Washington State Cougars vs. Oregon
Ducks Date and Time: Saturday, October 7, 2017, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Autzen Stadium, Eugene, OR
Opening College Football Odds: Washington State -1
Washington State vs. Oregon TV Coverage: FOX
It's never a good sign when you hear that someone is going to be out, "for a while." It's really not good when that man is your starting quarterback.
It's a wonder if Justin Herbert's season is going to be over after he broke his collarbone last week against California. The Ducks' quarterback was finally starting to lead a bit of a resurgence under Willie Taggart, but this injury is going to leave the team in a lurch coming into one of the biggest games of its season.
Even though the Ducks poured it on against Cal last week, we have some big concerns over Taylor Alie taking over under center for Herbert.
Herbert was in the midst of a Heisman Trophy type of season, one in which he was averaging over 10 yards per pass attempt and picking up chunks of yards on the ground.
Alie, meanwhile, is just 15-for-20 for 115 yards with an interception to go with seven rushes for 45 yards and a touchdown. Can he ultimately lead this offense with the same sort of efficiency that Herbert did? That's going to be the big question in this game.
Then again, how will Washington State deal with having the bulls-eye on its back? The Cougars are arguably the favorites to win the Pac-12 right now, even beyond a Washington team that played in the College Football Playoff last year.
Luke Falk is putting up Heisman numbers in his own right, and that win against USC was the crowning moment of his career. Falk absolutely outplayed Sam Darnold in that win, and at 5-0, it's time to take notice of what Mike Leach is building in Pullman.
Matchup to Watch
When Oregon has been at its best over the course of the last several years, it's had defensive backs that were ready to play at the next level. You don't think of these Ducks as finding capable defensive players with as high-octane as their offense is, but holding teams to 20 points or so with as many times as that unit has to be on the field is impressive in its own right.
Washington State has seven men who have at least 15 receptions and at least 127 receiving yards. We know that it's impossible to stop this passing attack, but the Ducks are going to have to find a way to keep Tavares Martin Jr. and Renard Bell from turning this game into a track meet. These two are the deeper threats in an offense that otherwise believes in its short passing game. If the Cougs are aerial, they're ridiculously dangerous.
Washington State vs. Oregon Free Picks
If it looks like a fish, and it smells like a fish, it's probably a bit fishy, right?
It took a little while for the news of Herbert's injury to come out, and all of the top 10 sportsbooks waited for as long as they could to put a line up on this game as a result. Yet the unranked Ducks are still favored at home over the No. 11 team in the land while being forced into playing a quarterback who has never started a game in his collegiate career.
If that doesn't tell you who to bet on in this game, we don't know what more of an indication you'd need. Washington State's clearly set to go down.
College Football ATS Pick: Oregon -1 at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Oregon 38, Washington State 30