Will Oregon make the playoffs?
LAS VEGAS, NV (The Spread) - The Oregon Ducks will once again be explosive but will they avoid the yearly pitfalls in order to make the playoffs?
According to oddsmakers from online sports book BetDSI, the Ducks are 10/11 to make the four-team playoff in college football this year and 10/13 to miss the field altogether. Oregon is also 8/1 to win the college football FBS championship this upcoming season, which puts the Ducks behind only Florida State (5/1) and Alabama (6/1) in terms of the odds.
Like any prominent program, the Ducks suffered some key personnel losses in the offseason. Josh Huff, Daryle Hawkins, Mana Greig, Colt Lyerla, Alejandro Maldonado and De'Anthony Thomas were lost on offense/special teams, while Wade Keliikipi, Taylor Hart, Boseko Lokombo, Brian Jackson, Avery Patterson and Terrance Mitchell were lost on defense.
But the offense remains a massive strength thanks to quarterback Marcus Mariota's decision to return for another season. The nation's No. 2 ranked offense from a year ago brings back nine full-time starters, which includes Mariota, a 2014 Heisman Trophy candidate heading into the new season. The defensive front also remains a strength, as well as cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, who will be as important as any player on the roster.
Oregon's schedule isn't very daunting early on, as it'll face South Dakota and Wyoming to lead off the season. That said, a big non-conference challenge awaits in Week 3 when the Ducks will square off with defending Big Ten champion Michigan State in early September. Stanford is always a thorn in Oregon's side, no matter how well the Ducks are playing, and UCLA will provide a big threat as well.