Pac-12 Play Begins
The Oregon Ducks will be coasting into their Pac-12 schedule this week after trumping the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles by a score of 63-14 to improve to 3-0 on the season, securing a number three ranking in the latest AP Top 25 Poll.
Matchup: Arizona at Oregon
Venue: Autzen Stadium (Eugene, OR)
Game Time, TV: 7:30 PM (PST), ESPN/WatchESPN
Date: Saturday, September 22, 2012
Team Records: Arizona (3-0), Oregon (3-0)
Standings: Oregon (T-2nd in PAC-12), Arizona (T-2nd in Pac-12)
Though their non-conference schedule was one of the easiest in college football this season, the Ducks did everything to show that they are the highly potent team that many considered them to be at the start of the season.
Oregon will now face an Arizona Wildcats team that has exceeded expectations, also finishing their non-conference schedule with a 3-0 record, a record that included a huge win over then No. 18 Oklahoma State.
The meeting between these two teams will feature two of the best offenses in college football.
With Oregon being Oregon, expect the Ducks offense to continue what it has done under Chip Kelly, put points on the board. Aided by the efforts of De’Anthony Thomas and Kenjon Barner, the Duck offense looks more potent than ever, even with a rookie quarterback in Marcus Mariota leading the charge.
Arizona will also be bringing in a spread attack that can put points on the board at an efficient rate as new head coach Rich Rodriguez has lit a fire in a Wildcats football program that was supposed to have an off year this season. Quarterback Matt Scott has done everything he has needed to in order to keep Arizona competitive in the college football world.
This matchup will also be the first time the Ducks will have seen a top-25 opponent in 2012. Arizona, ranked 22 in the latest AP Poll, has faced one ranked opponent this season, Oklahoma State.
What to watch: Arizona
The Arizona Wildcats, as mentioned before, are having somewhat of a surprise start to their 2012 college football season.
After losing quarterback Nick Foles to the NFL, many thought the Wildcats would be in a rebuilding year. An upset of Oklahoma State and impressive play over their first three games have signaled the exact opposite for the Wildcats.
The key for Arizona will be whether or not they can hang with a top-tier college football program in a venue such as Autzen Stadium.
So far, all three of the Wildcats’ wins have come at home. Their game against Oregon will signal the first time they are on the road, and what a welcome Autzen should bring for them.
Matt Scott and the rest of his offense must keep themselves composed if they want to have a shot at matching the points Oregon will put on the board.
What to watch: Oregon
Oregon’s offense will put up points on the board; that is almost a given.
Whether or not their defense can withhold points from a strong offensive attack will be the big question for the Ducks heading into their first Pac-12 Conference game.
The Ducks’ defense is one of the most touted in program history and has yet to face an opponent as potent as Arizona. While going against the best spread attack in the nation day-in and day-out at practice surely helps, the Ducks will still face a tough test against Matt Scott and the mind of Rich Rodriguez.
Matchup to watch: Oregon secondary vs. Arizona receivers
As has been documented in past game previews, the Oregon secondary and coverage unit will be the key as to whether or not the Ducks can stop the high flying attack of the Wildcats.
This Wildcats will need to key in on the Oregon secondary all game to exploit their weaknesses and advance the ball down the field as Oregon has consistently demonstrated the ability to terrorize opponents in the backfield.
Though the Wildcats may make a strong showing at the beginning portion of this contest, the Ducks are too much to handle at Autzen Stadium and should come out of this game with a win.