So, De'Anthony Thomas won't play against Colorado, 3 p.m. Saturday at Boulder, Colo. (Pac-12 Networks)? Two thoughts:
Doesn't matter. The Ducks' second-team units could maybe compete with Colorado. Barring a severe injury to quarterback Marcus Mariota, the Ducks will win by 30-plus points.
It's funny that Thomas can basically sit feet away from coach Mark Helfrich in the fancy University of Oregon media room, and Thomas talks about his injured ankle and Helfrich adheres to the program's strict policy of not talking about injuries and remains mum. Then, a few days later, Thomas meets with the media and talks about his sprained ankle, and so does position coach Gary Campbell. The same thing happened two years ago when LaMichael James injured his elbow against Cal, talked with the media more than once about it, and then-coach Chip Kelly remained mum.
It's a moot point, as Thomas will likely rest and get ready for the Ducks' big game at Washington on Oct. 12, at which time the Huskies will likely know what kept him out of the Colorado game and ... target him? It's crass to write, yes, but it's one of the reasons why UO head coaches say they have not talked about injuries targeting of injured parts.
But, I digress. The Ducks (4-0) are cruising along, getting everybody involved on offense even tight end Colt Lyerla, who still drops balls and they look really, really good. Byron Marshall and Thomas Tyner are improving as running backs, and Mariota has an array of targets to choose from like Josh Huff and Bralon Addison and his own legs to get out of danger. He's playing at Heisman Trophy-winning level. The defense has given up 43 points in four games, flush with speed and depth.
The Buffaloes (2-1) are getting better and will continue to get better with coach Mike MacIntyre. Receiver Paul Richardson (26 receptions, 487 yards, five TDs) ranks among the Pac-12's best, and young QB Connor Wood (60.3 percent completion, 887 yards, 8 TDs) has given Colorado some hope. But the Buffs average only 3.2 yards per carry, with no rushing touchdowns. Ouch.
Colorado looked good in beating Colorado State and Central Arkansas, and awful against Oregon State (losing 44-17, with 540 yards offense against). Just think what a poppin' Oregon offense can do against the Buffs' defense.
So, it'll be Oregon's fifth consecutive blowout, and won't do much to tell us how good the Ducks will be in 2013. The big games are upcoming: Washington, UCLA and Stanford, and perhaps challenges at Arizona and against Oregon State. Playing Colorado, no matter how loose the Buffaloes play, serves as more warmup.
THE PICK: Oregon 48, Colorado 13