After surviving a scare at home against California last week, the Oregon Ducks travel to Los Angeles for a big Pac-12 collision against the UCLA Bruins.
BetMGM’s college football odds currently have UCLA as 2-point favorites. So will Oregon keep their playoff hopes alive in Week 8, or will UCLA prove the oddsmakers right?
Here is what to watch for in this Oregon at UCLA game.
UCLA Pac-12 South Push
The Bruins are coming to a brutal stretch of their schedule. Currently, UCLA is 3-1 in conference play and third place in the South division.
They already have a big home loss to Arizona State, so these next two games against the two Pac-12 division leaders (Oregon and Utah) will reveal UCLA’s fate.
Oregon Playoff Push
As for the Ducks, they have bigger aspirations than a Pac-12 Championship appearance. They are trying to establish a playoff resume and are also trying to avoid another slip-up like their heartbreaking overtime loss to Stanford.
However, one of the reasons Oregon has retained a top 10 ranking is that they had a big road victory against Ohio State earlier in the season. Since then, they have won every home game that they played.
With the way top teams are losing, including Iowa last week, the Ducks can likely give themselves a legitimate shot at making the playoffs by winning the rest of their games.
But they are going on the road against a dangerous conference opponent after winning by just a touchdown at home against California last week.
Remarkably, Oregon and UCLA have nearly identical offensive stats in almost every category. For example, they are within one yard for total yards per game (Oregon at 426, UCLA at 425).
But, it does not end there. Oregon averages just ten more passing yards per game than UCLA, and in return, UCLA averages just ten more rushing yards per game than Oregon.
On top of that, their points per game are as close as it gets. UCLA averages 33.9 points per game, and Oregon is right on their tail at 33.8 points per game.
So, something has to give, right?
Where there begins to be some separation is the defense. UCLA has the Pac-12’s worst passing defense but the conference’s best rushing defense.
In comparison, Oregon ranks ninth in the conference for passing defense and sixth for rushing defense.
As for points per game, Oregon has a slight edge in this category. They give up 21 points per game vs. UCLA’s 25 points per game.
Special Teams X-Factor
One thing that might be worth watching is the special teams play from UCLA. The Bruins lead the conference in average kickoff return yards, are second in average punt return yards, and have a punt return for a touchdown this season.
If UCLA gets their special teams going in this game, this could be the difference in what seems like a very even match-up.
Who Wins This Oregon at UCLA Game?
Are you backing the Ducks in this Oregon at UCLA game, or do you believe that the Bruins will keep their conference championship aspirations alive?
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