Oregon Football: 5 Obstacles the Ducks Must Overcome

Nathan LoweryCorrespondent IJuly 17, 2012

Oregon Football: 5 Obstacles the Ducks Must Overcome

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    Arguably no college football team has been as dominant and consistent as Oregon has the past three season.

    A BCS National Championship Game appearance sandwiched between two Rose Bowl berths and three straight conference titles has shown the success the program has had since Chip Kelly took over as head coach in 2009.

    This season, however, the odds are stacked up against the Ducks in such a way that even I am seriously starting to wonder whether Oregon can win their fourth straight Pac-12/Pac-10 title.

Easy Schedule

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    Someone must have forgotten to tell Oregon that the BCS loves strength of schedule.

    Just look at the rankings from last year and you'll see how they let one-loss Alabama into the BCS National Championship Game based on that.

    The Pac-12 is already seen as a top-heavy and weak conference, so instead of scheduling a competitive non-conference schedule to compensate for that, Oregon decided to go easy.

    Arkansas State, Fresno State and Tennessee Tech.

    You have got to be kidding me.

    The only team I see putting up any sort of a fight is Arkansas State, and even then Oregon should easily be able to defend Autzen Stadium in the opener.

    After that, only one game should give Oregon any worry: USC in Los Angeles.

    The computers and pollsters are already against the Pac-12 and the weak schedule won't help.

Stability of Head Coach

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    Even though Chip Kelly decided not to take the head coaching job in Tampa Bay, I'm going to bet that there is still a little bit of instability in Eugene.

    Chip's courtship by the Buccaneers came out of nowhere, and I doubt that the players aren't feeling a little bit of resentment.

    If Oregon struggles at all, then the media is going to descend on the Ducks like a pack of vultures and make the situation much worse.

Quarterback Competition

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    It was said that a team with two starting quarterbacks really has no starting quarterback.

    Midway through July and we still have no clear favorite in the quarterback competition between Bryan Bennett and Marcus Mariota.

    Bennett shined in the brief action he saw last season, but played poorly in Oregon's spring game.

    If Oregon cannot figure out who it's going to go with, this season could be extremely rocky.


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    Josh Huff is not going to be an answer this season.

    He played poorly last year in his first year as a receiver and then had a run-in with the law earlier this year.

    With him only being a question mark, the only two stable receivers from last year that Oregon has would be De'Anthony Thomas and Colt Lyerla.

    While both are extremely talented players, they cannot be the only ones that Bennett/Mariota can have to throw to.

    Three redshirt freshmen that were highly touted recruits in high school will see the field for the first time this season, so we will have to see what they can provide.

Kenjon Barner's Injury Issues

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    Kenjon Barner has had multiple injuries in his UO career.

    If he goes down for a significant amount of time, then the Ducks are in some serious trouble.

    As good of a player De'Anthony Thomas is, he is best utilized at his "tazer" position, not as an every-down running back.

    Add to that the lack of depth Oregon now has at running back after LaMichael James left for the draft and Tra Carson transferred to Texas A&M, and Oregon's running game is going to suffer.