With the Oregon Ducks annual Spring Game just weeks away, it is time to dive into the 2013 regular season and find out who poses the biggest threat to the Ducks run at another BCS National Championship birth.
I foresee the Ducks easily beating those opponents, allowing them to enter conference play with an undefeated record.
The Pac-12 has quickly become one of the toughest conferences in the NCAA, making Oregon’s run to perfection very difficult. Over the past three seasons, the Ducks have lost four total games; two to SEC teams and two to Pac-12 teams — showing the nation the growing success the Pac-12 has had over the past few years.
Oregon’s home Pac-12 schedule includes: California, Washington State, UCLA, Utah and Oregon State. These are all games that the Ducks are going to win — it’s when they go on the road that the outcomes start to become more and more unpredictable.
It’s the Nov. 7 matchup in Stanford, Calif. against the Stanford Cardinals that is going to be the toughest game on Oregon’s schedule this season.
Over the past four years, the Cardinal and the Ducks have split their regular season meetings. The most recent matchup had Stanford beating the Ducks in Eugene, Ore.; costing them a chance at the National Championship.
Oregon had a tough go against Stanford’s defense last season, as the Cardinal possessed one of the best defenses in the entire NCAA. Their team had the speed and strength to match up with Oregon, taking the Ducks out of their element and forcing them to try and win via field goals.
Stanford only lost five defensive players to graduation, so their defense should be just as fierce and troublesome for Oregon as it was before.
The Cardinal have progressed immensely over the course of the past two seasons under Head Coach David Shaw, most impressively winning the Rose Bowl against Wisconsin this past season.
With sophomore Quarterback Kevin Hogan poised to start the season the same way he finished last season, once gaining the starting job in the ninth game, Stanford looks more dangerous than ever.
If Oregon wants a shot at another perfect season and to go back to the National Championship, they’re going to have to go thru the Stanford Cardinal.