effective and dangerous, Oregon is going to lean on its conference-leading rushing attack, likely to great success. Unfortunately Arizona has shown little ability to stop the run, and that Oregon can also pass means just stacking the box won’t work.
If the Wildcats are to win they will need to create a couple turnovers, which is possible. But besides that, the offense will need to sustain drives and score touchdowns. Jayden de Laura and his receiving options are capable of burning the Ducks’ secondary, but it’s tough to see them having enough success to make up for what is likely to be a disappointing defensive effort.
Brandon Combs — Oregon wins 42-35
There is no talking around it, Arizona is reaching it’s toughest part of the schedule. First up, Oregon.
The Ducks have been clicking since their opening loss against Georgia. Bo Nix is starting to settle in to his new team and has the offense rolling, averaging 50 points per game their last 4 games. Their running game is very good. And that’s what I feel the difference will be.
Arizona has struggled at stopping the run this season, it’s no secret. Against a potent rushing attack, I don’t know if they’ll be able to slow them down enough to pull this one out.
Make no mistake though, Oregon’s defense is susceptible to giving up points to potent offenses. And I believe that JdL will be able to lead Arizona’s offense to success. Again, I just don’t think the defense will be able to slow the Ducks down long enough on the ground.
I will throw in a caveat: Oregon has not found victory playing in Tucson recently. In 2018, the Ducks got wrecked, 44-15....against a Kevin Sumlin squad. In 2013, it was a 42-16 shellacking. In fact, the last time UO won in Tucson was in 2011 (56-31). There’s always a bit of craziness when these two play in the Old Pueblo, so I wouldn’t be totally surprised if Arizona pulls off a win.
Brian J. Pedersen — Oregon wins 41-28
This will be by far Arizona’s toughest opponent so far, and the quality of the foe will put added pressure on the offense to take advantage of every scoring opportunity. Oregon leads the Pac-12 in rushing, which could spell doom for a run defense that still has a lot of holes and can’t tackle well.
The UA will have a lead early, but once it falls behind it will start to take more chances. That will lead to a mistake or two, and as potent as the offense has been it works best when not pressing.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.