The Ducks finished second last year and Al Dannity has them just a little bit lower in 2011. With the bulk of last year’s BCS title game team back, the Ducks look poised for a third straight year in a big bowl.
The schedule The Ducks start 2011 with a bang as they take on LSU at Cowboys’ Stadium in Arlington. This is unquestionably the biggest game of the opening weekend and arguably the biggest non-conference match-up of the entire season. It’s not just about SEC vs. Pac-12. It’s the Willie Lyles Classic, with both programs feeling the fallout of the Lyles recruiting affair. There’s the added intrigue of LSU losing key offensive players ahead of this game. Quite simply, if Oregon don’t win then they have no hope of returning to the national title game.
The full conference slate offers plenty to salivate over. A tricky test at Arizona and a home date with everyone’s sleeper, Arizona State, will tell us plenty about these Ducks. Then there’s the small matter of the trip to Stanford Stadium in November, before rounding off the season with big home games against USC and Oregon State.
The players With 12 returning starters, the Ducks aren’t as loaded as some contenders but retain the core of the team that lost to Auburn on a last second field goal in January. Darron Thomas leads the most exciting offense in the nation, ably assisted by LaMichael James, Kenjon Barner, and David Paulson. Crucially the Ducks retain 3 offensive lineman, providing Thomas with reliable protection in his sophomore season. Defensively the biggest name for College Football betting fans to watch is Cliff Harris. The cornerback leads a quality secondary that should aid the Ducks against a schedule with no shortage of strong quarterbacks.
The forecast Perfection is what the Ducks need to make it to the BCS National Championship Game and it’s well within reach. Oregon went 12-0 last year before falling to the Tigers. The added Pac-12 title game means they will have to win 13 games to make it to the big one. The two most crucial games are undoubtedly the match-ups with LSU and Stanford. If Oregon can beat the Tigers and the Cardinal, which I believe they will, then the Ducks should do enough to ensure perfection. After that it will be in the hands of the voters and computers. It’s hard to see anyone denying Oregon a second bite at the cherry but sealing the deal if they get there could prove another matter altogether.