The Exhibition Games are Over
The weakest non-conference schedule for the Oregon Ducks in many years is finally over.
Playing Arkansas St., Fresno St., and Tennessee Tech in consecutive home games failed to challenge or truly test how good these Ducks really are. All games were blowouts early and many backups received playing time in the second halves of each football game.
There are some things I learned about this football team, though. Bryan Bennett, for example, showed me why he’s the backup, lacking a stellar performance when he got the chance to play. It was obvious that Marcus Mariota is the better QB for Oregon at this point, leading the Ducks to 50 first half points against Arkansas St., while Bennett struggled to move the football.
Against Fresno St., Mariota failed to read some blitzes by the Bulldogs defense. He recognized his mistakes in an interview saying he was worried about keeping up the fast pace tempo and failed to recognize the blitz. These things can be fixed and I’m sure will be corrected by the Freshman QB.
The Ducks played undisciplined football against Tennessee Tech getting tagged for 12 penalties at 105 yards. I contribute this to a lack of focus playing a lesser opponent. If the Ducks hurt themselves against top tier football teams like that, the likelihood they run the table in the conference is next to none. The upcoming game against Arizona could come down to who is the more disciplined team.
The field goal kicking game for Oregon continues to struggle. Oregon had a missed field against Ark. St. and a blocked FG against Tennessee Tech. Last year Oregon lost to USC on a last second Field Goal. Am I the only fan worried about the Oregon kicking game? I’d hate to lose another game in such a manner.
Let’s take a look at the Ducks upcoming games in the near future.
Oregon’s Next Three Games
The Arizona Wildcats
For the first time this season the Ducks will take on a ranked opponent. They open conference play this Saturday in Eugene at 7:30 pm on ESPN.
All I can say at this point is, ” It’s about time”.
The weak non-conference play seemed to drag on forever. The No. 22 Arizona Wildcats are playing extremely well under their new head coach Rich Rodriquez. The Wildcats beat Oklahoma St. 59-38 two weeks ago and are very capable of coming into Autzen and upsetting the Ducks.
Considering the Ducks truly are untested against a viable opponent, this game makes me quite nervous. We’ll see if the Ducks are worthy of the #3 spot in the country after this game. The Ducks speed on offense should pose to be too much for the wildcats as they win in an Autzen shootout classic.
Prediction: Oregon 45, Arizona 41.
Washington State Cougars
The Washington St. Cougars will be the Ducks first road game of the year. This should be a complete demolishing of the under-talented cougars. The Cougars barely beat Eastern Washington and UNLV in their last two games.
The Cougars should beat the Colorado Buffaloes this week only because the Buffaloes are the worst team in the conference and quite possibly one of the worst in the country. I’m sure the Cougars will feel better about themselves moving to 3-1 the week of the Oregon game.
However, that’ll quickly go on the way side after the Ducks put up 63 points on them in the first 3 quarters of football.
Prediction: Oregon 63, Washington St. 13
The Washington Huskies are a middle-tier team in the Pac-12 conference. Their only wins are against San Diego State and Portland State.
The road doesnt get any easier for them either.
The Huskies are off this week then play #9 Stanford, who’s defense looks amazing. Washington will follow their contest against Stanford with a road game in Eugene.
Schedule makers didn’t do the Huskies any favors there.
This is a game I’m personally waiting for. I will be attending my first Ducks home game since 2007 when the Ducks lost to Cal for a College Gameday event.
The Huskies game is a rival game for the Ducks and should be a great event.
The Huskies are still a work in progress and won’t be a winning team the week of the Oregon game.
Washington will lose to Stanford and Oregon in back to back games and move to 2-3 on the season at that point.
The Huskies need more offensive weapons on this team in order for them to compete with the top tier programs in the conference.
Prediction: Oregon 51, Washington 24.