The Ducks begin the season in the top 20 even though they will be without last year’s starting quarterback Jeremiah Masoli. The Ducks have what is really an easy schedule and they should be favored in almost all of their games this season vs. the college football betting odds.
College football odds will favor Oregon in every game early in the season and it is even possible that the Ducks will be favored late in the season at USC and at California. The Ducks really only have three tough games in 2010 and they are capable of winning all of them. They are at USC who is not as good as in previous years, at California and at Oregon State. The Ducks probably won’t run the table but in a weak Pac-10 anything is possible.
The off the field problems for Oregon have dominated the headlines but Oregon is now rid of Masoli and it appears that everyone else is on board. Running back LaMichael James will have to sit out the first game but the Ducks should win against New Mexico without him. The Ducks have a lot of returning talent on both sides of the ball. The key will be how well Nate Costa plays in place of Masoli at quarterback. The Ducks have James returning and he set a Pac-10 freshman record of 1,546 rushing yards last season. All three starters at wide receiver return so Costa will have some excellent targets. All five starters return on the offensive line. Unless Costa screws things up the Ducks are going to be very good on offense.
The Oregon defense will be good this season but not great. They have some weaknesses on the defensive line but the linebackers are solid led by seniors Spencer Paysinger and Casey Matthews. The secondary should be improved this season simply because everyone is healthy. Kicking is a concern for Oregon as true freshman Alejandro Maldonado may be the only option.
Oregon should win all of their home games this season unless they stumble against New Mexico in the opener or against Stanford in early October. The road games are manageable as they should beat Tennessee, Arizona State and Washington State. The season comes down to the three road games at USC, Cal and Oregon State.