Oregon Football Predictions

Written by Vegas Top Cappers | July 31, 2013

2013 Oregon Football Predictions

The big question revolving around the 2013 Oregon Ducks is how Chip Kelly’s decision to try his luck with the Philadelphia Eagles will affect the team he directed to a 46-7 W-L mark during his four seasons in Eugene. Kelly’s tenure with the Ducks elevated the football program to previously unimagined heights, collecting three PAC-12 titles and making four BCS Bowl appearances. The administration chose to keep things “in-house,” and promoted offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich to replace Kelly, which at least should provide continuity, since Helfrich and Kelly came to Oregon together in 2009 and Kelly frequently heaped praise on his top assistant for his innovative offensive ideas.

Awarded the National QBs Coach of the Year twice (2010 and 2012) while serving as an assistant, Helfrich certainly has an impressive coaching pedigree even though this will be his first stint as a head coach.

After last season’s 12-1 overall record (8-1 in conference), which ended with a 35-17 win over Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl, speculation began almost immediately about the Duck’s 2013 chances. Sixteen starters return, 9 on offense and 7 on defense, with the most significant losses being RB Kenjon Barner, and Gs Ryan Clanton and Nick Cody from the high-octane offense, and D-linemen Dion Jordan and Isaac Remington, along with LBs Kiko Alonso and Michael Clay from the defense.

QB Marcus Mariota returns to direct the attack, and his numbers (2,677 yards, 32 TD passes, 752 yards rushing, 5 TDs) could increase drastically under Helfrich’s command, while virtually every contributor to the ground game other than Barner returns, led by De’Anthony Thomas (701 yards, 11 TDs). The receiving corps returns everyone, among them eight players (including Thomas) who caught at least 10 passes in 2012. There is some rebuilding to do along the O-line, but there are an abundance of big bodies and four-and-five star recruits waiting for their shot.

The defensive front is also in need of some tweaking, with Jordan and Remington the biggest losses, but again, as with nearly every position unit, there is plenty of experience and fresh faces to comprise a more-than-adequate group. Oregon’s LBs are athletic, big and play with an attitude, especially Boseko Lokombo on the strong side. The secondary (other than the receivers) might be the deepest unit on the entire team, and it’s much more than sheer numbers. With 24 INTs, the Ducks were tops in the nation, and both Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and Brian Jackson are All-American candidates. Oregon also must replace their starting punter and place-kicker, but that’s probably the least of their worries. If worse comes to worse, they can always settle for two-point conversions, and with such an explosive offense, the punter is rarely needed anyway.

This is a potent collection of talent that new coach Helfrich inherits, and the scoreboard operators at Duck games will certainly earn their paycheck. Ranked either second or third in most preseason polls, the Ducks have a chance for a fifth consecutive BCS Bowl appearance, and anything short of that will be shocking.

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