October 9, 2007

The O In Oregon

The Oregon Ducks enter their third Pac-10 game against Washington State coming off a disappointing home loss to California followed by a bye week. The history of the series is extremely even, with Oregon holding a very slim 39-38 advantage with seven ties, all dating back to 1901. The eighth-ranked Ducks would like nothing better than to erase the sour taste from the California game and begin a new home winning streak.

On paper, the Ducks clearly have an advantage. Oregon is 4-1 while having played the nation's fourth most difficult schedule, while the Cougars enter the game 2-4 with losses to nationally ranked teams Wisconsin, USC, Arizona State, plus a road loss to Arizona. The Cougars' narrow loss to Arizona State last week will certainly have captured the attention of head coach Mike Bellotti's team, if somehow, the loss to California didn't.

The Oregon offense is probably giving the majority of the nightmares to the Cougar staff as it prepares for the game this week. Of Pac-10 teams, the Ducks are ranked first in scoring offense, rushing offense, total offense and pass efficiency. Dual threat quarterback and Heisman hopeful Dennis Dixon is the leader of the Duck attack. Dixon ranks first in the Pac-10 in passing efficiency and second in individual total offense.

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