Circle these dates: The most important games for Oregon
Big games on the 2018 Oregon football schedule
Oregon football has a new head coach for the second time in as many years, returns a dark-horse Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback and retained an elite defensive coordinator. Will the Ducks surprise and contend for the Pac-12 title? Here are some of the biggest games on Oregon’s 2018 schedule.
SEPT. 22- OREGON VS. STANFORD
Last season: Stanford laid a smack down to Oregon, 49-7, in Stanford Stadium. The Ducks couldn’t establish a passing game without quarterback Justin Herbert (broken collarbone) and struggled to contain Stanford RB Bryce Love on defense.
Circle the date because: Oregon opens conference play against Stanford without facing a serious test first. Oregon and Stanford battled for conference titles from 2011 to 2015, but UO has lost by an average of 34 points the last two seasons. This season the Ducks have an advantage at quarterback in Justin Herbert over K.J. Costello but will have their hands full with preseason Heisman Trophy favorite Love.
Stanford, the defending north champion, was picked to finish second in the preseason media poll.
OCT. 13- OREGON VS. WASHINGTON
Last season: Oregon lost to Washington, 38-3, in Seattle.
Circle the date because: The bitter border rivalry returns to Autzen Stadium. Coming off of a bye week, the Ducks will have two weeks to prepare for the Huskies while UW plays at UCLA the week before. If the Ducks can take advantage of home field and upset Washington, they will be at the forefront of the Pac-12 title race at the midway point.
Washington was picked as Pac-12 favorite in the preseason media poll. The Huskies return nine starters on a defensive unit that led the conference in both yards and points allowed. On offense, they are lead by four-year starting quarterback Jake Browning and running back Myles Gaskin, who leads the nation in career return yards (4,055).
OCT. 27- OREGON AT ARIZONA
Last season: Oregon beat Arizona, 48-28, at home in quarterback Justin Herbert’s first game back from a broken collarbone.
Circle the date because: It’s Oregon’s second consecutive road game against an intriguing Arizona team led by new coach Kevin Sumlin. The Wildcats’ dual-threat quarterback Khalil Tate electrified with 1,591 passing yards and 14 touchdowns while rushing for 1,411 yards (9.2 per carry) and 12 touchdowns last season.
NOV. 3- OREGON VS. UCLA
Last season: UCLA beat Oregon, 31-14 in Pasadena.
Circle the date because: Chip Kelly’s return to Autzen Stadium. The former Oregon coach won three conference championships and appeared in a BCS Championship Game in his tenure.
UCLA lost its star quarterback to the NFL in Josh Rosen. Another weakness is the Bruins’ defense, ranking 122nd in yards allowed, 116th in points allowed, 111th in turnovers gained and last in rushing yards allowed out of 129 FBS teams last season. However, Kelly did bring in a lot of young talent, UCLA’s 2018 recruiting class is ranked 18th nationally per 247Sports.