Oregon Magazine

Pigskin Pete

Football Fans Rejoice...
Drought's About to End

By Fred Delkin

The kickoffs are asbout to resume for college gridiron fracases, and the state of Oregon looms surprisingly large on the national scene, with both Oregon and Oregon State squads reaping respect from prognosticators ... a hitherto situation nonexistent at season's start ... a bounty
that has even seen an ardent Duck supporter analyze the schedule and invest in season tickets for contests in both Eugene and Corvallis.

We've witnessed the degradation of the USC domination of the Pac10, opening a free-for-all contest among league members for the 2010 crown. Oregon began the revolution in 2009 by earning a championship and resultant berth in the Rose Bowl. Virtually all of that Duck squad's
veterans return. Oregon State has fewer returnees, but several Beaver veterans are already eyed with respect by NFL teams. The key to success for both Oregon teams will be found at quarterback. UO has lost its 2009 sparkplug, Jeremiah Masoli, and OSU graduated signal-caller Sean Canfield. The Ducks are still choosing between returning QB subs Nate Costa and Darron Thomas, while the Beaver coaching staff has already anointed sophomore Ryan Katz as their squad's leader.

In the final win-loss tally at season's end, schedule will be a dominant factor often overlooked by prognosticators. OSU opens with a trip to Texas to face TCU, a Fiesta Bowl choice after failing to lose a regular season matchup. Then the Beavers return home to face a rebuilding Louisville team before traveling to powerhouse Boise State prior to opening their conference round robin. Oregon, in contrast, opens at home vs. a weak New Mexico squad, then travels to a mediocre
Tennessee game before coming home to a rollover with badly overmatched Portland State. Both Oregon schools open their league season with Arizona State, which looks like a sure win for both.

Oregon has but four conference games in the friendly confines of Autzen stadium, but these are interspersed with mid-season rests. Oregon State faces a pair of away toughies back to back vs. Arizona and Washington and later a trip to certain contender Stanford. Oregon's most
difficult road challenges will be at Caflifornia and Arizona. Here's a peek into the crystal orb for the Pac10 season openers:

NEW MEXICO at OREGON...the Ducks are on a 30-2 winning run over non-conference foes and 15-1 for Autzen season openers. The visiting Lobos offer no prospect of challenging Duck dominance. OREGON by 28.

OREGON STATE at TCU...the Horned Frogs return a proven winner @ QB and Texas crowd support that will get the Beavers off to a rough start. OU has enough horses, including Texas-born Rogers brothers, to lose by no more than 10. TCU by 10.

WASHINGTON at BRIGHAM YOUNG...Husky coach Steve Sarkisian is a BYU alum who understands this challenge. We believe QB Jake Locker will lead the Dawgs to a win. UW by 3.

SACRAMENTO STATE at STANFORD...The Cardinal have a superstar QB back in Andrew Luck and a veteran defense. However none of these stalwarts will work up a sweat in whipping this sad sack opponent. STANFORD by 48.

CAL DAVIS at CALIFORNIA...this lower league foe has a good program, but not enough talent to let the Golden Bears lose, and Cal coach Jeff Tedford will pilot a win. CAL by 21.

USC at HAWAII...this Sept. 2 contest will get the Trojans off to a good start, Virginia is next and another SC win in their home opener. SOUTHERN CAL by 28.

ARIZONA at TOLEDO...Arizona won at home, 41-16 in 2008 and have a title contender that won't be fazed by this Ohio trip. ARIZONA by 10.

UCLA at KANSAS STATE...the Bruins beat K-state last year in the Rose Bowl, 23-9. That indicates that Coach Ricky has enough to win in Kansas, but not by much. UCLA by 7.

WASHINGTON STATE at OKLAHOMA STATE...if the host Cowboys are charitable, the Cougars may avoid a total rout. OKIES by 35.

PORTLAND STATE will surprise in the Big Sky, but the Viks don't have enough Division I talent to worry the Sun Devils, who have fallen off under coach Dennis Erickson with his failure to recruit as in the past. ASU still has enough to give the Vikings a good lesson...ASU by 35.

© 2010 Oregon Magazine