Pregame Guesses: Oregon

Both Kevins Will Be Available This Saturday At the Rose Bowl. Photo Credit: Telemachus

This weekend actually looks like a fun sports weekend

The Bruins take on the Oregon Ducks on Saturday and some time around the start of the fourth quarter, the Dodgers take the field in St. Louis against the Cardinals. Sunday at noon L.A. time, the Angels face the Red Sox in Fenway Park.

Oh, and by the way, USC has a bye week.

If we take care of business at the Rose Bowl on Saturday afternoon (and if the Dodgers clinch that evening), Sunday's L.A. Times sports section might actually be fun to read -- for those of us who still cling to the antiquated custom of having a stranger drop a bundle of paper wrapped in plastic on the driveway sometime in the middle of the night and on that paper is printed words of events that took place the day before.

Theoretically, by the time hiicaliber adds up the Pregame Guesses, the Bruins could be 4-1 and both the Dodgers and Angels could be in their respective championship series.

But a lot has to happen between now and then.

First things first, the Bruins need to beat the Ducks.

I took a bit of flack a couple of weeks ago when I put an asterisk next to the 3-0 start.

I wrote:

*We're 3-0, but we've beaten three pretty crappy teams.

I hate to say it, but if we weren't 3-0, there'd be something really wrong with the program. (I'm not going to debate the Tennessee win with everyone. It was a really good win. But Crompton is a really bad quarterback. If Tennessee is not definitionally a crappy team, Crompton's overall suckiness still provides them their green card to Crappyville.)

Not everyone agreed, here's a response from the comments section:

I was just thinking that same thing. Florida scored a whopping 4 more points than we did against them. TN may not have good offense but their defense is very good. Also, that crowd at Neyland is one you can’t understand unless you have been there. The fact that our team came out of there with a win is something to be proud of.

I don’t really see the 3-0 as having an asterisk. We played and won the 3 games we had and before the season started almost everyone thought the best case scenario would be 2-1. In no way am I saying our future games won’t be much tougher but I think the team has really improved and with our defense we will have a chance against all of them.

A week after we had that exchange we finally played a good team and we got beat on the road by Stanford. Were we in the game? Yes. Did we play with our backup quarterback? Yes.

Have we beaten a good team this season?

No.

Now, we're looking down the barrel of a tough, two game homestand against Oregon and Cal. Both teams are good, but both teams are flawed. Actually, If anyone wants to argue that -- after two really ugly losses -- Cal isn't a good team, I won't argue, but it would be a debate a little besides the point. Despite those losses, I still think Cal has some good players and are better than any of our non-conference opponents.

But Cal talk is getting ahead of ourselves.

I predict we'll beat Oregon.

Jonathan Crompton aside, the Bruins still need to prove they can win road games. Stanford is not the toughest environment in college football, but we're still a relatively young team at some key positions and winning road conference games is tough even for senior-laden teams. This goes for Oregon, too, who are not the same team on the road that they are in Autzen.

The quarterback situation for both teams is in flux. I can't get a straight answer on whether or not the Ducks' Jeremiah Masoli is going to play or not. His status for Saturday seems Tim Tebowesque at the moment. As for UCLA, we get Kevin Prince back and to me, that makes all the difference in the world.

So, while I rarely make predictions, I'm going to call a UCLA win -- a win that will retire the asterisk for the rest of the season.

Here are the Pregame Guesses for Oregon:

  1. One key to a Bruins victory is cutting down on the penalties. We've just had too many flags in too many key situations -- even in games we've won. True or False, UCLA will have 60 or more yards in penalties this Saturday.
  2. Name a Bruin who runs for a touchdown on Saturday
  3. Who will lead the Bruins in tackles on Saturday.
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