Ifo Ekpre-Olomu is one of the best defensive backs in the country
Do you ever sit back and dream about what it might be like to watch the Oregon Ducks face off with some of the best teams in the country outside the Pac-12 conference?
Maybe it's not even the best teams, but rather a few dream matchups that would have the entire college football world drooling.
Sure, fans can look forward each season to the Civil War, the game against the hated Washington Huskies and the tumble with powerhouse Stanford. But sometimes (as you might create for yourself in a video game) it's fun to imagine a schedule where Oregon gets to play teams from across the country.
For the purposes of this slideshow, we're imagining matchups as they would play out today. In 1940, you'd love to see the Ducks take on Army, but that game wouldn't raise many eyebrows in 2013.
Taking into account both the strength of the opponent and the type of game that would play out, here are the five teams we would love to see the Ducks play.
When you're through finding out which games I'd like to see, let's hear the ones you like to envision!
Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd
Out of all of the great teams in college football today, why pick Clemson?
Well, for one, the two teams have never met, which would make it fun for each fanbase to learn a little bit about the other's program. Second, Duck fans have a natural hatred for the color orange, right?
But in all seriousness, this game would be awesome and you know it. Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd is one of the best in the country, having thrown for nearly 4,000 yards and 36 touchdowns last season.
The offense plays fast, frenetic football, and it has resulted in some of the Tigers' best teams over the past couple of seasons. Couple that with the way the Ducks like to get up and down the field and, well, you have one heck of an entertaining football game.
Both fanbases are passionate, and each team has one of the best home-field advantages in sports. Duck fans are treated to the mascot on a motorcycle before each game, and Tiger fans get to see their team touch Howard's Rock, one of the coolest traditions in college sports.
Both Oregon and Clemson will have great teams in 2013, and the chips would have to fall in exactly the right order for this game to occur, but it sure is fun to think about.
Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater
Not too many people around the country were aware of just how good the Louisville Cardinals were until Teddy Bridgewater and company smoked the Florida Gators in the Sugar Bowl.
Louisville is the new kid on the block, having had a few high points over the past decade but only really belonging in the elite conversation at the end of last season and heading into this next one.
The team is led by all-everything quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, an elite talent whose best attribute may be his poise and confidence under pressure.
The defense is solid and the offense can be explosive. They are a great team.
But let's face it, the Cardinals aren't going to be tested during the regular season. Which game on that schedule would even qualify as tough? At Cincinnati? At Kentucky? At Connecticut? It's pathetic, and although Louisville can only play the teams on its schedule, it would be fun to throw in a real opponent, like the Ducks.
Plus, the matchup of Teddy Bridgewater and Marcus Mariota would be one everybody could look forward to. Yes, the Louisville Cardinals are certainly one of the five teams I'd love to see the Ducks play.
Does Brian Kelly want a piece of the Ducks?
This is the game that would have taken place had it not been for those darned Stanford Cardinal.
Given Notre Dame's poor performance against Alabama in the title game, many have speculated that the Ducks would have delivered a similar beatdown to the Irish. Unfortunately, until time travel is invented (and someone pays to make the game happen just for fun), we won't get to find out.
What we do know is that the Fighting Irish defense is spectacular. It played a terrible game against Alabama but locked down nearly every opponent it faced in the regular season. For those thinking the Ducks would be able to similarly run up the score like the Crimson Tide, think again.
Of course, the real Achilles' heel of Notre Dame last season was its offense, and it's difficult to envision a busy scoreboard with this matchup.
But aside from looking at how the game might play out, Notre Dame is a traditional powerhouse, and getting to see the Ducks face off against a team with so much history would be exciting.
Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel
This game might as well disallow everybody except for Marcus Mariota and Johnny Manziel to enter to the stadium, then proceed to have the two arm wrestle, run the 100m dash and see who can throw a football farther.
Let's be honest, despite all of the fireworks and crazy plays this contest would likely produce, it would be all about the two quarterbacks leading up to the game, during the game and throughout the postgame analysis as well.
Ever since Johnny Manziel captured the attention of the college football nation during his spectacular 2012 season, Duck fans have saying "Hey, what about our guy? He's pretty good too, ya know."
Both guys are terrific in their own way. Johnny Football plays his own brand of football, taking escapability to the next level and coming up huge in the clutch. Marcus Mariota is nearly as dangerous with his legs and perhaps more dangerous through the air, at least in terms of accuracy.
The Ducks were the first team to really take the spread-option offense and showcase it at an elite level, and now Texas A&M, which runs a different variation, is following suit.
I think I speak for football lovers everywhere when I say this is an absolute dream matchup.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban
Did you really think this final slide would have any other team?
Oregon-Alabama is the game everybody has wanted to see going on three years now.
The two have opposite styles of play, but each knows how to win and win often. Of course nobody has won like Alabama, which now has three titles over the past four seasons in what can officially be called a dynasty, or at the very least a mini one.
A common thought about this matchup would be that given a month to prepare, Alabama could shut down the Ducks' spread attack. That may very well be true, but what if it were the second game of the new playoff that begins in 2014, and Saban only had a week to prepare his guys?
Clearly Oregon and Alabama were the two best teams last season, and the championship game would have been a lot different had the two faced off. The Tide might be holding on to that crystal ball regardless, but the game, in all likelihood, would have been closer and certainly more entertaining.
Here's to seeing this come to fruition next season, or at least sometime in the near future when both teams are playing at an elite level.