Previewing the 2013 football schedule for the Ducks is, well, a bit disappointing – again. A couple of short years ago, the Ducks impressed the nation by scheduling teams like LSU and Tennessee out of the gate, both traditionally known as elite football programs. Those two out-of-conference teams, along with a competitive PAC-12 schedule, played out very well for the Ducks. Tennessee did prove to be a “not as advertised” team that year and we did lose to LSU, but the Ducks still earned a great deal of respect throughout the nation and went on to play in BCS bowls.
2012 and 2013 are different. Thanks in part to cancelations by established programs with a well-grounded fear of playing the Ducks, scheduling marquee opponents has become problematic. This coming year’s schedule will only fuel the ugly fire of taunting by SEC fans, who have a notorious talent for pointing out others’ weak nonconference schedules as they line up the likes of Savannah State and Citadel for themselves (and cancel home-and-home series between Oregon and Georgia).
Not only do the Ducks play weak non-conference teams, but our usual marquee game against USC is not there. Granted, we do still play Stanford and UCLA, which is nice; but garnering respect will be a challenge even if the Ducks go undefeated. Duck fans across the globe can see Oregon as a talented team and know the Ducks have the firepower to compete with the best. However, while the NCAA is still at the mercy of the BCS scoring system, playing a cupcake schedule won’t help the fight for the big show and keep rival fans from making every effort to discredit the Ducks. The only solution is to win them all and win them big!