For those of you who can recall last year's matchup between these two teams, there was a bit of history to it: No team had ever been 44-point underdog underdog in conference history until Colorado's ill-fated venture into Autzen Stadium. The Ducks went on to beat the spread with a 70-14 victory. But that was last season. The Colorado Buffaloes are better this year. They're 2-1, they have a new head coach, they're best players are healthy, and tomorrow's game is in frozen Boulder. So now Colorado is only a 39-point underdog.
It's still hard to believe that these two teams met in a BCS game just 12 years ago. The Buffs new head coach Mike MacIntyre seems to have the program in the right direction—they showed plenty of pep in routing Colorado State and directional Arkansas this season—but it takes time to recover from NCAA sanctions and 5 years of Dan Hawkins. All the Ducks can do is show Colorado what a good football team looks like. (Well that, and help the recovery effort after the recent flooding in the Denver area.)
Kickoff is set for 3 pm on the Pac-12 Network.
Keys to the game:
Paul Richardson, healthy once more — Richardson is one of the top receivers in the country and Colorado's biggest offense. While the Oregon defense did a fine job smothering the prolific Cal passing offense last week, the monsoon certainly helped as Cal's aggressive numbskullery on offense might have stopped itself. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu looks to be tested against this explosive buffalo.
DAT not playing — De'Anthony Thomas, injured after returning the opening kickoff last week, is sitting out this game to recover and let the younglings get live-game experience. Look for Byron Marshall and freshman wunderkind Thomas Tyner to get more touches, along with Kenny Bassett, Ayele Forde, and well, pretty much everyone traveling with the team.
Snow! Altitude! Hostile Environment! Something! — Following the torrential downpour and whipping winds of last week's snuff film against the Golden Bears, it is presently snowing in Denver. [Whither early fall weather?—Ed.] It is unlikely to stick around for the game but it could affect the team's traveling plans. The game is also being played at a high altitude which would hurt the Ducks if they weren't playing Colorado. The trip to Folsom Field is also the first conference road game for Oregon which could... I'm not sure where I'm going with this.
A Look at the Other Games Around the League
Washington State vs California (1 pm Fox Sports 1) — Fresh off having several quarterbacks mauled by the vicious nerds of Stanford, Washington State travels to Berkeley to take on a battered, fumble-prone California team.
22 Arizona State vs Notre Dame (4:30 pm, NBC) — The Sun Devils return to the polls after getting Lane Kiffin fired and get to show the offensive football masochists who watch Notre Dame on NBC what a decent team looks like.
15 Washington vs 5 Stanford (7:30 pm, ESPN) — In what is the best matchup of conference play thus far, Sarkisian's doogs take on their traditional whipping boy [Stop living in the past—Ed.] in Palo Alto.
12 UCLA 34, Utah 27 (Thurs.) — This thrilling, turnover-filled game ended with groans from degenerate sports gamblers when the UCLA defender fell to the ground instead of returning the final interception for a touchdown.