2012 Oregon Ducks College Football Expert Predictions, Picks, Vegas Odds and Schedule – Oregon College Football Preview: There is no denying that the Oregon Ducks are an emerging power in the college football world. After all, the Ducks have won three consecutive Pac-12 titles, went to the national title game two years ago, and won the Rose Bowl last season. The architect of the success has been coach Chip Kelly and his spread-option offense. The Ducks are 36-6 in Kelly’s three seasons at the helm, averaging more than 43 points per game thanks to speed that is usually seen only in the SEC. Kelly flirted with jumping to the NFL this offseason, but after deciding to remain at Oregon, the Ducks should once again be in the mix for a national championship.
Oregon did lose a couple of key pieces from last year’s team with quarterback Darron Thomas and running back LaMichael James entering the NFL Draft. However, interchangeable parts are one of the advantages of Kelly’ system, provided the new parts are just as speedy. Regardless of who Kelly picks to replace Thomas, the talent at the skill positions will make the transition an easy one. Running back Kenjon Barner nearly topped 1,000 yards as a backup last season, and all-purpose back De’Anthony Thomas notched 18 total touchdowns as a true freshman. The two will lead this year’s explosive offensive attack.
The brilliance of Kelly’s system is in its simplicity. At the heart of the spread-option offense is getting players in space and allowing them to take advantage of their natural talents. The Oregon offense forces defenders into one-on-one situations in the open field, and one missed tackle can result in six points in a matter of seconds. Barner and Thomas are the ideal feature backs for the offense, and whenever either player touches the ball, a touchdown is always a possibility. The Ducks should have no problem approaching their numbers from last year when they led the conference in points per game (46.2) and yards per game (515.2).
Defensively, Oregon has somewhat of a bend but don’t break philosophy. Despite allowing almost 400 yards of offense to opponents last year, the Ducks ranked third in the Pac-12 in points allowed. As with the offense, speed is a crucial aspect. The Ducks rush the passer relentlessly, and the ball-hawking secondary creates plenty of big plays. Last year, Oregon intercepted 17 passes and returned three of those picks for scores. Safety John Boyett is the leader of the unit, and he is basically a linebacker in the secondary. Boyett uses his speed to fly all over the field, and he is coming off a 108-tackle campaign in 2011-12. The Ducks are a little undersized, but their speed and ability to create turnovers will make this a formidable defense once again.
Unlike last year when Oregon opened the season against top-ranked LSU, this year’s out-of-conference schedule is a walk in the park. In fact, the Ducks should cruise through most of their schedule this season. The biggest hurdle facing Kelly’s bunch is a trip to the Coliseum to face the USC. The Trojans handed the Ducks their only conference loss last season, and both teams having national title aspirations this season. It will be one of the biggest games of the college football season.
In the end, Oregon’s high-powered, highlight-producing offense will overwhelm just about everyone on the Ducks’ schedule. However, a trip to the Coliseum to face USC could prove too much to handle. After all, the Trojans welcome back Heisman frontrunner Matt Barkley at quarterback and a ton of other talent on both sides of the ball, and they went on the road to beat the Ducks last season. Still, Oregon should cruise to the North Division crown and earn a trip to the conference title game. A rematch with USC should be waiting with Pac-12 title and a potential national title shot up for grabs.
Prediction: 11-1, Pac-12 North Champions
Preseason 2012 Oregon Ducks NCAA Football Odds:
Odds to Win 2012 BCS Championship: +1200
Odds to Win 2012 PAC 12 Champonship: +200
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2012 Oregon Ducks College Football Schedule
Sat, Sep 1 Arkansas State 10:30 pm —
Sat, Sep 8 Fresno State 6:30 pm —
Sat, Sep 15 Tennessee Tech 3:00 pm —
Sat, Sep 22 Arizona TBA —
Sat, Sep 29 at Washington State TBA —
Sat, Oct 6 Washington TBA —
Thu, Oct 18 at Arizona State 9:00 pm —
Sat, Oct 27 Colorado TBA —
Sat, Nov 3 at (6) USC TBA —
Sat, Nov 10 at California TBA —
Sat, Nov 17 (7) Stanford TBA —
Sat, Nov 24 at Oregon State TBA —
Check out NSAwins.com’s official 2012 PAC 12 Football Predictions and Odds article.
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