|Don't be surprised if Oregon QB Marcus Mariota tops his career-high passing against Washington State. (US Presswire)|
Kickoff: Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Spread: Oregon by 29
Watchability: Chip Kelly and Mike Leach coaching against each other for the first time means you might want to tune in early, but Oregon is a 29-point favorite for a reason, so don't worry if you can't watch for long.
Shining Stars: Oregon: QB Marcus Mariota. The Ducks offense is a run-first spread, but they may throw a few more times than usual on Saturday, going up against a Cougars pass defense that ranks 122nd in the country (344.5 ypg). Don't be surprised if Mariota tops his career-high 308 passing yards. Washington State: WR Gabe Marks. In only four career games, the freshman wide receiver has turned into a weapon for the Washington State offense. Marks has gone over 75 yards receiving in three of WSU's four games. If Oregon gives up any big plays on Saturday, there's a good chance Marks will be involved.
Who could steal the show: Oregon: CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. Ekpre-Olomu had a big game against Arizona on Saturday, intercepting two passes and returning one for a touchdown. The sophomore corner could have an even bigger game against the Cougars, who will most likely put the ball in the air more than the 44 times Arizona did. Washington State: QB Connor Halliday. Oregon averages 52.8 points per game, which ranks fourth in the country, and if WSU is going to keep pace with the Ducks, Halliday is going to have to have a huge game without making any mistakes. The sophomore QB has averaged 389.5 yards in two starts this season, but those two starts came against pass defenses ranked 74th and 117th in the country, and Oregon's ranked 49th.
You going? Ranking the road trip: If it's not raining, then Seattle's an exciting place to be for college football fans. From the Space Needle to Pike Place Market, they'll be plenty to do before Saturday's 10:30 p.m. ET kickoff.
Magic number for Oregon: 24. The Ducks are 24-0 under Chip Kelly in games played during Weeks 2 through 8.
Magic number for Washington State: 46. With 46 yards receiving against Oregon on Saturday, junior Marquess Wilson will become the school's all-time leading receiver, passing Brandon Gibson (2005-2008). Wilson currently sits at 2,711 yards.
The game comes down to: Washington State's defense. Leach's Air Raid offense is designed to score points and win shootouts, however, winning a shootout with Oregon is going to be nearly impossible. With WSU fielding a defense that's ranked 105th in the nation (471.5 ypg), the Cougars could have some problems slowing down the Ducks, who are ranked fifth nationally in total offense (571 ypg).
Prediction: Oregon 56, Washington State 24