It all comes down to this for No. 5 ranked Utah Utes (11-1), who will host the No. 13 Oregon Ducks (10-2) in the Pac-12 Championship game Friday night.
For the Utes, a win in this game would afford them their final opportunity to get a playoff bid to go along with a possible No. 4 ranking. If they lose, however, their chances of representing the Pac-12 in the playoffs are over. A loss to Arizona State two weeks ago left the Ducks without a chance to make the playoffs, so for Oregon, a win against the Utes would likely mean a Rose Bowl appearance. Who will have the edge in this one? Here’s a preview of the game followed by trends and our final prediction.
Utah is one of the hottest teams in college football right now. They have won eight in a row, and have not lost since September 20th. They have been playing well on both sides of the ball, outscoring opponents 308-76 in those eight games while also holding five different teams to under 10-points with stellar defense. Their offense has been equally formidable.
Senior quarterback Tyler Huntley has been excellent this season. Huntley has 2,773 yards passing with 16 passing touchdowns, five rushing touchdowns and just two interceptions. He will be assisted by running back Zac Moss, who has 1,246 yards and is averaging 6.2 yards per carry. Together, they have been a force over the past eight games, and they should continue to be a force in this one.
Oregon is giving up 15.8 points per game, but they have allowed 20.5 points on average over their last two games, so they will need to buckle down in this one if they want to keep themselves in it. They will also need their offense to click on all cylinders against the toughest defense in the conference.
Quarterback Justin Herbert will have several quarterback-starved NFL teams watching him in this one, so he’ll likely want to put on a show. Herbert is leading an offense that is averaging 35.8 points a game, and he has 31 touchdowns to just five interceptions on the season. If he plays his best ball, he should be able to keep this one interesting, but he’ll need his offensive line to step up, as well.
*Note: All trends and numbers are courtesy of Odds Shark*
Trends, Predictions and Pick:
Spread: Oregon: +6.5
Odds Shark currently have the Utes winning the game by a projected score of 41-29, which has Utah covering the spread and the total score going over 46.5 points.
The following relevant trends surrounding the game are courtesy of Odds Shark:
• The total has gone UNDER in 10 of Oregon’s last 15 games.
• Oregon is 10-1 SU in their last 11 games.
• Oregon is 5-2 SU in their last 7 games against Utah.
• The total has gone UNDER in 12 of Oregon’s last 16 games on the road.
• Utah is 8-0 ATS in their last 8 games.
• The Utes are 8-0 SU in their last 8 games.
• The total has gone OVER in 6 of Utah’s last 7 games against Oregon.
• Utah is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games at home.
We’re with Odds Shark here, although we think the score will be higher. We like the Utes at home in this one, and while Herbert should put on a show, it might not be enough.
Final Prediction: Utah 45, Oregon 35