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2011-2012 College Football Previews: Oregon Ducks

Head Coach: Chip Kelly

2010 Record: 12-1 (Lost in BCS Championship Game to Auburn)

Oregon Gambling Odds from BetOnline to win BCS: +1,200

Oregon Odds from BetOnline to win Pac 12 North Division: +115

Oregon Odds from BetOnline to win Pac 12 Conference Championship: +130

 

The Ducks almost won it all last year, but they fell just short against the Auburn Tigers in the BCS Championship Game. Chip Kelly’s fast-paced offensive system has left opposing defenses clueless. The Ducks have a made a habit out of charging down the field and scoring in a very short amount of time. Oregon’s defense has been much better the last couple years than most people give them credit for as well. Can Oregon get back to the BCS title game and get another crack at the championship?

Offense

LaMichael James finished second in the Heisman voting last year. James should have another tremendous year this season. Kenjon Barner gives the Ducks a high quality backup tailback as well.  Darron Thomas was a first-year starting quarterback last year, but he did a nice job running the team. I think Thomas will be much better this season. He could prove to be one of the best quarterbacks in the nation. The receiving corps will be much younger this season, and they will likely count on tight end David Paulson a little more in the passing game.

Defense

This will be the side of the ball that requires the most work for the Ducks. Casey Matthews and Spencer Paysinger were the team’s play makers on defense last year, and they are no longer with the team. The defensive front will be young, but they are pretty talented. Since the linebackers won’t be nearly as good as last year, the front four will be relied on to make more plays. The secondary is the strength of this defense. Cliff Harris and Dior Mathis will lead this group, which should make it tough on the opposition to move the ball through the air.

Team Strength

It will be extremely hard to find a team in the nation with a better backfield than Oregon. James is probably the best running back in the nation, and Thomas is a terrific dual-threat quarterback. Barner is a speed burner who can make it very tough on the defense as well.

Team Weakness

The defensive front seven will be awfully young. Oregon’s front seven were very good last year, but that could be the Achilles heel of the team this season. Opposing offenses might be able to take advantage of the Ducks run defense.

2011 Oregon College Football Schedule

The Ducks start out the season with a big game in Dallas against LSU. The schedule gets quite a bit easier until early November, when they must travel to Washington and Stanford in back-to-back weeks. The game at Stanford will likely be the toughest conference game for the Ducks this year. The Ducks will need to avoid a letdown the following week though, because they host USC on November 19.

2011 Oregon Football Prediction: 13-1

The Ducks should be a force to be reckoned with again this season. While many people seem to believe they’ll be down a decent amount from last year, I think they are legitimate title contenders. Expect this offense to be absolutely dominating again this year. Oregon is my pick to win the Pac 12 Conference this season. The Ducks should finish the year in the top five.

Other Resources:

Betfirms– Oregon to finish 2nd in the Pac 12 North

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