HunterSportsPicks is back and ready for another big college football season. In each of the past three years I have finished in the top eight handicappers in the world in college football. I consider this sport one of my specialties. During the last three years, my plays are 1571-116 (57.14% winners). If you aren’t already a member of my free sports picks newsletter, join in today. I’ll be sending out free premium plays (including exclusive season win total plays) before the start of the season to newsletter subscribers. Simply enter your email in the upper right hand side of this page and you’ll be ready to go.
Before the start of the season I wanted to take a look at a few of the top teams in the country. First up is the Oregon Ducks. They were one win away from a title two years ago. The team went 12-2 last year and finished with a nice win over Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl.
2012 College Football Previews- Oregon Ducks
Head Coach: Chip Kelly
Oregon Ducks Gambling Odds from JustBet to Win BCS Championship: +1,200
Oregon Ducks Gambling Odds from JustBet to Win PAC 12 Conference: +110
Oregon’s win in the Rose Bowl last year was the first Rose Bowl victory since 1917. Chip Kelly turned down an offer to become head coach of the Tampa Bay Bucs because he said he had unfinished business at Oregon. The Ducks are gunning for a national title and nothing less. Last year’s team had only 10 seniors, but they did lose a couple huge underclassmen in LaMichael James and Darron Thomas.
Oregon Ducks Offense:
Thomas’ departure was a surprise to the staff and the team, but the Ducks have a couple very good quarterbacks ready for 2012. Bryan Bennett looked great in the read option last year when he filled in for Thomas, and Marcus Mariota has outplayed him in offseason workouts. It remains to be seen who will start, but the Ducks will have a good quarterback this year.
Kenjon Barner rushed for more than 900 yards last year as James’ backup, and now it is his job in the backfield. Barner has amazing top end speed, and he is capable of going the distance every time he touches the ball.
De’Anthony Thomas doesn’t have an exact position in this offense, because he’ll do a little bit of everything. Thomas may be the most electrifying player in college football and Chip Kelly and this staff know they really need to get him the ball more often this season. Oregon was fifth in the nation in rushing in 2011, and they should excel in that category again this year.
The Oregon offensive line doesn’t get any big awards, but Ducks quarterbacks were sacked only 14 times last year. This is a very capable group who knows the schemes well. The biggest question mark on offense is probably the wide receiver spot. The team lost its leading wide receiver and tight end. Josh Huff will be solid on the outside, but they’ll need a youngster or two to step up as well.
Oregon Ducks Defense:
The Ducks defense has been the weak link over the last few years, but they were clearly getting better at the end of last year. Michael Clay and Kiko Alonso give the team two leaders at the linebacker position. Oregon ranked fifth nationally in sacks last year. They brought down the opposing quarterbacks 45 times. Free safety John Boyett is fourth-year starter for the Ducks. He led the team with 108 tackles. The coaching staff talks often about how Boyett is the perfect kid to coach.
The main thing you’ll notice about this Oregon defense this year is that they are faster. The Ducks defense will have the foot speed to keep up with everyone on their schedule this year. With the offense losing some key parts, the defense may be counted on to win this team some games this year. It appears they are ready to do that in 2012.
Oregon 2012 College Football Prediction: 13-1
The Ducks have a simple non-conference schedule, and they are almost assured of a 5-0 start to the season. They get to host both Washington and Stanford, who will be dangerous teams in the PAC 12 this year. The trip to USC on November 3 is obviously the big ticket game on the schedule. It seems the Ducks offense is ever so slightly weaker than last year, but the defense is certainly better. Chip Kelly’s teams know how to score points, and this team will once again be a major player. Look for a top five finish from the Ducks this season.