Living in Husky-land, I’m subjected to 24-7 non-stop Washington Huskies coverage. This past weekends opponent was #1 Oregon, so it was a great chance to scout a potential BCS Championship entrant.
All week before and after the game, I listened to experts and analysts talk about Oregon as a 2nd-half offensive team. That they start slow and finish strong, piling on the points at the end of games to bury teams. It seemed to be true-enough when Oregon was shut-out in the 1st quarter versus Washington. I wondered, is this really true for the season so far?
I looked at the 7 Oregon games versus BCS opponents to look for trends.
Scoring by Quarter
Oregon does start slow, scoring on average only 8 points in the 1st quarter. But they quickly right the ship in the 2nd quarter, scoring 16 points on average, the most of any quarter. When the 2 halves are compared, Oregon’s scoring is balanced: 25 points per half.
Oregon is clearly not a 2nd-half offensive team. If anything they’re a “middle-half” team.
Defense is a different story. On average, Oregon gives up 8 points in each of the first two quarters, and then doesn’t even give up 8 points in the 2nd half. It’s Oregon’s defense that turns it on in the 2nd half, not the offense.
What does this mean for Oregon’s chances of making it to the BCS Championship? Watch the first half of their games. Opponents will need to build a lead early to have any chance against Oregon.
All three of Oregon’s upcoming games have upset potential. Cal (next week on the road) and #13 Arizona (in 2 weeks) in particular will be fun to watch. Both teams have found much success when scoring early, while failing to put up many points in the 1st half has led to their losses. It will be even more important to score points early versus the BCS #1 who tends to have a porous defense in the first half.