As spring gives way to summer, the college football season inches ever closer. Now that every program is finished with its offseason workouts, attention turns to the 2014 campaign.
Mark Helfrich's first season as Oregon's head coach included championship expectations, disappointment and redemption. With a veteran lineup that includes quarterback Marcus Mariota and All-American cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, the Ducks have the talent on both sides of the ball to take another step in Helfrich's second season.
If the Ducks are indeed contenders for the first College Football Playoff, they will certainly prove it via a challenging schedule. Oregon hosts the defending Rose Bowl champion, renews its rivalry with two-time Pac-12 champion Stanford and faces the likely favorite out of the South on the road.
Plenty can change in the months until these games play out, including injury. But were the Ducks' 2014 schedule kicking off now, it might very well unfold as follows.