We are now less than one hundred days to the start of the 2014 College Football season and the first College Football Playoff. Of course this season it is not where you start that’s important, it’s where you finish. Athlon Sports has put together an extensive look at the upcoming season with the 2014 College Football Preview and have the Oregon Ducks starting off the season at number six. Oregon is also predicted to win the Pac-12 Conference North Division which means a birth in the Pac-12 Championship Game in the new Levi’s Stadium in December. According to Athlon there are several key reasons for putting the Ducks just outside the top five.
One of the big reasons is changes with the Oregon Ducks Defense, not only with players, but with coaches. Defensive Coordinator Nick Alliotti retired following the Alamo Bowl win over Texas last year and Oregon hired his replacement in house by moving up Don Pellum. Can Pellum have success? They will have to prove it on the field. Another reason is because of a hole at a key position on Offense, Wide Receiver.
Bralon Addison went down with a Torn ACL in Spring camp. Who will step up to fill that hole? There are many possibilities and several key returning players at the position who showed good hands in the Oregon Spring Game on May 3rd, including Dwayne Stanford, Chance Allen and the likely leader at the position Keanon Lowe. There were positives for placing the Oregon Ducks at number six as well.
Oregon returns five starters on Offense, including Quarterback Marcus Mariota and Center Hroniss Grasu, but Athlon also has a positive outlook at another position. Running Backs Thomas Tyner and Freshman Royce Freeman could have great years, add that to a favorable schedule and two key games that will tell the tale for 2014 at home in Autzen Stadium with Michigan State and Stanford coming to Eugene. The Oregon Ducks could make a move right into the first College Football Playoff.
Athlon Sports has several other Pac-12 teams in their 2014 College Football Preview including UCLA(7) right behind the Oregon Ducks, Stanford(12), USC(14), Arizona State(16) and Washington(24). Michigan State(11), who visits Oregon is just outside the Top 10. Florida State who looks to have another ‘battle’ with Marcus Mariota this year is ranked number one.