For eight weeks the Oregon Ducks have barely broke a sweat overwhelming opponents with speed and then forcing teams to take huge risks on offense leading to costly turnovers by the Ducks defense. Since most of their games had been decided by the half, Heisman front-runner Marcus Mariota has spent the second half watching from the bench.
So far, victories for the Oregon Ducks have been easy to come by, but beating the Stanford Cardinals on Thursday night at the Farm will not be so easy. The Ducks have yet to play a team that will punch them in the mouth and make life uncomfortable for Mariota.
Although, the Stanford-way may never ever win a beauty contest, their formula of ball control, behemoth offensive linemen and a dominant defense has caused problems for the fastest team on turf and Thursday night may be no different.
The Ducks have a combined record of 36-4 over three years. The teams that have beat the Ducks had a dominant offensive and defensive line; well, Stanford has both. If the Cardinals control the line of scrimmage as they have in the past running back Tyler Gaffney will force nine in the box leaving the Ducks susceptible to the play action pass to Ty Montgomery, whose always one tackle away from taking it to the house.
On defense the Cardinals offset the Ducks speedsters by playing disciplined fundamental assignment football, it may not be pretty but it has proven to get the job done. Despite being undermanned the Cardinals defense led by All-American linebackers Shayne Skov and Trent Murphy are no slouches, they will certainly put Mariota’s Heisman contention and the Oregon Ducks championship hopes to the test. The Cardinals feasted on Beavers last week, is Duck next on the menu?
Ecclesiastes 9:11 says the race does not always go to the swift, we will soon see if that scripture was right. Stay tuned…I know I will – A. Denmark
Road to the BCS Championship
Although the euphoria of March Madness has consumed the time of the common man my true college football fans have already began the countdown to kickoff for their favorite teams. I have frequently given pre-season polls a hard time because it fails to account for injuries and the eligibility of college football’s biggest stars who either ruin a team’s chances due to their selfishness and poor attitude.
For true college football fans pre-season polls provide us with an opportunity to speculate on the endless possibilities that await our favorite teams as we grow one step closer to 17 weeks of excitement, mayhem, and upsets. And without further adieu here is my Pre-season College Football Top 25 spring edition: (1-5)
- Alabama Crimson Tide (13-1): The Tide must replace three key members of their offensive line and former five-star recruits will have to step up to account for losses in the secondary. The Tide return Heisman candidate quarterback and sophomore running back TJ Yeldon and wide receiver Amari Cooper who will likely contend for All-American honors.
- Ohio State Buckeyes (12-0): Now eligible for postseason play the Buckeyes welcome back quarterback Braxton Miller who is a favorite to contend for the Heisman. Coach Urban Meyer has recruited sec-like speed into a defense that is high on talent but low on experience. Due to a week non-conference schedule and with the Big Ten experiencing a down year an unblemished regular season appears likely and is expected.
- Stanford Cardinals (12-2): The Cardinals have found their next star quarterback in Kevin Hogans whose athleticism and in-game moxie conjured up memories of Andrew Luck. Cardinals will continue to rely heavily on their run game which has its fare share of bull-dozers. All-American linebacker Shayne Skov appears to be fully recovered from his torn ACL a year ago and will lead a dominant defense that led the nation in sacks last year.
- Texas A&M Aggies (12-2): The Aggies return reigning Heisman winner Johnny Manziel and a bevy of weapons on the offensive side of the ball. Although the Aggies will have little trouble scoring points the defense must fill a lot of key position.
- Oregon Ducks (12-1): Although the Ducks lost head coach Chip Kelly to the NFL the Ducks explosive offense should not miss a beat lead by quarterback Marcus Mariota who ranked top ten in the country in passing efficiency. The Ducks lose a lot of talent and senior leadership on a defense that lacks experience. Their offense will score enough points to allow the defense time to mature in time for November 7th match-up at the Farm against the Stanford Cardinals.
(6-10 on Thursday)
Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. Listen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio Tues/Thurs 630 PM EST & Sat 1030 AM EST