UCLA

UCLA vs. Oregon College Football Predictions: Week 8

The All Bruins staff made their picks for how Saturday’s game against the Ducks is going to go down.

The Bruins will face off against a third ranked opponent in a row this weekend, but this time, they’ll have to do so on the road.

No. 9 UCLA football (6-0, 3-0 Pac-12) will play No. 10 Oregon (5-1, 3-0 Pac-12) at Autzen Stadium on Saturday. The Bruins have won nine games in a row dating back to the end of last year, while the Ducks have won five in a row since a season-opening loss and enter the matchup as 6.5-point favorites.

All Bruins is making its picks for who will win, what the score will be and how the game will play out, courtesy of Managing Editor Sam Connon, contributing writer Benjamin Royer and special guest predictor, Ducks Digest publisher Max Torres.

Sam Connon, Managing Editor

Prediction: Oregon 41, UCLA 38

This is undoubtedly the biggest game of the Chip Kelly era, considering everything that’s at stake on Saturday.

The Bruins could further cement themselves as not only a contender for the Pac-12 crown, but also for a Rose Bowl bid or a spot in the College Football Playoff. Sometimes, predictions for a game should be more straightforward, black-and-white and analytical, but to discard the intangible weight of this game and how it could play an impact would be shortsighted.

Going up to Eugene and playing a top-10 team in the rain in front of a sold-out crowd and a massive national TV audience while ESPN’s “College GameDay” has taken over campus is one massive challenge stacked on top of another. Amid all of that, quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson and running back Zach Charbonnet feel like they’re still going to have big days and power the offense to yet another efficient, high-scoring performance.

I just don’t think they’ll have that last bit of juice to pull it off.

UCLA hasn’t won in Eugene since 2006. They haven’t beat the Ducks under Kelly. They haven’t slayed a top-10 team on the road since taking down No. 2 Washington in 1990, and they haven’t beaten one regardless of location since 2010. The Bruins have broken a lot of streaks these past few weeks by taking down the ranked Huskies and ranked Utes, but those were both at home and the stakes weren’t quite as historic.

Losing this game wouldn’t erase the success of the past month, and it wouldn’t rule UCLA out of the conference title race. There would still be a lot of season left, and three straight games against inferior opponents would give the Bruins time to rebuild some momentum ahead of the USC showdown.

A win would make these past four weeks some of the best in UCLA history, and while that’s certainly a possible outcome, it just feels like such a big leap to take with this program. Oregon may not have played too many quality opponents since getting blown out by Georgia in Week 1, but it’s been a long time since then and they have a significant homefield advantage.

In a game between two top-10 teams, just one spot apart in the AP poll and both undefeated in Pac-12 play, any little factor could help determine the outcome. The fact that this game is happening in Eugene could very well end up being the one that tips the scales in Oregon’s favor.

Benjamin Royer, contributing writer

Prediction: Oregon 41, UCLA 34

The Bruins are off to their best start in more than a decade and are ranked in the top-10 of the AP poll for the first time since 2015. The beginning of this season is more than coach Chip Kelly could have dreamed of, but all dreams come to an end.

Yes, UCLA football may still be on their way to a Pac-12 Championship berth and maybe even the Rose Bowl. However, I give the Bruins a stronger shot at beating USC at home then I would defeating Oregon on the road.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson has yet to play a full game against the Ducks in Eugene. In 2018 – Thompson-Robinson’s freshman campaign – he got hurt before Wilton Speight took over under center in the Bruins’ loss.

Four years later, the now mature and polished fifth-year Heisman candidate has a shot to give the Bruins their third win over a top-25 squad this season and their first victory over a top-10 program since 2010 against then-No. 7 Texas.

UCLA’s defense has yet to crumble – though the Bruins came close to it against South Alabama – and this may be the most difficult and important test yet. Bo Nix is an SEC-big game tested quarterback, so this Pac-12 stage likely won’t be too much for him to handle.

Nix has helped rebuild the Ducks offense along with first-year coach Dan Lanning, and so far, the results have proven to be substantial. Oregon has averaged 42.0 points per game, and taking away their three-point performance against Georgia, the Ducks would be averaging a Division I-leading 49.8 points per game.

The Bruins could surely pull off an impressive win and continue their path to a possibly unprecedented 10-0 start – with games against Stanford, Arizona State and Arizona upcoming next – but on Saturday, I’m rolling with the Ducks.

Max Torres, Ducks Digest publisher

Prediction: Oregon 42, UCLA 34

I bet the Ducks are quite happy they get this game at home. Autzen Stadium could very well be the best home field advantage in the Pac-12, so it’s time to take advantage.

With all the storylines around this game from College Gameday to the Pac-12 title race, this is the perfect opportunity for the Ducks to make a statement. UCLA defends the run very well, but Oregon’s offensive line has had no problem creating running lanes this season.

I expect Oregon’s offense to be effective in this game, starting with a solid run game that also features Bo Nix. The question mark for me is whether or not the defense can do enough to slow down UCLA’s offense and DTR and perhaps more importantly get off the field on third down and come away with some big stops.

It’s going to be their biggest test of the season aside from Georgia, but I think the Ducks are up to the task.

Follow Connon on Twitter at @SamConnon
Follow Royer on Twitter at @thebenroyer
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