Despite Chip Kelly's departure for the NFL, Oregon Football is going to be very much in the National Championship picture.
New coach Mark Helfrich will see if he can change the Oregon stigma. The Oregon stigma you ask? Oregon plays lights out at Autzen Stadium and will roll over many weaker teams on the road. Helfrich's task will be to get his team to endeavor to persevere in these tough conference road games.
In recent years, however, the Ducks have seemed to lose crucial games on the road to decent Pac 12 opponents, like Stanford.
It seems like we talk about Oregon football as the class of the Pac 12 each season and then they go into Beaverton and lose, or into Stanford and lose.
Sophomore QB Marcus Mariota will be in the Heisman picture and will lead a high powered offense. Can the Ducks get over the proverbial hump in 2013 and make it back to the title game? Find out in a few short paragraphs.
8/31 VS Nicholls State Colonels: Nicholls State is an FCS school out of Thibodaux, Louisiana. The Colonels only won one game last season and were crushed by Oregon State 77-3.
They are apt to get embarrassed in the same way by the Ducks this season. This is a gimme game if I have ever seen one.
Oregon fans should get to see last years number one high school running back recruit and Oregon native Thomas Tyner play in this one.
Oregon wins a sleeper 77-7 Oregon
9/7 at University of Virginia Cavaliers: The only thing UVA has going for them in this game is a passing attack that ranked 35th overall in 2012. Although they return a lot of starters from that team, the Cavs only won 5 games last season.
This will be a tougher game for Oregon than Nicholls state, but UVA's passing attack plays into Oregon's strength on a defense led by Ifo Ekpre-Olomu.
Ducks win big 45-14 Oregon
9/14 VS University of Tennessee Volunteers:It is great to see an SEC team come to the west coach and match thier mettle against PAC 12 competition.
Tennessee is a few years away from being an elite SEC team again. They are big and strong on the defensive and offensive lines, but the Ducks have too much speed for the Vols.
Tennessee can't hang in this one 35-7 Oregon
9/28 VS California University Bears: Cal is going to surprise some teams this year. They are led by new coach Sonny Dykes who will lean heavily on RB Brenden Bigelow.
This game may start slow as both teams will feel each other out and need a little time to warm up. Between the Autzen faithful and Oregon's speed, the Ducks defeat Cal 28-14 Oregon
10/5 at University of Colorado Buffaloes: ZZZZZ The Buffs haven't really been relevant since Kordell Stewart. It seems to be that CU has become a PAC12 doormat in recent years. Never say never, but you can pretty much pencil this one in for the Ducks 65-3 Oregon
10/12 at University of Washington Huskies: This will be Oregon's first real test of the year. They go on the road to face a much improved Huskie team playing in a new stadium. The Huskies have a pretty good QB in Keith Price with a complement of offensive weapons.
I don't think this is a blowout win for Oregon, but I think the Ducks evenutally wear down Washington with speed. 42-35 Oregon
10/19 VS Washington State University Cougers: I stated in the open that Oregon has one or two games every year where they seem to lay down for opponents. They also seem to have one or two games where thier offense is firing on all cylinders.
Washington State gave the Ducks a test on the road in 2012, but the Cougars will be overwhelmed by Mariota and the Ducks in this one. 70-10 Oregon
10/26 VS University of California Los Angeles Bruins: UCLA is good----Really good. They have a good QB with Brett Hundley and a solid defense with stars like Eric Kendricks that will give Oregon fits.
The trouble with UCLA is that they are young and inexperienced in the defensive secondary. Oregon fans should expect a reality check in this one. UCLA will play tough until the final quarter. This one will be close, but the Ducks pull it out at home. 45-38 Oregon
11/7 at University of Stanford Cardinal: This is going to be a really, really good game. Clear your Thursday evening because this could be a Top 10 or even Top 5 matchup.
Stanford has a quick and agressive defense and the ability to match score for score with Oregon. This is going to be the only exceptional test for Oregon this year as both teams are very close in terms of talent.
Mariota better watch some tape, because Stanford will throw the kitchen sink and cabinets at him.This game is really a coin flip and to close to call. Duck fans, although I think you are a better team in talent--I don't think Oregon overcomes the aforementioned stigma. This game is won in a shootout. 45-42 Stanford
11/16 VS University of Utah Utes: This will be a "Welcome to the big leagues, Kid" type of game for the Utes.
Oregon takes out thier Stanford frustration on Utah at home. 63-10 Oregon
11/23 at University of Arizon Wildcats: Rich Rodriguez will have the 'Cats ready to play. Arizona has a defense that wont be easy to push around to go along with a pretty good passing attack. (Provided they find the right QB in camp).
Because Arizona has improved, this game will probably be closer than some of the Ducks faithful would like but Oregon makes some plays late and still wins by 14. 42-28 Oregon
11/29 VS Oregon State University Beavers: The Civil War games are usually classics with the home team usually riding the crowd factor to victory. If Oregon defies my prediction and beats Stanford, this will be thier shot at a 2nd perfect season in four years and a possible national title bid.
Winning against OSU won't be easy. These teams know each other inside and out. The Beavers have a tough and gritty defense and are led by Storm Woods on the offensive side of the ball.
As always, this will be a tough back-and-forth contest, but Oregon is to talented this year to lose to Oregon State at home ESPECIALLY if they have an undefeated season on the line. 45-38 Oregon
The Ducks are going to have a great year. 11-1 or 12-0 is something to be proud of. If the Ducks can get past Stanford, the only other thing they have to figure out is which uniform combination to wear in the national title game. If they lose to Stanford, I'm still betting on possible BCS bowl game depending on how the records shake out.