Oregon Football: Who Can Stop the Ducks? Odds for Rest of Season
Mike Leach and his guys couldn't do it.
Rich Rodriguez and his team, same thing.
Five games, five wins for the high-flyin' Ducks. Despite sometimes sluggish starts and erratic play from some key positions, Oregon seems to be able to do whatever it takes to get the W. The Ducks start Pac-12 play right where they left off in 2011 and are tied for the lead in the North Division.
The three-time Pac-12 Conference champions are the king until someone dethrones them. Is there anyone out there who can stop them this year? Any team who can put a stake through the Ducks' heart?
Washington Huskies: Oct. 6 at Autzen
Joe Nicholson-US PRESSWIRE
Fresh off their shocking win over Stanford, and with an extra two days to prepare for the Ducks, can the Huskies come in to Autzen Stadium next weekend and score another upset?
While there is no question that Washington is an improved team in 2012, it still isn't on par talent and depth-wise with Oregon. Justin Wilcox has the Huskies playing better defense, but their offense is not clicking.
Keith Price needed to have a great year to make up for the loss of Chris Polk and he's simply not doing that. Price is currently ranked 103rd among Division 1A quarterbacks with a dismal 59.1 completion percentage.
Price has thrown only five touchdown passes against two interceptions and the poor guy has been sacked 11 times. You think Dion Jordan and Michael Clay aren't drooling at that number?
Maybe the Huskies can slow down Oregon's running game the way they put the hammer to Stepfan Taylor—although I wouldn't bet the farm on that if I were you.
If Washington can disrupt Kenjon Barner & co., look for Josh Huff, Colt Lyerla, Keanon Lowe and Bralon Addison to have big nights.
Too many weapons. Oregon 35, Washington 7.
Arizona State: Oct. 18 at Tempe
Ed Szczepanski-US PRESSWIRE
Back in the spring, this game looked like a good opportunity for Duck fans to have a few margaritas and enjoy a fun couple of days in the desert.
This game looks a little edgier now.
Arizona State improved to 4-1 and 2-0 in the Pac-12 Conference after beating Cal at Berkeley on Saturday. While that win didn't particularly surprise, the play of Sun Devils' quarterback Taylor Kelly does continue to surprise. After five games, Kelly is the leading Pac-12 QB and holds down the No. 15 spot nationally, according to ESPN.com's quarterback passing statistics.
New head coach Todd Graham has ASU believing in themselves, and even getting some votes from national poll voters. The schedule for the Sun Devils is favorable too: they are off next Saturday and then face Colorado in a televised night game on Oct. 11 before their meeting with the Ducks in Tempe.
All that bodes well for ASU, right?
Not so fast, my friends. Oregon's bye week comes after the Washington game and before the trip to Tempe, which means the Ducks have 12 days to prepare for the duel in the desert. Giving Chip Kelly 12 days to prepare almost feels like an unfair advantage.
Arizona State will keep it close in the first half, but Oregon will blow it wide open in the third quarter.
Oregon 49, Arizona State 24.
Colorado: Oct. 27 in Eugene
Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE
In the bad old days, Oregon often lost to Colorado. But this year will not see the Buffaloes stopping the Ducks' run.
If Colorado wins this game, I will eat my laptop.
Oregon 56, Colorado 10
USC: Nov. 3 in Los Angeles
Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE
Many Duck fans have already written off the Trojans after their shaky start, posting a W next to this game.
Those fans don't understand much about college football. Five weeks is an eternity in the college game and much can, and probably will, happen during that time frame.
USC had a bye week at the perfect time last weekend to allow them to get back to basics and regroup. The Trojans' schedule between now and Nov. 3 is favorable, with only the trip to Washington on Oct. 13 looming as potential trouble.
If the Ducks remain undefeated and USC has only the one loss to Stanford, how motivated do you suppose the Trojans will be to knock off the Ducks?
Yeah, fairly motivated.
Let's hold off predicting a score for this one just yet. Let's wait and see how issues like injuries, national polls and Heisman chatter evolve during the next few weeks.
I'll get back to you.
California Golden Bears: Nov. 10 in Berkeley
Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE
Everyone who thinks Jeff Tedford will still be the head coach at Cal on Nov. 10 raise your hand.
Wow, more of you than I thought.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but Tedford will be gone by the time the Ducks hit town. Anyone can see that the Golden Bears' program is headed in decidedly the wrong direction.
They do not have a chance to make a bowl game this season and it will finally become too much for AD Sandy Barbour, who has demonstrated the patience of a saint.
Once Tedford's gone, the team may experience a slight renaissance, but it will be short-lived. In any event, the Bears will be no match for the Ducks if Oregon survives the USC game and is within sight of the prize.
Oregon 52, California 0
Stanford Cardinal: Nov. 17 in Eugene
Joe Nicholson-US PRESSWIRE
This one's going be fun, Duck fans. Nothing like a cold, dark, rainy 7:30 pm Autzen kickoff in November.
You might just as well head to Columbia Sportswear right now and buy that warm, waterproof parka because the Ducks are 10-0 and ESPN wants in on that action.
With only two teams left that can legitimately derail Oregon's bid, by Nov. 17 the noose might be tightening just a bit.
Currently, this Stanford team is a mystery. Are they really a Top 25 team? Was the game in Seattle a hiccup, or bad woo-woo from the Packers vs. Seahawks debacle at Century Link Field a few days prior?
Did Stepfan Taylor just have an uncomfortable night, or is Washington's defense that much improved?
Lots of questions, but I'm not sure the answers matter. Oregon has more depth, more poise, more all-around talent and better coaching. They will win this game at home in front of a delirious crowd whose fingers are itching to book air travel to Miami in January.
Oregon 31, Stanford 10.
Oregon State Beavers: Nov. 24 in Corvallis
Rick Scuteri-US PRESSWIRE
How 'bout those Beavs'?!?
Unless you are a complete curmudgeon, you have to be happy for Mike Riley and his Oregon State team. That happiness, however, will not extend much past Nov. 17 for Duck fans.
While it's unlikely that both the Ducks and the Beavers will be undefeated as they sit down to Thanksgiving dinner on Nov. 22, stranger things have happened.
All we know for sure right now is that there are only two undefeated teams in the Pac-12 Conference and they both reside in Oregon's Willamette Valley.
Reser Stadium will be rocking and this will be smashmouth football at its very best. While I am, to quote Lee Corso on Saturday's College GameDay, "drinking the orange and black Kool-aid," Oregon will not let the Beavers get in the way of a potential return to the BCS National Championship game.
No matter how nice Mike Riley is, it's Oregon 35, Oregon State 28.
12-0: Now What?
James Snook-US PRESSWIRE
The regular season is over and the king has not yet been toppled.
Whadda ya got, South Division? The Pac-12 Championship game is in Eugene...again. Does the South have a valid challenger this year? Maybe a team that's not under sanctions? Maybe a team from the Southwest desert?
Can anyone stop the Ducks? Oregon fans have to like the odds.