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Rose Bowl Preview
by Matt Fargo - 12/30/2009
The Betting Numbers
This line has done very little. The Ducks opened most places as a -3.5-point favorite and that is the current number at most shops a week prior to the game. The juice opened -110 and fell to as much as +100 but failed to cross over enough to change the number. The total has gone down to 50.5 from its opening of 51.5.
Ohio St. and Oregon have met seven times with the Buckeyes holding a 7-0 series advantage. They won the last meeting back in 1987 by a score of 24-14.
For Oregon, it has been quite a turnaround. The Ducks lost to Boise St. in their opener which also led to some extracurricular activities and the suspension of running back LeGarrette Blount. Since then however, Oregon has lost only once and it was an upset loss at Stanford where it was favored. After squeaking past Purdue and Utah, the Ducks pounded California and that was the real turning point to the season. The biggest win obviously came against rival Oregon St. in the Civil War and that outcome determined the Pac Ten Championship and Rose Bowl participant. The Ducks have outgained each of their last 10 opponents.
It was a very shaky start to the season for Ohio St. who was nearly upset in the season opener against Navy before losing the following week against USC. The Buckeyes bounced back with back-to-back shutout wins against Toledo and Illinois. A mid-season loss against Purdue was cause for concern but Ohio St. finished strong. The Buckeyes won the Big Ten thanks to big victories against Penn St. and Iowa, the latter in overtime to clinch the title, before taking out Michigan for the sixth straight time, a school record. A lot of people are saying the Buckeyes won the conference by default because of the weakness of the Big Ten this season and that is not totally false.
Against the Numbers
Expectations were high for Oregon and dropping the first two games against the number came as not a huge surprise. The Ducks ran off six straight wins against the number after that but they closed the season slow with just one ATS win in their last four games. Oregon went 7-4 ATS as a favorite although two of those covers were when laying 21 and 35 points. Nine of its 12 games went over the total partly due to the strong offense but also because of the weak defenses in the Pac Ten. The Ducks are on a 6-0 ‘Over’ run.
Ohio St. was a very profitable team this season as it finished 9-3 ATS. This included a 2-0 ATS mark as underdogs. The overall spread record is even more impressive considering the Buckeyes had to cover some big numbers as they were favored by double-digits in 10 of 12 games. That is interesting as they were either huge favorites or underdogs with nothing in-between. Ohio St. was just the opposite of the Ducks as it went 8-3-1 to the ‘Under’ including a 4-0-0 ‘Under’ record in road games.
The Ducks offense is one of the best in the nation as they finished seventh in scoring offense and 25th in total offense. They have weapons all over that can hurt you and the Buckeyes never saw anything like this playing in the Big Ten. But that offense will be tested by a defense that's limiting opponents to 12.2 ppg and 262.5 ypg, both fifth in the country. The Buckeyes are allowing an average of 83.4 ypg on the ground which is also fifth in the nation and they are one of five FBS teams that did not allow a 100-yard individual rushing performance this season.
The Oregon defense is a pretty underrated unit as it finished the regular season 32nd in the nation in total defense and that is not bad from playing in the offensively heavy Pac Ten. The scoring defense was just 52nd as they allowed 23.6 ppg and Ohio St. will present more of a challenge than some may think. It averaged 29.3 ppg, which was 47th in the country and scored 30 or more seven times. Quarterback Terrelle Pryor completed 55.8 percent of his passes for 1,828 yards, 16 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, and rushed for a team-high 707 yards and seven more scores.
This is the fifth straight BCS Bowl game for Ohio St., who has lost the last three, and this is the first Rose Bowl since 1996…The two common opponents this season were USC and Purdue with Ohio St. going 0-2 and Oregon going 2-0… Oregon will make just its fourth Rose Bowl appearance (1-3) and its first since 1995, when it lost to Penn St...Ohio St. is 6-0 ATS against teams with a winning record over the last two seasons…Oregon is 15-5 to he ‘Under’ in its last 20 games against teams allowing 17 or fewer ppg.