Oregon Football: An Early Look at the Ducks' 2014 Season

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Oregon Football: An Early Look at the Ducks' 2014 Season
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
With another successful campaign behind them, the Ducks are marching towards the 2014 season.

With the release of next season's Pac-12 schedule, it appears the Oregon Ducks have another manageable slate in 2014.

While Oregon will miss USC and Arizona State for a second consecutive season, the schedule won't be lacking marquee matchups.

The early season schedule is highlighted by what could be the nonconference game of the year, as Rose Bowl champion Michigan State will take its rugged defense to Autzen Stadium. The first matchup between the two programs since Nick Saban manned the sideline for the Spartans should feature a pair of Top Five teams.

In conference play, the Ducks get to host a pair of revenge games, with Stanford and Arizona both traveling to Eugene. The Ducks will also host the rival Washington Huskies as they look to extend their streak to 11 straight wins against their rivals to the north.

The road schedule is manageable, but the early October matchup with UCLA at the Rose Bowl will likely have Pac-12 and national championship implications. It could also have a major impact on the Heisman Trophy race, as quarterbacks Marcus Mariota and Brett Hundley both returned to school despite high marks from NFL scouts.

It won't be easy, but the Ducks will need to overcome their recent November woes. Four of Oregon's six losses since the beginning of the 2010 season have come in that month.

The Ducks will start the season's final month by facing the Cardinal, who have won consecutive games against the Ducks. After Stanford, Oregon has tough road trips to Utah and Oregon State.

With the Spartans, Cardinal and Bruins all being national title contenders, the Ducks will have their work cut out for them in 2014. If they are able to win those marquee matchups and make it through the season at 12-0 or 11-1, a berth in the inaugural College Football Playoff is likely headed their way.

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