So we’re finally finished with our non-conference cake walk. No more pushovers like Nicholls, jokers from Virginia or bottom of the SEC barrel Volunteers. Instead, it’s time to gear up for a grueling conference schedule with very few weak spots.
Our first Pac-12 tilt features Cal, against whom the Ducks have recently struggled. However, also included on the schedule is Washington who, for seemingly the first time in recent memory, appears to have both an offense that is rolling AND a defense that is taking care of business. Then there’s UCLA, who last week demolished a big name from the Big-10 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Finally, last but by no means least, No. 5 Stanford awaits their opportunity of proving to the nation that they’ve cracked the Oregon code.
But perhaps the team on Oregon’s schedule that is by far the most underestimated, and possibly overlooked, is Washington State. Now I’m not trying to say that this is the team that will upset everyone in the conference, or that they have “Rose Bowl” written on their chest. But what I will say, and re-iterate, is that one cannot look past this team.
Case in point, USC. No one of sound mind had picked the Trojans to lose – in the Coliseum, mind you – to the Cougars. Still, it happened, and a major reason for that was because USC did not respect the Cougars, and were subsequently not ready to compete. Heck, USC’s head coach Lane Kiffin said it himself after the game, “We obviously weren’t well-prepared on offense.” Washington State has a seasoned quarterback in Connor Halliday, and a squad with sufficient talent to punish the unprepared. Ignore this team at your own peril.
So there’s no question about it; we have a difficult schedule going forward, from Stanford to Wazzu, a lineup full of powerhouses and sleepers. The Ducks will surely be tested, which is what we want, because now is the time to see what we’re really made of.