After losing their season opener the Oregon Ducks look to continue their climb back toward BCS bowl contention when they host the Cal Bears for a PAC-12 battle Thursday night at Autzen Stadium (9 pm Eastern, ESPN).
Oregon opened this season by losing to LSU 40-27 at Cowboys Stadium. The Ducks then took out some frustration on Nevada, beating the Wolf Pack 69-20, and followed that up with a 56-7 win over FCS Missouri State. OU then began its PAC-12 season with a 56-31 trouncing of Arizona two weeks ago behind 288 rushing yards from Heisman hopeful LaMichael James.
California, meanwhile, started its season with a 36-21 victory over Fresno State. The Bears then won at Colorado in overtime 36-33, then dispatched of FCS Presbyterian 63-12. But Cal then opened its PAC-12 slate by losing at Washington 31-23 two weeks ago.
Both teams had last weekend off.
Oregon has won 18 games in a row at home, going 12-5-1 ATS in the process. Cal, on the other hand, is 1-6 ATS over its last seven road games.
Last year, on their way to the BCS national championship game, the Ducks ran into their toughest test at Berkeley, getting by the Bears 15-13 thanks to a missed chip-shot FG early the fourth quarter by Cal kicker Giorgio Tavecchio. The Bears held Oregon to a season-low 317 yards of offense, and just one offensive touchdown. The Ducks other TD came on a punt return for a score.
Oregon returned 11 starters this season from last year’s national runner-up team, six on offense but only five on defense. Cal, meanwhile, had 12 starters back this year from a team that went 3-6 in conference play last year, seven on offense but also only five on defense.
Both teams are 2-2 ATS this season.
So far this season teams ranked in the USA Today’s Top 25 are 75-10 SU and 43-39 ATS when playing unranked teams.
Cal at Oregon Pick: The line has remained fairly steady on this game, but the over/under has crept up from 62 to 63.5. And a lot of the college games this year with the higher O/Us have played OVER their totals. Oregon isn’t quite the team it was last year, when it was a genuine powerhouse. And Cal gave them a real good battle last year. Which makes 23.5 points look like a lot. So we’ll go with the Bears here to cover, and take the OVER.