An 11-2 record and an Alamo Bowl win, at the end of which the Oregon Ducks ranked No. 9 in the nation. This is what is now considered to be a disappointing season in Eugene, OR. This is how far the Ducks have come.
Schedules for 2014 have been recently released, and Oregon’s is favorable to say the least. The season begins with the Ducks hosting FCS school University of South Dakota. Next is a blockbuster matchup against the Rose Bowl champions Michigan State; it will be a battle of high-powered offense against steely defense. The warm-up game is ideal for this early benchmark game.
Next, the Ducks host Wyoming, travel to Pullman, WA to play Washington State, and then try for redemption when Arizona makes the trip north to Autzen Stadium. After traveling to UCLA, Oregon will come upon their first rivalry game against Washington at home. Then, after traveling to Cal, the Ducks will return home to play the last team that beat them in Eugene. The Ducks will be hoping that 2014 is the year where they fix their Stanford problem. The Stanford game will be the matchup that the rest of the season will be measured on.
The Ducks are returning eight starters on offense and five on defense, but are losing three of their four starting defensive backs, save for All-American Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. Yet, it is the return of sensational quarterback Marcus Mariotta that leads the headlines. Even the loss of De’Anthony Thomas was overshadowed by the commitment of the Hawaiian play-caller.
The Ducks will be without long-time defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti, but the promotion of former Oregon linebacker and linebacker coach Don Pellum is a positive one, as the Ducks continue their tradition of promoting from within.
Nothing is set in stone and there is plenty of time before the start of next season, but with a talented recruiting class coming in, the Ducks look to be favorites for the Pac-12 title, as well as a playoff birth at the end of the season.