In college football, it’s almost impossible to predict the outcome of a game, be it a “guaranteed” win, or the loss that ruins a run at the national title.
For the Oregon Ducks, the 2013 schedule is anything but guaranteed, and with teams in the Pac-12 conference gaining strength, the Ducks will, no doubt, face another tough season. Teams like Arizona, Oregon State and UCLA, who used to be chalked up as easy wins, aren’t going to be easy. They have had quality recruiting over the past few seasons and Oregon fans shouldn’t take them lightly.
Here are the top-5 teams that could prove to be the most difficult challenge for the Oregon Ducks this season:
5. UCLA Bruins (Oct. 26, Autzen Stadium): The reigning two-time Pac-12 South champions are slowly making their way up the ladder in college football. Quarterback Brett Hundley is the bright light in the Bruins offense,taking over from James Franklin. The Bruins can also score quickly, not as fast as Oregon, but fast enough to make their trip to Autzen interesting.
4. Arizona Wildcats (Nov. 23, Arizona Stadium): Oregon fans know the recent history with the Wildcats. One slip and Arizona can take full advantage, and eyes will be on running back Ka’Deem Carey. Writers have called Carey one of the best in the nation, and it’ll be the Ducks’ mission to stop him at all costs. One of Arizona’s weaknesses is matching Oregon offensively, but nothing is set in stone in the desert.
3. Oregon State Beavers (Nov. 29, Autzen Stadium): As the next Civil War will take place at home, Beaver fans like to remember they were down a field goal midway through the third quarter last year in Corvallis. Oregon eventually ran away, but don’t count out the Beavers, especially not as an undefeated record was not that far away last year. With Sean Mannion and Cody Vaz running the show, the Beavers want nothing more than to storm into Autzen and run away with a victory.
2. Washington Huskies (Oct. 12, Husky Stadium): You can bet the Huskies will want to open their newly renovated Husky Stadium with a solid win over Oregon, a rivalry that seems to get better every year. Washington came closer last year than in past years, and has had a nice pickup of players on the defensive side to slow down Oregon. It might be just another win for the Ducks, but don’t count on the Huskies to lie down easily.
1. Stanford Cardinal (Nov. 7, Stanford Stadium): Mark your calendars, the only team to defeat Oregon last year will take on the Ducks this year on their home field. Holding Oregon to just 14 points last year, showed the Cardinal defense knows how to win, and they will see us as their biggest game this year as well. The key for Oregon will be for their defense to ‘bend-not-break’ and let the offense run wild; scoring 14 points won’t cut it.