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The Kickoff: South Dakota Rolls Into Autzen To Collect Paycheck, Lose

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The first Kickoff of the season takes a first look at Oregon's first opponent, the South Dakota Coyotes.

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

The Matchup:  South Dakota Coyotes at No. 3 Oregon Ducks

Time and Place: 7:30 PM, Autzen Stadium

TV Information: Pac-12 Networks

It's game week.

Seriously, on Saturday, we will be watching Oregon football. And I'm not talking replays of the Alamo Bowl that are on our DVRs. Nor the grainy games from 1994 that we have on DVD. For the first time in eight months, we will be watching live Oregon Ducks football. I know it's South Dakota. And the final score will be about eleventy jillion to zero. But still, football!

There's not a ton you need to know about South Dakota. This was a bad (4-8) Missouri Valley team last season, who is coming to Autzen to get paid a lot of money to lose by a lot. This is your typcial 1-AA body bag game, and there is no reason to believe either that Oregon will be unfocused enough, nor that South Dakota will be good enough, to have any chance to pull off an upset here.

If we have to play a 1-AA cupcake, this is the perfect opener for Oregon's rebuilt defensive line. Under former Wyoming coach Joe Glenn, South Dakota will attempt to play ground and pound, chewing up chunks of clock with a slow, methodical offense that will run straight at the Oregon front seven. This will provide a warm up for what is to come against Michigan State and Stanford--a full third of Oregon's season being played against this style rather than the traditional one game.

But South Dakota was bad in every facet of their run game last season--especially the offensive line. It's tough to play that style without a dominant offensive line, and the Coyotes were largely manhandled against very mediocre competition a year ago. Returning running back Trevor Bouma averaged 4.8 yards per carry a season ago, but the 'Yotes will be breaking in a new quarterback at Autzen with a line that allowed 39 sacks and only 3.8 ypc on offense a year ago.

The defense was solid last year, although they lose the reigning conference player of the year in the MVP. They return a great linebacking corps in Keyen Lage (67 tackles, 4 sacks) and Auston Johnson (69 tackles, 7 sacks) and forced 21 turnovers a year ago. That said, they faced nobody of Oregon's caliber. The special teams is all kinds of bad in all aspects.

Panic-O-Meter: 0 Jujus

The goal of this game is to get through it without anyone getting hurt. Oregon will win, and win by a lot. It would take a bubonic plague outbreak laeving Oregon with only a team of walk-ons to change that reality.