Utah quarterback Cameron Rising (7) in the first half during an NCAA college football game against Arizona, Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
- #10 Oregon (10-2, 7-2 Pac-12) tries to avenge a 38-7 blowout loss against #17 Utah (9-3, 8-1 Pac-12) in the Pac-12 Championship Game Friday at 8 pm ET in Las Vegas
- The Ducks are coming off a 38-29 Civil War victory against Oregon State, while the Utes have won seven of their last eight games – including a 28-13 win over Colorado Friday
- See game odds, analysis and a prediction by scrolling below
The #10 Oregon Ducks (10-2, 7-2 Pac-12) look for their third straight conference title against the #17 Utah Utes (9-3, 8-1 Pac-12) in the Pac-12 Championship Game Friday. Kickoff is at 8 pm ET from Allegiant Stadium on ABC.
The Ducks rebounded from that 31-point thrashing on Nov. 20 in Salt Lake City last Saturday in its annual rivalry game against the Beavers. After rushing for just 63 yards against the Utes, Oregon ran for 231 against OSU. UO quarterback Anthony Brown completed 23-of-28 passes for 275 yards and a pair of touchdown passes, while running for another score. Meanwhile, Utah quarterback Cam Rising tossed three touchdowns and Tavion Thomas ran for 142 yards and a score in the Utes’ yeoman-like effort against the Buffs.
Now, Kyle Whittingham’s team is a 2.5-point favorite against the Ducks as his program has a potential Rose Bowl berth on the line.
Oregon vs Utah Odds
|Oregon Ducks||+2.5 (-105)||+115||O 59.5.5 (-110)|
|Utah Utes||-2.5 (-115)||-135||U 59.5 (-110)|
Odds as of November 30th at DraftKings
Been There, Done That
Oregon has been in this spot (playing for the conference title, that is) four times since the inception of the Pac-12 Championship Game in 2011 and won every time. Utah has been in this spot twice before (2018 and 2019) and come up short. Friday’s tilt is a rematch of the 2019 tilt.
Will the third time be the charm for the Utes as they try to finally break through with a trip to “The Granddaddy of Them All” on the line? The mental aspect of this game: with Oregon being able to lean on previous positive experience and Utah reverse their fortunes.
As Utah wide receiver and team leader Brittain Covey noted this week, regarding the 37-15 loss two years ago to the Ducks, the Utes got outside themselves. They ran poor routes, their blocking was off – simply put, the moment was too big.,
Cristobal on bouncing back from the loss at Utah: “Just being upset, being angry at a performance, what does that do? Nothing. You have to take that energy and pour it into betterment.” #GoDucks
— Rob Moseley (@DuckFootball) November 28, 2021
On the flip side, Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal has noted repeatedly since his team’s drubbing in Week 12 that it needed own the loss – and learn from it. Taking down the same team twice in the same season isn’t as challenging as one might think (more on that below). But even with the multitude of injuries the Ducks have been through in 2021, Oregon’s roster is still loaded and primed for vengeance.
2021 College Football Conference Championship Odds Tracker
Can Lightning Strike Twice?
According to statistics gathered from College Football Data, from 1950 to the end of the 2019 season, there were 78 rematches during the same season. The winner of the regular-season game won the rematch 44 times or 56.4% of the time.
According to research produced by the NCAA a few years ago, 20 of 33 conference championship game rematches resulted in a win for the team that also won the regular-season game — 60.6%.
An interesting note if Oregon wins Friday, there’s this:
Not sure this is a long shot. Guessing the rematch will be a much come competitive game.
Anybody got an early like for Oregon-Utah II in Vegas?
Would guess Utah -3 or 4. https://t.co/Y8t0jyaJAb
— Ralph D. Russo (@ralphDrussoAP) November 28, 2021
Bottom line: this one comes down to running the ball and stopping the run. Oregon moved the ball on the ground prior to Nov. 20 and did so again in the Civil War. I don’t expect the Ducks to be stymied again. Ultimately, if UO matches Utah third-down conversion for third-down conversion, the defense should come out and play like it’s personal. But what about turnovers?
The Ducks went without a takeaway four times this season, and two of those games were the two losses. The offense hasn’t lost the ball in the last two games, which is good. And while Utah doesn’t turn the ball over (two in the last six games), it doesn’t come up with takeaways (none in the last three games) either.
— Bill Riley (@espn700bill) November 27, 2021
Clearly, the Utes have been balling of late defensively. This is still a brutish team on the lines, it’s great in pass pro and it leads the Pac-12 in sacks and tackles for loss. Now, it just has to put it all together on the big stage.
Fourth-year sophomore quarterback Cam Rising noted that earlier this year, he sat down with teammates and reviewed the film from the 2019 title game. That exercise only drove home the notion that making sure the basics, the fundamentals, the little things are being done properly during practice this week.
Utah has failed to deliver in the past, but it changes Friday. This is a bad matchup for Oregon. I think the Utes play ball-control and finally break through to punch their ticket to Pasadena.
- The Pick: Utah -2.5 (-115)
Blair Johnson is a veteran journalist and seasoned sports content creator. He has been writing and producing content as long as he can remember, with such familiar names as CNN, NFL Media and Yahoo. Blair currently lives and works in the greater Los Angeles area.