Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert returned for his senior year with plans to contend for the Heisman Trophy, lead the Ducks to a Pac-12 title and make a stronger case to be the NFL’s No. 1 draft pick. Sometimes, plans fall apart.
Herbert’s stock is sinking after he was upstaged by a freshman quarterback in the Ducks’ 31-28 loss at Arizona State last week. Herbert has been intercepted four times in his past three games, after being picked off just once in the first eight games. The Ducks have declined on the defensive side, too, and surrendered 535 total yards to the Sun Devils.
Oregon has clinched the Pac-12 North, but will be an underdog to Utah in the conference title game. The Ducks figure to be a little deflated Saturday when they play host to Oregon State, which is coming off a crushing 54-53 loss at Washington State.
The Beavers pack enough offensive firepower to keep pace with the Ducks. Jake Luton passed for 408 yards and five touchdowns last week for Oregon State, which is 5-6 and needs a win in the Civil War to go bowling.
The pick: Oregon State +19½.
KANSAS STATE (+5) over Iowa State: A year ago, the Cyclones beat the Wildcats 42-38 to end the Bill Snyder era at K-State. Snyder was an outstanding underdog coach and so is his successor, Chris Klieman, who’s 3-1 straight up and 4-0 against the spread in his past four games as a ’dog, including an upset of Oklahoma. Iowa State is 1-13 straight up in its past 14 road games in this series.
MICHIGAN (+9) over Ohio State: Jim Harbaugh is 7-1 straight up and ATS since the Wolverines’ blowout loss at Wisconsin on Sept. 21. Shea Patterson passed for five touchdowns last week in a 39-14 win at Indiana. Michigan has a lot of momentum going into the biggest game of Harbaugh’s tenure in Ann Arbor. The revenge factor is obvious, as Ohio State has won 14 of the past 15 meetings, but the ’dog is 5-1 ATS in the past six in this rivalry.
Army (+3) over HAWAII: This spot is about a hungry underdog and a disinterested favorite. The Black Knights come in following a week off and are hunting for bowl eligibility. Hawaii has clinched a spot in the Mountain West title game and has Boise State on deck. The Warriors’ poor run defense was shredded by Air Force’s option, and Army’s triple-option attack is another bad matchup. Nick Rolovich is 3-12-2 ATS as a favorite in four years as Hawaii coach.
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