A Return To Roses: Ranking Each Game on Oregon’s Schedule

We are getting closer, and the college football season is only a month and a half away. The 2010 Oregon football team will benefit from an abundance of talent, and senior leadership.

This team will also face a more difficult road in their quest to repeat as conference champions. Here is a look at 2010 Oregon Ducks schedule, ranking each game from the easiest to most difficult.

12. Portland State @ Autzen Stadium (Sept. 18)

An in-state contest will be just what the Ducks need after traveling across the country to meet Tennessee the week before. The Vikings really don’t hold much or any of a chance of keeping this one close.

In 2009, Portland State finished the season at 2-9, with a 1-7 record in the Big Sky. The trip down I-5 will conclude three consecutive road games to begin the season for the Vikings. Look to see playing time from players deep on the roster, and for Oregon to win big.

11. New Mexico @ Autzen Stadium (Sept. 4)

Even without the services of LaMichael James, a season opener against the Lobos is a perfect way to gain confidence and momentum for a trip to Knoxville the following week.

New Mexico finished the 2009 season at 1-11, and 1-7 in the Mountain West Conference. The Lobos defense, on average, gave up 35.9 points per game, while only averaging 16.3 on offense.

It is a safe bet that Chip Kelly and company have been studying film on New Mexico since a loss to Ohio State in the Rose Bowl.

10. Washington State @ Pullman, Washington (Oct. 9)

The Ducks will travel to Pullman in a game sandwiched between home games against Stanford and UCLA. Nobody on the west coast is expecting much from the Cougars during the upcoming season.

The 2009 season saw the Cougars go 1-11, and without wins in the Pac-10. The offense averaged 12 points per game, while the defense was lackluster in allowing an average of 38.5 points per contest.

In Oregon’s last visit to Pullman in 2008, the Ducks dominated, winning 63-14. Much like Portland State and New Mexico, this one shouldn’t be close.

9. UCLA @ Autzen Stadium (Oct. 21)

Rick Neuheisel and his Bruins travel north to Autzen Stadium in a rare Thursday night contest in Eugene. By this time, the Bruins will have traveled to play Texas, Kansas State, and California.

In 2009, UCLA was even in averaging 21.3 allowed on defense and the same average on offense. Neuheisel will bring a ton of talent to Eugene, and if this roster can gel by late October, it should be interesting.

Oregon was won the last two in the series, and both teams will be coming off eleven days of rest.

8. Arizona State @ Tempe, Arizona (Sept. 25)

For some reason, this game really scares me. Oregon has won the last five in the series since a disappointing defeat at home in 2004. Just how prepared Oregon will be after a cupcake game against Portland State in Eugene is concerning.

Most likely, the Sun Devils will be coming home after a defeat at the hands of a talented Wisconsin team in Madison. If Dennis Erickson can get his offense to gel early in the season, this could be a close game.

The Sun Devil defense should be stout, and has the ability to slow down the powerful Oregon offense. This game should be an Oregon victory, but in the Pac-10, nothing is certain.

7. Arizona @ Autzen Stadium (Nov. 26)

One thing that always accompanies a Oregon and Arizona contest is drama.

2007 featured a season ending injury to Dennis Dixon. In 2008, the Wildcats nearly completed a remarkable second half comeback in Autzen. Last season, the Ducks shocked the Arizona faithful in a fourth quarter rally that saved a conference championship.

The one reason 2010 will be different: Chip Kelly and the Ducks are incredible following a bye week. Oregon will have two weeks to prepare for the Wildcats, following a trip to Los Angeles against USC.

Expect Nick Foley and the Arizona offense to score plenty of points, but don’t expect the Wildcats’ defense to be holding Oregon to field goals.

6. Tennessee @ Knoxville, Tennessee (Sept. 11)

Years ago when this game was scheduled, Oregon fans drooled at the opportunity to play an SEC powerhouse program. The last time the Ducks traveled to SEC territory was a victory over Mississippi State in Starkville early in the millennium.

The Vols are coming off of a disappointing 7-6 season, and are still whining over the departure of Lane Kiffin. The Tennessee offense did average 31.6 points per game in 2009, but will be breaking in a slew of players at very important positions.

This game will be close if the Volunteer defense can slow down a versatile Duck offense.

5. Washington @ Autzen Stadium (Nov. 6)

A once heated rivalry, Oregon has defeated the Huskies six straight times. The Huskies are searching for a return to a bowl game, and many see this as their best opportunity in many years.

Jake Locker has never had success in Eugene, and don’t look for it to start in 2010. The Washington defense is mediocre at best, and gave up an average of 26.7 points per game in 2009.

The last two meetings have been dominated by the green and yellow, with a combined score of 87-29.

4. Stanford @ Autzen Stadium (Oct. 2)

Much like California, you never what kind of a game to expect when these two teams meet.

In 2008, Oregon came from behind in a rain soaked game to overcome Stanford. Last season, the Ducks traveled to Palo Alto and were handed their second defeat of the year.

Fortunately for Chip Kelly, Stanford will most likely be coming off of a road loss to Notre Dame a week before. Depending on the growth of an unproven Oregon secondary, Andrew Luck, Ryan Whalen, and Chris Owusu could have a field day at Autzen Stadium.

3. Oregon State @ Corvallis, Oregon (Dec. 4)

Many may ponder why this isn’t the most difficult game on the schedule. In comparison to recent road games to USC and California, the Ducks have had success in Corvallis.

Depending on how each team fares during the season, the Civil War may have Rose Bowl implications like each of the past two years. Both teams are introducing new quarterbacks in 2009, and by the time December 4th rolls around each squad should be rolling.

2. California @ Berkeley, California (Nov. 13)

The Ducks will travel to Berkeley a week after facing the Huskies at home. The Golden Bears will have the luxury of meeting Washington State on November 6th.

As any Duck fan knows, playing the Bears is never a predictable or easy contest. Jeff Tedford and Cal have beaten Oregon at home the last three times, and took three of the last four overall in the series.

Fortunately for the Ducks a bye week looms after their trip down south against Cal.

1. Southern Cal @ Los Angeles, California (Oct. 30)

One would have to go back to the Joey Harrington era to find the last time the Ducks won at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The coaching staff will benefit from an extra two days to prepare for the Trojans, but revenge may be on their opponents’ minds.

Ducks fan can fondly remember a drubbing of USC on Halloween in Eugene a year ago. Oregon does have the talent to match the Trojans, but expect the home team to be more experienced than a season ago.

If Oregon is lucky they can keep this game close and have a chance to win.

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~ by philip d. on July 23, 2010.

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