The game that has been circled on the calendars of Oregon Ducks fans all season was the Nov. 3 visit to the USC Trojans. The Ducks escaped Los Angeles with a 62-51 victory, but the question now becomes, what challenges lie ahead on Oregon’s schedule?
Oregon has had a relatively easy road thus far, but with California, Stanford and Oregon State remaining, the competition is set to ramp up as we approach the end of the season.
Who will provide the biggest challenge is up in the air at this point, but if there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that the Ducks must finish strong if they hope to make a splash in the BCS.
Nov. 10 @ California Golden Bears
If there is a single trap game on the Ducks’ schedule this season, it’s Nov. 10 when the team travels to Berkeley, Calif. to take on the California Golden Bears.
Coming off the record-setting performance the team had against the Trojans, spirits are high in Eugene heading into week 11.
If the team gets complacent—or if they start looking ahead to their ranked opponents—it could spell danger for the team looking to make noise at the end of the year.
This matchup has the potential to be one of the biggest upsets of the year in college football, but it also has the chance of becoming one of the biggest beat downs if the Ducks show why they’re one of the best teams that the NCAA has to offer.
Nov. 17 vs. Stanford Cardinal
The Ducks have played some classic games against the Stanford Cardinal in recent memory, which makes it fitting that the two would face off in one of the final games of the regular season.
Stanford’s defense is what has won them games this season. They have the best run defense in the country, and they’re in the top 12 when it comes to points allowed.
This matchup will be a classic battle of offense versus defense, so luckily for the Ducks, they know more than just one way to score.
Kenjon Barner has been the star of the team so far this season, and De’Anthony Thomas has made his impact felt in big-play situations, but Marcus Mariota is the one who gives the team balance in both the passing and rushing game.
The Ducks will look to utilize both aspects of their offense against the Cardinal, and they’ll also have home-field advantage when this game finally rolls around.
Nov. 24 @ Oregon State Beavers
The Oregon State Beavers have had a magical season, and in all likelihood, this game will decide which team plays in the Pac-12 championship come Nov. 30.
Who would have thought when the season began that the Beavers would be where they are today, but it’s possible that when this game is finally upon us, they could not only spoil Oregon’s BCS aspirations, but they could launch themselves into the conference title game with one of the biggest wins in program history.
Like Stanford, Oregon State has found success with their defense this year.
They’re top 5 when it comes to stopping the run, and that will certainly give the Ducks trouble when they face off.
Where Oregon has the advantage is on the offensive end. OSU has proven to be a great team passing the ball this year, but those passing yards have yet to translate to points on a regular basis.
The Ducks are the No. 1 scoring team in the country, which is going to make it tough for the Beavers to keep up.
What Comes Next?
If the Ducks drop any of the aforementioned games, they still have a chance at playing in the conference championship. The odds, of course, decrease if that is the case, but this Ducks team has done enough damage to keep themselves involved in the postseason hunt whether or not they finish with a 12-0 record.
However, if Oregon can win out and take an undefeated record into the Pac-12 championship, they’ll have their eyes on the BCS National Championship.
This season has the potential to end in a very special way for the Ducks, but it’s going to take perfection to make it happen.