The No. 5 Oregon Ducks open their 2012 schedule tonight by welcoming Sun Belt school Arkansas State to Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon. This evening’s scrap between the Ducks and Red Wolves has a scheduled start time of 10:30pm ET; it will be broadcast live on ESPN. The latest Arkansas State vs No. 5 Oregon Odds are ignoring the obvious outcome of a battle between mascots and siding with the Ducks at -37 against the spread. The Over/Under in tonight’s game is set at 69 points.
A case can be made for Oregon taking a step backward this season as it did lose 11 starters in the off-season, including its biggest playmaker in running back LaMichael James. However, those who fall in the ‘drop-off’ camp are ignoring several realities. Their first mistake is a failure to acknowledge what Head Coach Chip Kelly brings to the table.
Kelly is the architect of the Ducks high powered offense and he has stocked the program with players capable of keeping the fast break system running smoothly. Roster turnover is the name of the game in college football, but coaches like Kelly know how to avoid major setback seasons by recruiting athletes who are able to step up and fill the void when a key contributor moves on.
Some of those players on this year’s Oregon team are De’Anthony Thomas, Josh Huff, Kenjon Barner, and new quarterback Marcus Mariota. Unfortunately for Arkansas State, its defense, which played well last season (20.8 points per game allowed), will experience first hand what kind of havoc this quartet is capable of reeking on its opposition.
The Red Wolves offense, which is now under the direction of its offensive wizard in Gus Malzahn (took the head coaching job after Huge Freeze left for Ole Miss), may be able to score enough points to sneak in the back door tonight, though. Arkansas State averaged 32.5 points per game a season ago, and its quarterback, senior Ryan Aplin (3588 yards, 19 touchdowns), should thrive under Malzahn and new coordinator Rhett Lashlee’s tutelage.
Free Pick: Sixty-nine points is a lot to crest, but Oregon could probably do that on its own tonight. Take the Over 69.
Arkansas State vs No. 5 Oregon Odds:
Arkansas State Red Wolves +37 (-110), Over 69 (-110)
Oregon Ducks -37 (-110), Under 69 (-110)
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