The Oregon Ducks should win today's Civil War with great ease. They own virtually every matchup over Oregon State.
However, these games rarely play out based on matchups and probability. So, the 25-point underdog Beavers do have a puncher's chance of pulling off an upset, or at the very least, making the game close.
However the 121st Civil War plays out today at Autzen Stadium (4 p.m. on ESPN2), the Ducks (6-5, 3-5 Pac-12) must win. They cannot afford to blow this. The Ducks need this win even more than the Beavers do.
Oregon is building toward something strong next season under coach Willie Taggart. Finishing off the year at 8-5 with a win today and then a bowl victory after losing sophomore quarterback Justin Herbert for five games (1-4 during that stretch) would provide a strong catapult into next year with 14 starters returning.
Plus, on a weekend when it has been announced that former UO coach Chip Kelly has become the new coach at UCLA, Ducks nation might not be able to also endure a humiliating Civil War defeat.
Oregon State (1-10, 0-8) could use the win, as well. Nothing could sooth such a disastrous season like upsetting the Ducks. But, OSU accomplished that last season at home by winning 34-24 to snap an eight-game Civil War losing streak only to blow that mojo with a follow-up season with only one win coming against 0-11 Portland State.
The Beavers reportedly already have a new direction in place and will hire Cal offensive coordinator and former Eastern Washington head coach Beau Baldwin to run the program. Hiring the quarterback guru is a great move for OSU. So, even if the Beavers get blasted today they will have something to celebrate very soon when Baldwin takes over for interim coach Cory Hall.
What needs to happen today for Oregon is that it makes easy work of the Beavers. End it early. Get in about 10 Swag Surfin' moments. Play a lot of guys. Have fun with no trepidation.
The UO players have been reminded of last year's Civil War loss in almost torturous fashion. Taggart has had the "low-lights," as he calls them, played over and over for his team to view and remind them of how bad things got last season.
A dominant win today could remind the Ducks of how good things could be in the future.
Oregon vs. Oregon State
When: 4 p.m., Saturday, Autzen Stadium, Eugene.
Betting line: Oregon by 25.
Records: Ducks (6-5, 3-5 Pac-12), Oregon State (1-10, 0-8).
Last week: Oregon took down Arizona (7-4, 5-3), 48-28. OSU lost 40-24 at home to Arizona State (6-5, 5-3)
Coaches: Ducks' Willie Taggart (46-50, 6-5 at Oregon); Oregon State's Cory Hall (0-5).
Fear factor (five-point scale): 0. Oregon has the advantage in just about every imaginable facet of the game. A loss would be disastrous for Oregon and put a major damper on an otherwise promising season.
The Beavers won last year behind a punishing running game led by Ryan Nall that no longer exists. However, one must consider the fact that OSU took Stanford to the wire in a 15-14 loss while the Cardinal destroyed Oregon, 49-7. Then again, Stanford played OSU without running back Bryce Love and Oregon played Stanford without Herbert, so scratch all of that nonsense.
Today's game is all Oregon.
Game prediction: Oregon 57, Oregon State 27.