Rose Bowl Preview: Oregon Ducks Have Weapons to Win Shootout

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Is the third time a charm for Chip Kelly and his Oregon Ducks? Will the 2012 Rose Bowl end differently than last year’s national title game and the 2010 Rose Bowl?

The knock on Kelly’s Ducks is that if you get an entire month to prepare for them, then stopping the 3rd in the nation in total yards Quack Attack isn’t so difficult.

However, the Ducks are 6 point favorites in this game. And this is the first year of the Pac-12 Championship game, so the layoff this year is significantly shorter. They are the school to have a current three game BCS streak.

darron-thomas

Why Oregon Should Win: 

Oregon Coach Chip Kelly described his counter-measures to the long lay off.

“The bowls revolve around the holidays whether it’s Christmas or New Year’s or sometime later in January when you’re playing the National Championship Game,” he said.

“I think if you make a big deal out of it, it turns into a big deal for your players. As long as you’re consistent in your approach, and we have a plan on how we practice and when we give them days off and when we’re back in Eugene. We don’t practice every day straight through. We’ll practice for three or four days and give them a couple days off and start back up again.”

Their quick strike, dictated by rhythm and tempo offense is a nightmare to stop. Especially at the start of the third quarter. If this is a close game at halftime, pay close attention to how the Ducks comes out of the locker room. If they roll out of the gates, then it’s over for Sconnie. If QB Darron Thomas can get the ball to De’Anthony Thomas on the perimeter, he becomes that third running back option (LaMichael James is #1, Kenjon Barner #2) in that vicious rushing attack.

It’s forgotten because Oregon is ranked 10th in the Pac-12 in in passing offense, but Thomas has thrown for 30 TDs this year. If they can make some more plays through the air (De’Anthony Thomas and Lavasier Tuinei are the main receivers) to keep a very good Wisconsin defense off balance, they should take effective control of this game.

kenjon-barner

Why Oregon Should Lose: Does the Oregon defense have what it takes to stop the people in red from “having a Ball?”

Montee Ball came into Wisconsin camp 20 pounds lighter and ready to do business. All he’s done this season is put himself in position to break the single season TD record, in this very game. Ball ran 22 times for 132 yards in this game last year, and finished 4th in Heisman voting this year. Safety John Boyett and company will have to try and contain Ball, because Montee will not beat himself. In 581 touches (536 carries, 45 recpetions) he has yet to fumble.

Oregon Offensive Coordinator Mark Helfrich talked about what he believes the key to this game will be.

“In terms of when you look at the stats that define winning and losing, turnover margin is the number one thing. Sacks are the number two thing. All that stuff that we keep track of and talk about and educate our players about are the exact things that matter in recruiting. We don’t talk about 40 times. We talk about character,” he said.

And the Badgers offense is extremely efficient too. In 61/70 red zone trips they’ve scored a TD.  That percentage is first in the nation.

Prediction: (Record 41-19) Oregon 47, Wisconsin 41

Yes, I believe all the hype about this being a shootout. Even though there are also two great defenses on the field going against two tour de force offenses. The Big Ten title game featured two great defenses as well, and look how high scoring that ended up.

“There’s two power offenses down on paper but you never know what the outcome is going to be. We don’t come trying to execute, we don’t expect to score 100 points on those guys. I don’t think they expect to score 70, 80 points on us. It’s going to be a well executed game,” Oregon QB Darron Thomas said.

Of course long way to go to catch Baylor 67, Washington 56 Alamo Bowl, the highest scoring bowl game (at the end of regulation) in history. This RB is all about the RB. Running backs will define this Rose Bowl.

For the Wisconsin version of this preview/post go here

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.

 

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