Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 11/15/14
Starting hot The Oregon Ducks are set to open their season at home against the Nicholls State Colonels, and the kindest way to describe this matchup is that it’s going to be a complete blowout. The Colonels finished their 2012 campaign with a single win, which is the same amount of games the Ducks lost. This one’s going to be ugly, and it’s going to be beautiful for fans at Autzen Stadium. But when we say this game is going to be ugly, what exactly do we mean? Are we talking a double-digit win? A 20-point beatdown? In all likelihood, the Colonels’ fate will be far worse than that. The Ducks have had one of the most potent offensive attacks the past few years, and with that not expected to change, the 70-point mark is a realistic goal come Aug. 31. Home-Field/Historical Advantage The Oregon Ducks have a serious home-field advantage. We all know that the Ducks have a home-field advantage every time they take the turf. Autzen Stadium is one of the most raucous venues in college football, and the team from Eugene lets everybody know it on a week-to-week basis. But while the team’s advantage stems from the people who fill the stands, there’s a history of season-opening beatdowns that can’t be ignored. In the past three home openers, the Ducks have scored an absurd 66 points per game. During the Chip Kelly era, the team averaged 59 points per home-opening contest. Going back to 2003, the team has gone 9-1 in home openers, putting up 48.4 points per contest, with the lowest-scoring performance being 31 points. History is in the Ducks’ favor, and if recent trends continue, a whole lot of points will go up come Aug. 31. Nicholls State’s Defense is… Not good. In the team’s 2012 season opener, it held South Alabama to just nine points in a loss. However, every proceeding loss saw at least 27 points on the board from opponents for an average of 44.4 points per contest. If giving up that many points wasn’t bad enough, the Colonels gave up 77 to the Oregon State Beavers—but more on that later. Talent Advantage The Ducks are going to have a talent advantage almost every time they hit the field in 2013. Come Saturday, that notion will be on display more than ever. In last year’s season opener, the Ducks hung 50 points on Arkansas State by halftime. Marcus Mariota, De’Anthony Thomas and Kenjon Barner did the bulk of the heavy lifting, and the team won’t slow down with Kenjon Barner now off to the NFL. We all know about the offensive talent, as the skill players are going to dominate the scoreboard game after game. But without a top-notch defense, Oregon might not get the ball as often as it would like. During 2013, the Ducks are expected to have one of the best secondaries is the country. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu will lead the way, but the crew as a whole will challenge offenses week after week. Against Nicholls State, this defenders are going to have just as much of a field day as the offense. Expect some points to go on the board via the defense, and expect that same unit to set up the offense for easy points along the way. Thomas Tyner will look to make a name for himself behind Byron Marshall this season. The Reserves Will Make a Name for Themselves In 2012, the Ducks missed out on a lot of points—and Heisman opportunities—because of the starters moving to the bench early. It seemed as if every week Oregon would have the game in control by halftime, which meant the reserves came in and the scoring began to slow to a crawl. Against the Colonels, the reserves will come in early, but the points should continue to fly. Oregon’s reserves have something to prove in 2013. Young players are ready to make a name for themselves, and on offense specifically, Thomas Tyner will try and prove he is capable of starting right away over Byron Marshall. Nobody who hits the field will be lacking talent, which means everyone will be out for blood. If OSU can do it… The Oregon State Beavers averaged 32.5 points per game in 2012. That number was good enough for 37th in the nation, but they somehow managed to score a ridiculous 77 points in the game against Nicholls State. For the Beavers, 77 points eclipsed their old school record of 76, which had been set back in 1931. The Ducks would have to hit 73 points to break their own record, and quite frankly, it’s not far-fetched to think it might happen. The Ducks don’t ever want to be shown up by the Beavers, and while the players on the field likely don’t care, fans across the state have bragging rights on the line. Oregon’s offense has been, and will continue to be better than OSU’s. It’s been a fact for a long time now, and a shellacking of the Colonels will prove it again on opening day. CLICK HERE CHECK OUT THE DUCKS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE TODAY AT NWSB!
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