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Updated: Aug 10, 2023

The Oregon Ducks come into the 2023 season having College Football Playoff aspirations after finishing 2022 with a 10-3 record and Holiday Bowl victory over Drake Maye's North Carolina.

Second-year head coach Dan Lanning landed the No. 12 recruiting class for 2023 according to Sports Illustrated. Star quarterback Bo Nix's decision to return for his final season of eligibility is a huge boon for Oregon. Losing offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham for the Arizona State head coaching job stings a little less with Nix's return. Nix will have a new offensive coordinator in Will Stein from UTSA.

The Ducks return 16 starters, eight on offense and eight on defense. Their top four rushers from 2022 are back, as well as three of the top four receivers.

On defense, the Ducks lose three of their top four tacklers but have plenty of viable replacements. Coach Lanning also brought in a number of transfers who are slated to start for the Ducks on defense.

Here are my game predictions for the Oregon Ducks for the 2023 season:

Via Kingsley Cartwright Via Flickr

Week 1 September 2 at Home

Opponent - Portland State

Prediction - Win (1-0)

My Take: Lower tier FCS program from the Big Sky Conference. The Ducks have never lost to the Vikings and that will not change here.

Week 2 September 9 in Lubbock, Texas

Opponent Texas Tech

Prediction - Win (2-0)

My Take: A trendy sleeper pick for some to win the Big 12, Texas Tech returns 17 starters, including all 11 on offense. If senior quarterback Tyler Shough can stay healthy Texas Tech may cause some damage in the Big 12. However, Oregon’s offense will be too much for the stout Texas Tech defense. Look for the Ducks to come out of Lubbock victorious.

Week 3 September 16 at Home

Opponent - Hawaii

Prediction - Win (3-0)

My Take: The Ducks have lost the last three games against Hawaii, however the last of those games was played in 1994. Second year head coach Timmy Chang is trying to right the ship in Honolulu, but the Rainbow Warriors are still a year or two away from being competitive. Oregon will end their losing streak to Hawaii, and in blowout fashion.

Week 4 September 23 at Home

Opponent - Colorado

Prediction - Win (4-0)

My Take: Coach Prime and the Big XII bound Buffs make what will be Sanders only visit to Eugene as a conference foe. While Sanders replaced almost the entire Colorado roster from a 1-11 team through the transfer portal, the Buffaloes are still heavily outmatched. Shedeur Sanders and Travis Hunter will do everything in their power to win this game, but they cannot play all 22 positions on the field. Ducks win in a blowout.

Week 5 September 30 at Palo Alto, California

Opponent - Stanford

Prediction - Win (5-0)

My Take: New Cardinal head coach Troy Taylor has his work cut out for him. Stanford is coming off back-to-back 3-9 seasons and, like Colorado, is heavily outgunned by the Ducks. The bad thing for Stanford is they do not have much outside of running back E.J. Smith to rely on. Another blowout win for the Ducks.

Week 6 October 7 - BYE WEEK

Week 7 October 14 at Seattle, Washington

Opponent - Washington

Prediction - Loss (5-1)

My Take: Two of the Pac 12’s heavyweights battle in one of the nation's most fiercest rivalries. The bye week could be beneficial for the Ducks, right before this massive tilt with the Huskies. Unfortunately for Oregon, Washington also has a Week 6 bye. This game will be a shootout featuring two quarterbacks with first round NFL Draft Pick potential in Oregon’s Bo Nix and Washington’s Michael Penix, Jr. The receiver rooms for these two squads are very good, led by Rome Odunze for Washington and Troy Franklin for Oregon. Both defenses, while decent, will get scorched in this game. Oregon’s defense gave up 256 passing yards per game in 2022, which plays into the strength of Penix and the Huskies. Purple Reign will "reign" again for the Huskies in this rivalry.

Week 8 October 21 at Home

Opponent - Washington State Prediction - Win (6-1)

My Take: You might think this could be a trap game for Oregon, a letdown after their first loss followed by a game next week at Utah. But the Cougars defense is bad, really bad. They should not be this bad going into year three for head coach Jake Dickert, who took over midway through the 2021 season. The Cougars lose a lot of production from that defense who gave up 402 yards per game, including 268 through the air. Dickert brought in new offensive coordinator Ben Arbuckle from Western Kentucky. Washington State is very much a pass first offense, which is a weakness for the Oregon defense. However, I still don’t feel Wazzu has the offense to go punch for punch with Oregon. Washington State will keep this game interesting but Oregon will prevail in the end.

Week 9 October 28 at Salt Lake City, Utah

Opponent - Utah

Prediction - Loss (6-2)

My Take: The Utes return nine starters on a defense that gave up only 334 yards per game and 21.4 points per game led by defensive tackle Junior Tafuna. Utah lost their top two rushers and top receiver, but senior quarterback Cameron Rising returns and has plenty of options on offense. The home team has prevailed every year since 2017. Utah will hold serve behind a top defense, gritty veteran quarterback Cameron Rising, and the home field advantage at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

Week 10 November 4 at Home

Opponent - California

Prediction - Win (7-2)

My Take: The Golden Bears have not played in a bowl game since the 2019 Redbox Bowl. Head coach Justin Wilcox is entering his seventh season with the program that has been declining the last three years. Cal’s defense gave up 429 yards per game in 2022, not good when heading into Eugene for a game with the Ducks. Oregon has way too much talent and will dominate the Golden Bears.

Week 11 November 11 at Home

Opponent - USC;

Prediction - Win (8-2)

My Take: The Ducks Pac-12 swan song against the Trojans. USC has the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, quarterback Caleb Williams, who is a maestro in head coach Lincoln Riley’s Air Raid attack. USC also returns three of their top four receivers. However, USC visits Oregon with defensive deficiencies that plagued them throughout the 2022 season, that I don't see getting fixed in 2023 either. Oregon wins in a shootout in Autzen.

Week 12 November 18 at Tempe, Arizona

Opponent - Arizona State

Prediction - Win (9-2)

My Take: Kenny Dillingham hosts his former team at the newly named Mountain America Stadium (formerly and forever Sun Devil Stadium). Dillingham is an ASU alum and, at 32 years old, is the youngest head coach in the Power 5. While Dillingham is familiar with the Oregon roster, his Sun Devils program is not where it needs to be to match talent with the Ducks. Oregon will avoid the late season upsets in Arizona that many Pac-12 teams have fallen to over the years.

Week 13 November 24 (Fri) at Home

Opponent - Oregon State

Prediction - Win (10-2)

The battle for The Platypus Trophy is on the line in the game formerly known as "The Civil War." Oregon State spoiled Oregon’s chances of playing for the Pac 12 championship in 2022 with a win in the regular season finale. The Ducks choked a three possession lead in the final five minutes losing to their bitter rivals 38-34. The Beavers landed in the portal Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei. While Uiagalelei gives Oregon State a legitimate option at quarterback, he will complement well an Oregon State offense that is a run first offense that averaged 196 yards per game in 2022. Uiagalelei might be the focal point going up against Bo Nix. I feel Nix will try to make a statement on his Heisman campaign against Oregon State. Oregon State has not won in Eugene since 2007, and that streak will continue.

Final Analysis: Dan Lanning is a young coach and building Oregon back into the national power that Chip Kelly had the program at over a decade ago. Lanning is learning as a coach that the things that plagued him were head scratching coaching decisions which cost the Ducks a few games, notably in the Washington and Oregon State games. He will improve in that department, but the Ducks are still a few players short of taking that step to conference champion and playoff team.



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