Utah is a home underdog today, against the 4th ranked Ducks. Utah is 6-2 (3-2 Pac-12), and are basically playing with some house money today.
Utah lost last years meeting with the Ducks up in Eugene, their first matchup as members of the Pac-12. Utah was without Travis Wilson as QB, and had Adam Schulz taking snaps in the hostile environment of Autzen Stadium. Utah's defense kept the Utes within striking distance, but the offense could never counter the on coming storm of Oregon's offense.
The Utes are coming off of a heart breaking loss against Arizona State last weekend, where they lost in overtime. The Utes remained No. 17 this week in the CFP top-25, so it appears the loss was respected by the CFP committee. Last week, the Utes defense was spectacular, by holding ASU to just 19 total points - even with OT. It was the offense that was the downfall last week, again for the Utes. Specifically, the passing game was inept against the Sun Devils. It appers to many that the offensive coaching staff is holding Travis Wilson back a little bit. This week the compeition was reopened between Wilson, and OU transfer Kendal Thompson. While I expect to see Wilson trot out against the Ducks, Thompson is once again a wild card.
Oregon is coming off of a big win over Stanford, and got that monkey off their backs. Oregon is in control of their own College Football Playoff destiny, because currently they find themselves in the top four. The Ducks are a win away in conference from clinching another birth in the Pac-12 Championship Game, what would be their first since 2011. They bring in Marcus Mariota at QB, a Heisman Trophy favorite, and a likely top pick in the NFL. The question is can the Duck o-line protect Mariota, against the vaunted defensive front of the Utes?
Another week, another late kickoff, and yet another ranked opponent for the Utes. Here's to hoping they come out playing like mad men, and once again, slay a giant.