Nov 16, 2013; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (14) warms up before the game against the Utah Utes at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

Sports Illustrated Preseason Top 25: Oregon Ducks 8th, Behind UCLA

The 2014 season is still a few weeks away, but in somewhat of a surprise, at least to me, one media outlet does not have the Oregon Ducks listed as the top contender entering the season. SI has revealed their Preseason Top 25 and the Oregon Ducks are ranked eighth to start the year, behind not only Florida State(1), but also UCLA(5) and Michigan State(6). According to SI.com, that also will leave the Oregon Ducks out of the first year of the College Football Playoff if things end the way they start, but we all know from experience that never happens.

Oregon is still slotted in the Top Ten to start the year just ahead of another team looking for props, the Stanford Cardinal at number nine.

The SI piece cites Oregon Ducks Quarterback Marcus Mariota’s health as the key concern entering the season following a solid start in 2013 and the team falling apart when he was injured and stumbling toward the finish line last season with losses at Stanford and Arizona, but they rebounded to close out the year with a big last minute win at home over Civil War rival Oregon State. This season both the Cardinal and Wildcats will visit Autzen and revenge will surely be on Oregon’s mind entering those contests.

In looking at the schedule Michigan State and UCLA top the list and could be the key to getting the Oregon Ducks into the top four by season’s end.

The Oregon Ducks kick off the 2014 season hosting South Dakota on Saturday, August 30th at 7:30pm Pacific Time on Pac-12 Networks.

Sports Illustrated Top 25 Preview: Oregon Ducks, #8

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