NCAA Team Preview: Oregon Ducks

The Oregon Ducks bring back the second best offense in college football from a season ago. The Ducks have 9 really good starters returning on the offensive side, and many are calling this Oregon team, led by head coach Mark Helfrich one of the most lethal of all time in Eugene. The Ducks lost DeAnthony Thomas to the NFL, one of their top offensive threats from a season ago, but no one in Eugene is too concerned about having enough firepower to replace him. The Ducks are certainly the favorite to win the Pac Ten, and if they do, they should certainly be playing among the final four for a national title.

Last year Marcus Mariota was unbelievable for the Ducks. The quarterback threw for over 3,600 yards and 31 touchdowns. He was able to run the football effectively as well, and when he didn’t, his teammates were running like crazy. The Ducks used Josh Huff and Bralon Addison for a combination of 18 receiving touchdowns a season ago. Oregon passed for 291.5 yards per game and rushed for an additional 273.5.

One of the biggest question marks for the Oregon Ducks comes on the defensive side. There is not a person that knows college football in the country that will doubt the offense. But the front 7 especially is a concern. Can the Ducks slow down a ground and pound running team like possibly Stanford will do to them? There is no real big All Star like talent there. Guys like DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead and Tony Washington are among six returning starters for Oregon. The Ducks were a pretty solid team a season ago on the defense side; ranking 13th in the nation, allowing just over 20 points per game. Oregon has to have a flaw, and the only remote part would be the defense.

The Ducks schedule starts with three home games. While the opener is a little bit of a cupcake, the middle game is a huge test early on. South Dakota and Wyoming are on the bookends of a Michigan State affair that is certain to be one of the best in college football during that week. On September 20th, Oregon is at Washington State, followed by an off week and then a home game against Arizona. On October 11th, the Ducks head to UCLA, which will certainly be another big time test, the biggest in the Pac-Ten possibly. After that, Oregon will face Washington at home, travel to California, come home to face Stanford, followed by a trip to Utah. Fortunately, the toughest opponents are all played in Eugene. Then, the final two games for Oregon include a home game with Colorado, and a trip to rival Oregon State.

A season ago Oregon lost their first game on November 7th at Stanford. While that put them in a tough position to fight back for a national title appearance, the blowout loss on November 23rd to Arizona put the end to it. Oregon then went on to beat Texas 30-7 in the Alamo Bowl to finish up 11-2.

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