Before the 100th Rose Bowl began we knew it was going to be special. At the time many looked to Stanford and their Defense to step up to the challege with a Quarterback in Kevin Hogan who slowly became a household name this season thanks in part to the victory over the Ducks and his fancy footwork and timing ability. However Michigan State came in hot, after beating Ohio State last month in the Big Ten Championship game. The Spartans Defense was ready and were able to catch Cardinal Running Back Tyler Gaffney in the backfield for a good part of the night with some swarming defensive plays. In the end it was Michigan State who won the Rose Bowl which gave the top record in the Pac-12 to Oregon, who finished the year 11-2, Stanford with the loss 11-3.
Several years ago when the 2014 schedule was being assembled I’m not sure anyone would believe that a team from the Big 10 would be coming to Autzen with not only an 11-1 record from the season before but also as Rose Bowl Champions. Stanford and Michigan State are teams that are clearly built on Defense and both have a healthy allotment of returning talent for the 2014 season. Oregon on the other hand has some questions to answer.
The biggest is who will be the Defensive Coordinator after Nick Aloitti’s ‘Retirement’? Will Oregon players Avery Patterson and Ifo Ekpre-Omolu return or start their Sunday playing careers by entering the NFL Draft. With the Big 10 toppling the Pac 12 in the Rose Bowl several things are for sure. There will be a game with Michigan State on September 13th, 2014 at Autzen Stadium. It will be a Nationally televised game with National Title implications and both teams will be ranked somewhere in the Top 10.
Oregon in 2014 hosts two games with South Dakota and Wyoming coming to Eugene before the Spartans. Michigan State hosts Jacksonville State to begin the year and will then have a ‘Bye’ Week before travelling west to take on Oregon.
The biggest question looking at that game right now is will the Ducks be ready for the National Spotlight three weeks into the season? Time will tell.
(The 2014 Pac 12 Conference Football Schedule will be released within the next month. Look for Stanford and Oregon to land in their usual spot, toward the end of October, beginning of November)
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