Oregon Ducks Football: Why the USC Game Is Not Their Most Important
When the Oregon Ducks and USC Trojans tee up the ball on November 3rd, most of the nation believe that they will be witnessing two undefeated teams going head-to-head.
Earlier in the year when the schedules came out, it seemed both the Ducks and Trojans had favorable paths to this game; neither one faces a huge test before this matchup. When they meet, both teams will likely be in the top 10, and this could end up being the game of the year.
With all of that said, though, this is not the most important game of the season for the Ducks.
While beating the Trojans would be a huge victory for Oregon, it is simply not a must-win. With the Ducks playing in the Pac-12 North and the Trojans in the Pac-12 South, a loss to the Trojans would not be ideal but would not prohibit the Ducks from heading to the Pac-12 title game or even the national championship.
Instead of the Trojans being the most important opponent on the schedule, the Ducks' game against Stanford is the one that they need to have.
This year in the Pac-12 North, it appears that there are very few challenges for the division title. Washington State will be better but still not quite there, Washington's defense will still prevent them from being a serious threat, Oregon State will continue to be dreadful, and Cal is always competitive but will struggle to keep up.
The only team left is Stanford.
Despite losing Andrew Luck from last year, the Cardinal still have a power run game to lean on and also a strong defense. Stanford appears to be the only team on the surface with a fighting chance of dethroning Oregon in the Pac-12 North.
Along with being the strongest competitor, Stanford practically gets the entire season to prepare for the Ducks. By the time the two meet in mid November, the Cardinal offense will be used to playing without Luck and will have had time to redefine themselves.
One thing for Duck fans to remember is that there is a difference between the game that you want to win the most and the game that is most important to win. Losing at USC would be a blow to the Ducks but would not stop them from meeting back up with them in the Pac-12 title game or having a shot at the national title.
So sit back, relax and enjoy the Ducks and Trojans at the start of November.
But remember that if you want to see a rematch between these two teams with the conference title on the line, the Ducks must take care of business against Stanford.
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