Oregon football is getting set for a visit from the UCLA Bruins in a few weeks, and that game could draw ESPN College GameDay to Autzen Stadium.
While the game between UCLA and Oregon is several weeks away, it is clear that there are currently going to be three teams looking to the Pac-12 Championship. Several of the contending teams now have conference losses, including both Washington State (to Oregon), and Washington (to Arizona State.) Utah, a team ranked ahead of the Ducks lost to the hands of now-undefeated UCLA on Saturday.
The Utes and USC Trojans will meet this week in Utah for a showdown, but the game next week to keep an eye on, which should have national attention is an undefeated UCLA team led by former Oregon coach Chip Kelly returning to Eugene with a perfect record on the line against a likely top ten Oregon football team who over the last five weeks looks all the part of a contender for the conference.
If you break down one simple statistic, quarterback completion percentage, you have all you need to know. Oregon quarterback Bo Nix has not only thrown better than 70 percent this season, but he has also used his legs to the tune of eight touchdowns this season. He had an impressive three scores on the ground and over 100 yards rushing vs the Stanford Cardinal and ran for 80 yards last week against Arizona on the road.
For UCLA, Dorian Thompson-Robinson is among the most experienced signal-callers in the conference. He has been with UCLA since Kelly joined the team and has shown off an equally impressive skill set so far this season. First off, his team has yet to record a loss. Thompson-Robinson is completing better than 74 percent of his passes and has thrown for 15 touchdowns this season. His legs are responsible for two scores.
While the Ducks have used the ground game to their advantage over the last few weeks, the Bruins have gone through the air. The Ducks have shown this season that they can use both the air and ground games to be efficient, but something will have to give vs UCLA.
Oregon football deserves a College GameDay Saturday
This is the prime matchup that makes for the ESPN College GameDay treatment. If it was the start of the season, I would have likely said that the matchup with Utah would fit the bill, but with the Utes potentially looking at back-to-back losses as they face USC this week, the Bruins and Ducks could be among the best games of the year.
If you look at the team statistics for both UCLA and Oregon there are a lot of similarities. Both teams are 1 and 2 in key areas including yards per game. The Ducks average 512, UCLA 505. For third-down conversions, Oregon averages 46 percent, and UCLA is a touch higher at 55 percent. Both teams are giving up less than 100 yards on the ground to their opponent this season and on the other side, both the Bruns and Ducks are among the most penalized teams in the conference on average.
Oregon and UCLA will meet on Saturday, September 22nd in what could be a statement game for the Pac-12 Conference. The winner will have a leg up heading into November for a spot in the Pac-12 Championship game.
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