After a month of practice, the season has finally arrived, at least for Oregon. The Ducks will open up with Arkansas State, while the Beavers will wait one more week after their game with Nicholls State was postponed due to Tropical Storm Isaac. Time for PREDICTIONS.
Arkansas St. vs. Oregon
Tom: The Oregon offense should have no problems moving the football, even with a new starting quarterback in Marcus Mariota. Look for Chip Kelly to spread the ball around to lots of different guys, and expect Bryan Bennett to play most of the second half as the Ducks pull away. Don’t forget that De’Anthony Thomas could spring a kickoff return on special teams for a score as well. The defense has been studying Arkansas State head coach Gus Malzahn’s offense dating back to the 2011 BCS National Championship game, when he was the offensive coordinator for Auburn. But Malzahn doesn’t have Cam Newton this time around. Arkansas St. 14, Oregon 55
Nick: It may take a couple of series before Marcus Mariota really gets it rolling, but eventually he and the 5th ranked Ducks are just fine. De'Anthony Thomas & Kenjon Barner both go for a pair of scores, and Oregon fans find out what kind of player and what kind of speed true freshman Bralon Addison has. Arkansas St. 13, Oregon 52
Dirk: Our first chance to see Marcus Mariota in a real game. He won’t disappoint. Fortunately for him, he’ll have plenty of help with Kenjon Barner and De’Anthony Thomas. Mariota may be done by halftime, giving Bryan Bennett significant reps. I’m most excited to see Oregon‘s defense which I think could be dynamite this season with it having a ton of depth at every level. Arkansas State is a good team however, winning the Sun Belt Conference a year ago. With Gus Malzahn (former Auburn offensive coordinator) as head coach, the Red Wolves’ offense should be hard to handle. The Ducks should win handily. Arkansas St. 16, Oregon 55
Phil: Boy what an offseason it was for the Ducks. After winning the Rose Bowl, Oregon lost LaMichael James and Darron Thomas to the draft and head coach Chip Kelly nearly bolted for the NFL. Yet No. 5 Oregon is a legitimate national championship contender. It will be exciting to see Marcus Mariota run this offense, as he joins Kenjon Barner and Heisman hopeful De’Anthony Thomas in a loaded backfield. The scary thing is, as electrifying as the offense is, the defense maybe even better. I think the Ducks put on a show to open the season and beat a good Arkansas State team by more than a lot. Arkansas St. 10, Oregon 45
The slate is clean, but Tom would like to remind you that he was last season’s champion with 22.5 points and a final record of 18-7. Nick was second, Phil third and Dirk came in last. But that was last season; it’s time to get it going again.
What do you think will go down this weekend? You can let us know in a variety of ways.
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