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College Hotline - Pac-12 football: Oregon game-by-game predictions for 2016

Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by RSSBot, Aug 19, 2016.

  1. RSSBot

    RSSBot News Junkie

    Jul 8, 2005
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    (Credit: AP)

    The eyes of Eugene — and of the Pac-12, to a certain extent — are on transfer quarterback Dakota Prukop. Those eyes are on the wrong guy.

    They should be locked not on Prukop, or rookie playcaller Matt Lubick, but on new defensive coordinator Brady Hoke, whose success could have a greater impact on the arc of Oregon’s season than the play of the latest QB to arrive from the FCS.

    If all Prukop/alternate QB does is keep mistakes to a minimum, hand the ball to Royce Freeman 20+ times a game and involve a stellar group of receivers in the offense to a modest degree, the Ducks will score enough points to win.

    The larger issue is whether they can prevent Utah from slapping them around for 62, keep Washington State from scoring 24 in the fourth quarter/overtime and limit Arizona State to … I dunno … 40 points?

    The Ducks have the talent to produce a mid-level Pac-12 defense, but Hoke must maximize his personnel and instill discipline. (Any discipline would be more than they’ve had of late.)

    Prukop doesn’t need to be Marcus Mariota (or Vernon Adams), and Hoke doesn’t need to be Nick Aliotti. If both are simply sound at their jobs, the Ducks will be in the North race until the final weeks.

    Coach: Mark Helfrich
    Season: Fourth
    Record: 33-8
    Win totals by season: 11-13-9
    Job security: Far too solid to suit the lunatic fringe of Duck fandom.
    Notable: Three-year record almost identical to that of Chip Kelly (34-6) and David Shaw (34-7).

    Here we go …

    Sept. 3: vs. UC Davis
    Result: Win
    Record: 1-0
    Comment: The more QBs change, the more September FCS blowouts remain the same in Eugene.

    Sept. 10: vs. Virginia
    Result: Win
    Record: 2-0
    Comment: Give UVa coach Bronco Mendenhall a few years and he’ll have a team that can hang with the Ducks. But not this year.

    Sept. 17: at Nebraska
    Result: Win
    Record: 3-0
    Comment: Picked the Cornhuskers in my first swing through Oregon’s schedule. Then reconsidered: Mike Riley and Mark Banker couldn’t figure out the Quack Attack during their final years in Corvallis.

    Sept. 24: vs. Colorado
    Result: Win
    Record: 4-0/1-0
    Comment: Royce Freeman reminds Heisman voters that he’s a candidate, too.

    Oct. 1: at Washington State
    Result: Win
    Record: 5-0/2-0
    Comment: Ducks survive highly-anticipated duel in the Palouse, not because of what they do but what they don’t do: They don’t commit as many mistakes as the overly-amped Cougars.

    Oct. 8: vs. Washington
    Result: Loss
    Record: 5-1/2-1
    Comment: Domination ends, reality arrives, and Ducks fans depart Autzen muttering about Petersen, Helfrich and programs headed in opposite directions.

    Oct. 15: Bye
    Comment: Perfectly placed in that it gives Oregon time to forget UW and get focused on a Friday roadie.

    Oct. 21: at Cal (Friday)
    Result: Win
    Record: 6-1/3-1
    Comment: Ducks have averaged 54.3 ppg against Cal the past four meetings. They won’t get that many this time, but they’ll get just enough.

    Oct. 29: vs. Arizona State
    Result: Win
    Record: 7-1/4-1
    Comment: October ends with the Ducks in the hunt for the division, the conference and the College Football Playoff.

    Nov. 5: at USC
    Result: Loss
    Record: 7-2/4-2
    Comment: November begins with the Ducks on the brink of elimination from the division, the conference and the College Football Playoff.

    Nov. 12: vs. Stanford
    Result: Loss
    Record: 7-3/4-3
    Comment: Location has mattered little in this series. What matters is the lines of scrimmage. When Oregon holds up, it wins. This year, it won’t hold up.

    Nov. 19: at Utah
    Result: Win
    Record: 8-3/5-3
    Comment: The sky is falling …. Err, never mind. With the Oregon faithful fretting, the division out of reach and pundits predicting a third consecutive loss, the Ducks dig deep.

    Nov. 26: at Oregon State
    Result: Win
    Record: 9-3/6-3
    Comment: And so ends another regular season that leave Ducks less than satisfied.

    Coming Monday: The Mountain schools.

    * Follow me on Twitter: @WilnerHotline

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    by Jon Wilner

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