The plan for the Oregon Ducks is simple, finish undefeated and don’t put your destiny in another team’s hands. While the theory sounds easy, the actual task, however, will be the most difficult any team has to face for the remainder of the season. The Ducks kept finding themselves moving back in the BCS rankings because the lack of strength in their schedule, but the have now came to a point in their season where if they win the remaining games, they will secure their place in the national championship.
It won’t be easy as they will face potentially three ranked teams, the Oregon State Beavers, Stanford Cardinal and depending on how the race in the Pac-12 South turns out, they will take on either the UCLA Bruins or USC Trojans in the Pac-12 Championship. The pollsters love the Ducks, but the computers have a different opinion on the quack-attack. The difference they face in the human element and the computers is irrelevant at this point because once they reach the conclusion of the regular season they will have played a more difficult schedule than the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Oregon has been able to maintain a level of perfection on the offensive side of the ball and up until the game against the Trojans, their defense was equally dominant when their lead was within 28 points. The BCS Championship is within reach and if they win out, they’re in, but can they sustain the perfection?
Not only are the opponents the toughest they’ve faced all year, but the injuries on defense are starting to pile up. The recent news of Avery Patterson‘s season being over due to a torn ACL is yet another blow to this squad that is now facing serious depth issues in the secondary. The Oregonian reported there’s a rumor about De’Anthony Thomas possibly filling in as a corner.
First up for the Ducks is the most physical team they’ve played this season, Stanford. The Cardinal have one of the most physical front seven’s in the nation and now they have consistency at quarterback with Kevin Hogan. Stanford’s defense is ranked 17th nationally in total defense, allowing 4.48 yards per play and is giving up only 320 yards a game. Teams have had minimal, at best, success at running the ball and the pass rush has been equally dominant as they average a little over 4 sacks a game.
The last two meetings has favored the Ducks. Stanford has been able to put points up on Oregon, but couldn’t even slow down the offensive attack from Oregon. The Ducks have owned the Pac-12 the last three years, performing nearly perfect on offense, but this is the year they need to throw nearly perfect out the window and own the nation with a national title. Can they finally break through and claim their spot at the top? This could be their last shot in the Chip Kelly era. The next four games will define their season and Kelly’s tenure.
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