The University of Oregon may have lost their No. 2 ranking to a particularly impassioned Florida State team over the weekend, but the Ducks can make a statement of their own in Week 9 by sending a message to the NCAA football betting community with a win over a division rival.
With a 22.5-point spread in their favor, the No. 3 Ducks will line up against the No. 12 UCLA Bruins, hopeful to prove that while the Seminoles are impressive in their own right, there’s a reason the Pac-12 leader sat ahead of them in the polls and college football futures for the first two months of the season.
Now with 7-4 odds of winning the BCS National Championship, still second only to top-ranked Alabama, the Ducks are in a unique situation. They’re still expected to contend in the sportsbook, but have lost some of their thunder thanks to the FSU team that the nation can’t seem to get enough of.
Could an emphatic victory over UCLA help them fix that? Since the college football moneyline was posted, we’ve already seen action on Oregon sway the line — a phenomenon indicative of growing Ducks support.
If nothing else, the activity shows that the sports community has reason to believe that Mark Helfrich will have his Oregon squad especially motivated heading into their Saturday clash.
With sophomore quarterback Marcus Mariota thriving under center, the Ducks have made short work of any opponent that’s crossed their path, each by at least three touchdowns. That means if the Bruins are to even cover the spread, they’ll have to accomplish something that seven others have tried and failed to do so far.
One aspect of the UCLA matchup that will benefit the Ducks is that the Bruins are the highest ranked opponent that Oregon has faced thus far. An emphatic victory over a No. 12-ranked team may not guarantee them a national championship, but it could give them the edge to slip back ahead in the polls.
Will this Saturday serve as Oregon’s own statement game? It may be a long time before they’re out from under first-place Alabama’s shadow, but if FSU can take the NCAA world by storm with a big win over a conference opponent, then so too can the No. 2 team on the college football futures — even if they no longer have that No. 2 ranking.
Photo via Twitter/@DrewDeHart