Welcome to the final week of Pick Six, a weekly column where the RTI team plus a weekly guest picker call their shots on six games.
Daniel, Reed and Guest picker Wes Boling led the way at 3-3 last week while Houston went 2-4. For the year, Daniel is 52-32, Reed is 47-27, Houston is 45-39, our guest pickers are 45-39 and Vegas favorites are 49-35.
No. 7 Arizona vs No. 2 Oregon (-15.5) 9 pm Friday FOX
Daniel: This was almost a play-in game for the playoffs, but two close, frustrating losses to USC and UCLA in the middle of the season put the Wildcats on the outside looking in for now. Had they won one of those, this game takes on a whole different meaning. Oregon, however, still has a spot in the College Football Playoffs riding on this one – win and they’re in. Arizona pulled off the stunner against the Ducks earlier this season, but I just don’t think they can do it again. I like Marcus Mariota to put up big numbers against the No. 9 defense in the Pac 12 and for Oregon’s defense to do just enough to get the Ducks the win and send them to the playoffs. Winner: Oregon 41-38
Houston: It is really hard to beat Oregon once during a season – as Arizona did in October. But it’s even tougher to beat the Ducks twice. I think that Marcus Mariota and the rest of Oregon’s offense will prove to be too much for Arizona in this game, and I expect them to lock up their spot in the College Football Playoff. This one should be close for a half, but look for Oregon to open it up in the 3rd and 4th quarters. Winner: Oregon 37-24
Reed: The Ducks straightened out their offensive line issues and should finally beat a Wildcat team that has been a thorn in its side. This one could be close, but I like Mariota’s ability to make enough plays to win this one behind his improved offensive line. Winner: Ducks 34-28
Richard: Oregon QB Marcus Mariota has played in 38 college football games. He has only lost 4 times, and two of those losses were to Arizona. He lost to Arizona last year, and earlier this year. The Wildcats were able to force Mariota into some uncharacteristic turnovers. In their meeting earlier this year, the Ducks offensive line was extremely banged up. That allowed Arizona to get significant pressure on Mariota.
Since its loss to Arizona in Week 6, Oregon is 7-0 and winning by an average margin of 24 points per game. The Ducks offensive line enters this game in much better shape, and should be able to allow Mariota to make plays. Oregon will be extremely motivated. It is tough to beat a good team three straight times, and Arizona will not be able to do it. Winner: Oregon 42-28