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2021 Pac-12 Championship Game Pick and Prediction: How to watch Oregon vs. Utah

Here is everything you need to know about the Oregon vs. Utah Pac-12 Championship Game, including how to watch and how each team can win.

The Pac-12 Championship Game features a college football rematch of epic proportion. The Utah Utes knocked the Oregon Ducks out of playoff contention just two weeks ago, so we know Mario Cristobal and Co. will see red in this one. Here is how to watch, NFL Draft prospects to keep an eye on, and how each team can win in the Oregon vs. Utah Pac-12 Championship Game.

Oregon vs. Utah | 2021 Pac-12 Championship Game pick and prediction

  • Spread: Utah -2.5
  • Total: 59.5
  • Moneyline: Utah -135, Oregon +115

Oh, the Pac-12. Every year, the conference somehow finds a way to implode on itself. This year, Oregon dropped the ball against a now 3-9 Stanford team. Had the Ducks won out after that, their playoff hopes would have been nearly secured. However, just two weeks ago, Utah hosted Oregon and made sure they had the worst road trip possible.

Not only did Utah win, but they crushed Oregon’s playoff aspirations in a 38-7 blowout. How will the Ducks respond in the Pac-12 Championship Game, and will the Utes be able to knock off their conference foe twice in one year?

While I love what head coach Kyle Whittingham has done in Salt Lake City, I don’t expect lightning to strike twice. Oregon will learn from their mistakes in the last outing and play this game as if it were their National Championship (which it kind of is). Anthony Brown will hit a few big shots downfield, Travis Dye and the rushing attack will get churning, and the defense will hold Utah to their fewest points scored since Week 4.

Pac-12 Championship Game Pick and Prediction: Oregon 35, Utah 24

Top prospects playing

Kayvon Thibodeaux is one of the most hyped prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft, but plenty of players are hoping to increase their draft stock in the 2021 Pac-12 Championship Game.

Oregon

  • Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE
  • Verone McKinley III, S
  • Mykael Wright, CB
  • Alex Forsyth, C
  • Travis Dye, RB
  • T.J. Bass, OL
  • Popo Aumavae, DT

Utah

  • Devin Lloyd, LB
  • Mika Tafua, EDGE
  • Brant Kuithe, TE
  • Bamidele Olaseni, OT
  • Nick Ford, C
  • Dalton Kincaid, TE
  • Nephi Sewell, LB

Oregon offense vs. Utah defense

These teams are nearly identical. Both can run the ball, are average at best passing it, and own vaunted defenses — although Utah’s coverage gives them the edge. Oregon and Utah have faced off 34 times since 1933, with the Ducks owning a 23-11 advantage. Yet, Whittingham is 3-6 in his tender and Cristobal is 2-2. As a result, we can’t glean much from the history of this contest, though Utah has never won back-to-back contests. What we can look at is how the teams fared in their duel earlier this season.

Utah dominated Oregon in the trenches and set the tone of the game early. Utes QB Cam Rising only completed 10 of 18 passes for 178 yards and no touchdowns or interceptions. While the passing game didn’t play much of a factor, the other two facets were lights out.

The Utes held the Ducks to 22 carries for 63 yards and zero scores on the ground. Additionally, Brown completed just 17 of his 35 passes for 231 yards and 1 TD. On special teams, Oregon kicker Camden Lewis missed both field goals (one was blocked), and Utah punt returner Britain Covey took one of his 2 punt returns for 78 yards and a plunge past the pylon.

This time around, I believe Oregon will pound the rock early and often, with Travis Dye rattling off a few big runs. Utah’s linebacker duo of Devin Lloyd and Nephi Sewell is one of the best in the nation, but even the best have off days.

Anthony Brown vs. Utah secondary

Brown is a dual-threat quarterback that leaves much to be desired. He isn’t nearly dynamic enough as a rusher to torch defenses on the ground, and he isn’t refined enough as a passer to beat teams over the top. Yet, Brown can move Oregon’s offense up and down the field when he is in rhythm.

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He can go for 50+ rushing yards in this one while completing just enough passes to keep the chains moving. Utah’s defense is an outstanding unit, with a stout pass rush that leads the Pac-12 with 37 sacks (11 more than the next closest team). However, their secondary can be exploited, which I believe Brown and his receivers can do — at least a few times.

Utah offense vs. Oregon defense

Have a year, Tavion Thomas. The sophomore RB has rushed for 100+ yards or 2+ TDs in six of his last seven games. Plus, his 18 rushing TDs are more than six teams in the conference this year! TJ Pledger and Micah Bernard have also produced when spelling Thomas, making for a dangerous three-headed backfield.

Rising and the passing attack have largely played second fiddle to the ground game. Even still, Rising has completed 62.8% of his passes for 2,109 yards, 17 TDs, and 3 INTs. He doesn’t turn the ball over, and he can run when necessary, toting the rock 54 times for 346 yards and 5 scores. Brant Kuithe and Dalton Kincaid are impressive weapons at tight end, and Covey can do damage out wide.

Nevertheless, Oregon isn’t going to roll over this time around. Thibodeaux wants to put an explosive performance together, especially after watching Aidan Hutchinson demolish Ohio State last week. Outside of the presumed top-three draft pick, Oregon has LB Noah Sewell, CBs DJ James and CB Mykael Wright (who isn’t having the best season but possesses exceptional talent), and S Verone McKinley III to rely on.

An underrated part of their defense is the interior duo of Brandon Dorlus and Popo Aumavae. They can push the pocket from the inside while also plugging holes against the run. If Thibodeaux and the pass rush can get home, expect the secondary to make plays.

Utah offensive line vs. Oregon front seven

This is the matchup to watch in the Pac-12 Championship Game. Thibodeaux vs. Braeden Daniels and Bamidele Olaseni. Dorlus and Aumavae vs. Nick Ford,
Keaton Bills, and Sataoa Laumea. Both fronts are solid, but Laumea and Bills are weak links that Oregon’s interior can take advantage of. If Thibodeaux can get going early, few tackles can stop him — including NFL-caliber tackles.

Thus, if anyone else can provide some semblance of pressure along the D-line, the Ducks should win this matchup.

How to watch Oregon vs. Utah

  • Start time: Friday, December 3, 8 PM ET
  • Location: Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, NV
  • Channel: ABC
  • Live streams:
    • Youtube TV
    • Hulu + Live TV
    • fuboTV

James Fragoza is a Writer and News Editor at Pro Football Network. You can read his other work here and follow him on Twitter @JamesFragoza.

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