I see three advantages for Oregon in the Civil War: The Ducks play at home Ñ the home team has won the last six games in the series Ñ and they have the better No. 2 receiver, Demetrius Williams, and better backup QB, Jason Fife.
Oregon State, legitimately one or two plays away from being 9-1, has an All-American running back in Steven Jackson. It has a premier receiver, James Newson, who even UO safety Keith Lewis once called the Pac-10's best. Quarterback, Derek Anderson can be much more explosive than Oregon's QBs. OSU has a more physical offensive line, more experienced tight ends, a better punter (Carl Tobey) and kicker (Kirk Yliniemi).
The defensive lines are a push, but the linebacking edge goes to OSU, and the Beavers have better safeties and cover corners. Overall, a top-notch defense.
The Ducks have a lot of injuries and have been inconsistent offensively. Only recently have they figured out how to contain big passing plays. They've been using more coverages and disguises Ñand using reserve cornerbacks Justin Phinisee and Marques Binns, who may or may not play ahead of regular starters Rodney Woods and Steven Moore.
And Oregon has just as many problems with penalties as the notorious Beavers, who never play without emotion.
'We're a different team than last year,' says UO running back Terrence Whitehead, referring to OSU's 45-24 Civil War thumping of the Ducks. 'We've got a little more heart. It's going to be a battle, and I think we'll come out on top.'
Not me. It is an easy call: OSU, convincingly.
THE PICK: Beavers 30, Ducks 16