Saturday's matchup between No. 6 Oregon and No. 16 Oregon State on Saturday will be like many recent editions of the Civil War and assumes a place as one of the highlights of Rivalry Week. This year's battle carries bonus intrigue with Pac-12 Championship, College Football Playoff and Heisman Trophy implications for the Ducks.
Oregon remained at No. 6 in the most recent College Football Playoff rankings, and though it is the second-highest ranked team from the Pac-12, it has not yet clinched a spot in the Pac-12 Championship Game. A win against Oregon State would set up a rematch against Washington on Dec. 1, but a loss paired with an Arizona win against Arizona State sends the Wildcats to Las Vegas instead.
Winning the Pac-12 is crucial to Oregon's playoff profile as it would provide to avenge the three-point loss at Washington from earlier in the season. A 12-1 record with a conference championship and wins against every team on its schedule would make Oregon a good candidate to move up if and when undefeated teams lose over the next two weeks. A loss to Oregon State drops the Ducks to 10-2 and shuts the door on those playoff hopes.
For Oregon State the stakes are pride, playing spoiler to your hated rival and jockeying for bowl positioning. The Beavers come into the game with an 8-3 record after a hard-fought 22-20 loss to Washington in the driving rain last Saturday night. But playing spoiler to a rival, especially one that's leaving the conference after this year, might be all the motivation Oregon State needs.
How to watch Oregon vs. Oregon State live
Date: Friday, Nov. 24 | Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
Location: Autzen Stadium -- Eugene, Oregon
TV: Fox | Live stream: Fubo (Try for free)
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Oregon vs. Oregon State: Need to know
Bo Nix has taken over as the Heisman Trophy favorite: Nix leads the nation with a 78.1 completion percentage and is currently on pace to break the NCAA single-season record of 77.4%. But there are plenty of other reasons for Heisman voters to latch on, even if they're not impressed by Nix's historic ability to complete passes. Nix ranks second in passing touchdowns (35) and passer rating (191.35). He is third nationally in passing yards per game (321.7) and total touchdowns (40). He's also the most important player on an offense that ranks No. 2 nationally, averaging 46.5 points per game. The Ducks are also the only FBS team to score at least 30 points in every game. The oddsmakers moved Nix to the top of the board recently, and now he'll have a chance to live up to that "Heisman Trophy frontrunner" label on a big stage Friday night.
Ducks looking for revenge: Though Oregon holds a 67-49-10 edge in the all-time series, Ducks coach Dan Lanning is 0-1 against Jonathan Smith and Oregon State after losing 38-34 last season. The Beavers rallied from a 17-point deficit in the fourth quarter thanks a slew of Oregon mistakes. The loss caused the Ducks to miss out on a shot at the Pac-12 Championship. Oregon is also looking to defend home turf as Oregon State has not won in Autzen Stadium since an overtime result back in 2007.
Oregon's offensive line sets the tone: While Bo Nix is earning praise for his performance this year, Oregon owes much of its offensive success to the guys up front. The group was named a semifinalist for the Joe Moore Award, given to the top offensive line in the country. The Ducks lead the nation with just five sacks allowed on the season, and their work has helped pave the way for an Oregon rushing attack that ranks first in the Pac-12 in yards per attempt (5.98) and second in the conference in rushing yards per game (196.6).
Oregon vs. Oregon State prediction, picks
Odds via SportsLine consensus
I think the touchdowns that were missing in the deluge last weekend for Oregon State will show up against an Oregon team that might be comfortable with a higher-scoring affair. Assuming Oregon gets close to its average and score at least 40 points, the Beavers should be able to score enough to take this over the total. Pick: Over 62.5
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