By Matt Heinz @MattHeinz_Rant on August 10, 2014
The Oregon Ducks are the preseason No. 4 team in the country in 2014. They also have the ultra quick Heisman candidate Marcus Mariota back to play quarterback. Many people are picking the Ducks to win the Pac-12 and participate in the first ever College Football Playoff. Let's take a game by game look at their 2014 schedule with my predictions.
South Dakota will provide Oregon with a nice warm up game to open up the 2014 season. Mariota will get to start padding his stats for his Heisman campaign. If the Ducks really wanted to, they could probably put up 150 points in this one. Oregon beats South Dakota worse than the Seahawks beat the Broncos in last year's Super Bowl.
The Spartans come to Autzen Stadium riding an 11 game winning streak. In what is one of the best non-conference games of 2014, the Ducks will pull away late in the fourth quarter. The speed of Oregon's backfield is too much for the physical Spartan defense as Mariota, Byron Marshall and Thomas Tyner run wild. Oregon wins by 10.
Wyoming went 5-7 in 2013 and is extremely outmatched in this game. Oregon's scout team could beat the Cowboys easily in this one. Mariota puts up huge first half numbers and wears a baseball cap the entire second half. True freshman Jalen Brown gets his chance to show the Duck crowd his glue-like hands for the first time.
The Ducks' first road game comes against up and coming Washington State and Mike Leach's air-raid offense. Luckily for the Ducks, they have the nation's best corner in Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. Connor Halliday will keep the Cougars competitive in this game until the third quarter. The Ducks talent and speed are too much to overcome for the Cougars. Oregon wins by 24.
Arizona pulled off one of college football's biggest upsets last season when they beat the Ducks 42-16. Coach Mark Helfrich will have his team ready to go this time as the Ducks will run all over the Wildcats. The first of two revenge games for the Ducks will result in a 28 point victory.
The biggest road test of the year for the Ducks will be traveling to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Both teams should be ranked in the top 10 and College Gameday will probably be at this matchup. Brett Hundley and Myles Jack will present big problems but ultimately don't have enough play-makers around them to pull out the win.
Chris Peterson brings his Husky team to Autzen Stadium looking for an upset but won't get it. Washington returns its entire defensive front seven from last season but none are quick enough to chase down Oregon's backfield. Having seven returning front seven starters is also misleading when you consider Washington was 60th in national rush defense last season. Ducks win by at least two scores.
Mariota will get another chance to improve his stats for his Heisman run playing against the lowly Cal Bears. Cal's biggest goal for this game should be to sellout the new home of the 49ers so it can make money off of this blowout victory for Oregon. Cal has zero chance in this one.
The real Pac-12 Championship Game in 2014 will be played in Autzen Stadium on November 1. Whoever wins this game will beat the Pac-12 South champion. While Oregon has more talent and speed, Stanford has better coaching and more strength. Stanford wins on a last second field goal in this one. Duck players walk off the field looking like all of their girlfriends just dumped them.
The Utes just simply don't have near the amount of talent to compete with the Ducks. Utah has struggled ever since joining the conference and will get pummeled in this one. Utah is usually good for one upset a year but it won't happen here. Oregon wins by 24.
The Buffaloes will be improved in 2014 but will be out of this game by the middle of the second quarter. With their bowl hopes gone, Colorado will wave the white flag in this game. Mariota again will continue to add to his already impressive Heisman resume but will be on the sideline by the fourth quarter.
Last years Civil War game came down to the wire. Oregon and Mariota needed a last second touchdown catch by Josh Huff to put away the Beavers. With the Pac-12 North already clinched by Stanford, Oregon still has hopes of making the first ever playoff. Oregon State and record breaking quarterback Sean Mannion take the Ducks to the last play again but Oregon escapes with a close victory.
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