2014 Oregon Ducks Team Preview
Head Coach: Mark Helfrich
2013-14 Record: 11-2, 7-2 Pac-12 Conference
2013-14 Bowl Result: 30-7 win over Texas in Alamo Bowl
Odds to Win National Championship: +742
Offense: 8, Defense: 5
With an entire offensive line returning intact, and a two-time All-Pac-12 Conference quarterback leading the unit, Oregon’s offense should be able to put up video game-type numbers up on the scoreboard once again. Junior signal-caller Marcus Mariota led the conference in passing efficiency last year and has thrown for 6,342 yards and 63 touchdowns in two seasons at Eugene.
The Ducks have plenty of weapons surrounding Mariota, including running backs Byron Marshall and Thomas Tyner, who combined to rush for 1,753 yards and 23 touchdowns a season ago.
Due to the dual-threat ability of Mariota and a talented backfield, Oregon should be able to survive offensively until some weapons emerge on the perimeter, especially since Keanon Lowe is the only returning wide receiver with more than five receptions in 2013.
The secondary is one of the best groups nationally with two-time All-Pac12 senior cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu returning to campus, as the group allowed opponents to throw for just 204.5 yards per game last year.
Senior defensive end Tony Washington has been known to force opposing quarterbacks into making bad decisions, which is evident in the stop unit forcing 29 turnovers in 2013. He’s capable of improving upon his 60 tackles and 7.5 sacks during his junior campaign.
There’s no question that the Ducks will be tested in Week 2 against the Michigan State Spartans, which makes it important to check out the college football odds page for that high-profile matchup.
Oregon will likely enter its biggest game of the season on the road against UCLA with a perfect 5-0 record, but the visitor is 1-6 SU in the last seven meetings in that series since 2006.
College football handicappers need to be prepared to get involved in the futures market if this team survives that test in Pasadena, as realistically the only formidable threat left on its schedule is hosting the Stanford Cardinal on Nov. 1.
Fans in Eugene were a bit concerned about life after Chip Kelly, but Helfrich proved that the offense could score at will with him moving from coordinator to head coach.
Oregon is 26-2 SU in conference home games the last six years—a powerful statistic that’ll likely be boosted by a perfect 7-0 mark at Autzen Stadium in 2014.
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