One team has three victories over extremely over matched foes. The other has played just one game, against a perennial top-10 team.
Both teams enter week four of the season undefeated.
Those teams, Oregon and Oregon State respectively, begin conference play with radically different starts to their season, but both brimming with confidence.
Oregon State, after an opening game cancellation versus Nichol State, defeated Wisconsin to start the season, then faced an unfortunately timed bye week. They head to the Rose Bowl to face #19 UCLA Saturday.
The Beavers, out to prove that the Wisconsin game was not a fluke, appear ready to hit someone other than a teammate. Mike Riley, for one, is ready.
“This is going to be a big challenge. I thought Wisconsin had a big (defensive) front, and UCLA has the same.”
Oregon State, just outside the top-25 last week, can make an early statement this season by knocking off their second consecutive ranked opponent.
Oregon, 3-0 after wins over Arkansas State, Fresno State and Tennessee Tech, welcome in the Arizona Wildcats to Eugene. This will be a fun battle between two spread option coaches. Rich Rodriguez, in his first year at Arizona, was somewhat of a mentor to Chip Kelly when the two coaches were assistants at previous schools.
Fans looking for a clash of styles need to look elsewhere, as Arizona and Oregon practically mirror each other.
“I think philosophically, Chip is probably the closest to what we believe in offensively and how to go about it than anyone else out there.” Said Rodriguez.
Oregon, breaking in their new freshman quarterback, will be looking to improve to 38-6 under Chip Kelly, and begins it’s quest for a fourth straight conference championship.
After Stanford’s upset victory over USC last Saturday, the Pac-12 appears to be a bit more complicated than most thought. An Oregon-USC showdown on November 3rd was presumed to be a semi-final before the two met up again in the conference championship game.
Not so fast, my friend.
Stanford, led by second year coach David Shaw, is out to prove that they were more than just Andrew Luck, the overall number one pick in this year’s NFL draft.
UCLA, Arizona State, Oregon State and Arizona all seem to be markedly improved over last season, when Oregon practically slept through their conference schedule until they faced USC. Do that again this year, and things could get ugly.
For both Oregon and Oregon State, victories on Saturday could propel them to big things.
One school has been there. One is trying to catch up.