The Absolute MUST-WATCH Games in 2013

Kevin Cline Photography

With football season less than a month away, it is time to announce my top six games of the season.  If you missed my bottom six, you can check them out here.  I am excited for any game that involves the Ducks, but more excited for certain ones.  Here are my top six and why I can’t wait to see them.

New head coach Mark Helfrich.

Courtesy of Gary Breedlove Photography

New head coach Mark Helfrich.

6. Nicholls State – August 31

Let’s call this one a scrimmage for the Ducks.  However, this is the debut of the next era of Oregon football.  We finally get to see how Mark Helfrich is going to coach the team and handle different situations.  We will get to know right away which young players will be playing this year, barring the need to take a redshirt off due to injuries.  I expect to see the backup players on the field in the third quarter.  This game is the perfect start to a season with a new head coach: a scrimmage that matters!

5. Tennessee – September 14

I am excited to watch this game because of three letters … SEC.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate the SEC because of their dominance.  I respect what they do on the football field.  Rather, I dislike their sense of entitlement.  They expect to get the benefit of the doubt in any situation simply because of the conference they play in.  The SEC consistently has four to five good teams, with a bunch of “not much” after that.  Nobody ever talks about that, though.  Tennessee is probably not even in the top half of their conference, but beating down an SEC team is always a fun time.

De'Anthony Thomas takes on a Washington defender.

Courtesy of Kevin Cline Photography

De’Anthony Thomas takes on a Washington defender.

4. @ Washington – October 12

What can you say about the second best rivalry in the Pac-12?  Washington has failed to show up in the recent past, leaving Oregon fans with empty feelings in their stomachs.  I have a feeling that 2013 is the year the rivalry kicks back into gear.  Oregon will get Washington’s best shot at home, but it won’t be enough.  Silencing the crowd in a hostile atmosphere will produce confidence for Oregon halfway through the season.

3. Oregon State – November 29

Oregon State comes in at number three on my list.  I would have them higher as the Civil War is the best rivalry in college football history, but the Beavers have been only average lately.  Welcoming the Beavers and their fans to Autzen Stadium is always a joy.  This game would be at the top of my list every season if Oregon State could figure themselves out and play well for twelve games instead of six.

2. UCLA – October 26

This will be the first time that Oregon will face UCLA under Jim Mora.  The Bruins appear to be getting gradually better each game they play under their new coach.  Oregon doesn’t play USC this year, so this will be the closest chance Oregon has to put their webbed imprint on Los Angeles (save for the postseason).  I expect UCLA to be a top 25 team when the Ducks beat them, thus furthering their shot at playing in the national championship.

Marcus Mariota gets away from a Stanford player.

Photo Courtesy of Kevin Cline Photography

Marcus Mariota gets away from a Stanford player.

1. @ Stanford – November 7

The game I am most looking forward to besides whatever bowl game Oregon goes to is Stanford on the road.  This one is a no-brainer.  Both teams have an excellent chance of being undefeated and ranked no worse than fourth when they meet.  Whichever team wins this game should jump into the national title picture if it isn’t already there.  The fact that this game is at Stanford makes me that much more anxious.  If the Ducks can get a “W” at Stanford, a berth in the championship game should be theirs to lose.

That finishes the top 6 must-watch games of the 2013 season.  I would love to see how you readers rank the games based on your own anticipation.  What games would you move around or keep the same?  Or are they all the same to you because it is Oregon?  Go Ducks!

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