Schedule and Odds
It’s not a big surprise that Oregon is projected to win the Pac-12 and also be in contention for the College Football Playoff. Of course, if they do neither, fans won’t be happy. Even after last year’s 11 wins and dominant Alamo Bowl win, the fans weren’t happy as more is expected from this team. With Marcus Mariota coming in as one of the favorites for the Heisman, there’s no reason this team can’t accomplish its goals in Mark Helfrich’s second season.
Oregon is currently the 3rd choice in the betting action at sportsbook.ag with odds of 7 to 1 to win it all this year.
Mariota’s main goal is to stay healthy this year as he could also be a top pick in next year’s NFL Draft. He tore his MCL late last year and that proved to be the dagger in this offense. Mariota still finished with 40 total TDs, Four INTs, 3,663 passing yards and 715 yards on the ground. He will be without his top two wide outs from a year ago, but this team has loads of talent and guys can easily step in like Keanon Lowe and Dwayne Stanford.
To make matters easier, leading RBs Byron Marshall (1,038 yards, 14 TDs) and Thomas Tyner (711 yards, nine TDs) are both back, which automatically makes this unit just as good as a season ago. The offensive line returns all starters and reportedly bulked up in the offseason, so should be even tougher and stronger. The Ducks have plans to do big things this season.
The defense is another story with only five returning starters and new coordinator Don Pellom (former LB coach) taking over, as Nick Aliotti retired. While this group loses a good amount of talent, plenty of studs can be like All-American cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. They have pieces at every level to lead the unit as well with DE Tony Washington and LB Derrick Malone. The Ducks may not have the best defense in the conference, but they can still clamper down on the weak teams. They just need to step up against teams like UCLA and Stanford, especially on the defensive front.
Oregon gets a real tough early season test against Michigan State in their second Game, but it is at home. Don’t expect a 50-point blowout like most of their other non-Conference Games. This Game will definitely test the lines on each side of the ball, but due to Mariota, they should pull out the win.
Having a road Game at UCLA thrown into their Schedule isn’t exactly what Oregon wanted to see on the Schedule, but if they can win, the better for them in the long run. The Ducks beat the Bruins 42-14 last year, but playing at the Rose Bowl will be something else.
The rest of the road Games for Oregon should all be wins with their other big tests coming in home Games against Washington and Stanford. If all goes well, this team could only be looking at one loss in the regular season, which should put them in the playoff. As usual, expect big blowouts throughout the year.
2014 Oregon Ducks Football Schedule
Aug. 30 vs. South Dakota
Sept. 6 vs. Michigan State
Sept. 13 vs. Wyoming
Sept. 20 at Washington State
Oct. 2 vs. Arizona
Oct. 11 at UCLA
Oct. 18 vs. Washington
Oct. 24 at California
Nov. 1 vs. Stanford
Nov. 8 at Utah
Nov. 22 vs. Colorado
Nov. 29 at Oregon State