FanPost

A look ahead: Oregon's 2010 nonconference schedule

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Thus, it's not too early to think about 2010.

There's a reasonable expectation that regardless of the Rose Bowl outcome, Oregon will find itself ranked in the preseason top 10 next season, perhaps as high as #4 or #5. Since any pre-season Top 10 team has a good shot at getting to #1 or #2 fairly quickly, every opponent counts.

At the risk of offending Juju by bypassing The Next Game Which Is The Only One That Matters, here's a brief and highly preliminary look at Oregon's OOC opponents for next season:

Game 1 - Sept 4
New Mexico (Autzen)

When your head football coach is forced to "Dungy Up" before his first season is over, you have problems.

Mike Locksley returns next fall for his 2nd season as New Mexico's head pugilist. The bad news for the Lobos is that they open 2010 on the road at Autzen, coming off a 1-11 season, and having to replace 7 starters on offense and 6 on defense. (The good news is that those newly-departed seniors probably weren't all that and a bag of chips or they wouldn't have gone 1-11.) Unfortunately, "Locks" is apparently having some difficulty keeping the younger players happy. Lucky for him, the administration has his back, so -- unless an insurgent student uprising nukes the entire athletic department, or his entire coaching staff mutinies -- he'll have at least one more season to work his magic.

Like most other teams desperate to try something New and Different, UNM implemented a spread offense with their new coach. This clearly went over well with their non-spreadworthy QB, Donovan Porterie, who as a 5th year senior had to learn a brand new offensive scheme for the 4th time. For 2010, Locksley can at least hope to have someone appropriate trying to run the offense; they just won't have any experience.

In any case, things can't get much worse for fans of the Lobos, who must be wondering what they did to deserve the last 12 months - first, Rocky Long decides he just doesn't want to be a head coach any more, leaving in 2008 to become San Diego State's DC after leading UNM to five bowl games in seven years..  then, his replacement leads them to their worst season in 20 years.

Locks has his work cut out for him.  He may get more than one win in 2010, but it's not likely to happen the first week.

Game 2 - Sept 11
Tennessee (Shields-Watkins Field, Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, Knox County, Tennessee)

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Forget Tennessee's inability to beat UCLA. This game is not going to be a gimme for Oregon.  It's a trip to the churning, acid reflux midsection of SEC hysteria, after all, and Knoxville will not be mistaken for Starkville (the only SEC location in modern Duck history where Oregon's actually won a game).

But Eric Berry will almost certainly be gone to the NFL. And Tennessee HC Lane Kiffin has to replace half his starters off a 7-5 Fast Food Bowl team --including all-SEC DT Dan Williams, his QB, his top RB, and the entire offensive line. (Hmm, sounds familiar.) There's plenty of returning talent to build on, including our old friend Bryce Brown who will likely take over as the feature back.

And, as of mid-December, UT's recruiting class for 2010 is ranked 7th nationally. (Subject to revision if all this hostess-probing gets out of hand.)  UT will be coming off a home opener against D-II Tennessee-Martin, making them the last SEC team to play a D-II school; their next game after Oregon will be a Florida team without Tim Tebow (assuming Tebow isn't granted lifetime eligibility), so a looking-past-us factor may be in play.

The Vols offense isn't going to have much time to "mesh up" an entirely new OL and put the team in a position to outscore a very experienced Oregon offense.  Thus, unless all those new faces on defense come up very big very fast, Oregon should have a great chance to come out of Knoxville with a win.

Game 3 - Portland State (Autzen)
Sept 18

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Sadly, we won't get to see The Alleged Genius, Jerry Glanville, on the sidelines for this one. The Other PSU risked the wrath of Canzano by hiring Nevada DC Nigel Burton for his first head coaching gig.

The Vikings are a replacement paycheck opponent - originally this spot was filled with Central Michigan, out of the MAC, but the Cheapawas pulled out in '08, citing a case of the we-don'-wanna-play-yous.  (Tennessee had the same problem with a MAC team, as Akron begged off the season opener for 2010; at least Kilkenny didn't have to dip into Division II to fill the open slot.)

Recent Oregon - PSU scores:   55-12 (2006), 41-0 (2002), 58-16 (1994). At this point, there is no reason to think the 2010 results  will be significantly different.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of SB Nation or the Addicted To Quack Moderators. FanPost opinions are valued expressions of opinion by passionate and knowledgeable Oregon fans.

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