Five Games That Will Decide Duck 2009 Season

The Oregon Ducks will come into the 2009 season with high expectations and a favorable schedule. If the Ducks are going to compete for the Pac-10 championship and a Bowl Championship Series berth, these are the five games that will decide their success.

(Courtesy of bleacher report)

#5 November 21st, At Arizona - The Ducks have struggled against the Wildcats lately having lost two of the last three. Arizona has been known for great defense under Mike Stoops and I would expect no different next fall.

Bad Memories - Some Duck players will also have memories of the season that could have been two years ago when their national championship dreams crumbled on the field with Dennis Dixon's ACL.

#4 September 26th, California - Cal expects to compete for another conference championship as Kevin Riley steps into the role as quarterback. Jahvid Best will look to makeup for a sub-par performance last year against the Ducks in Berkeley.

Tedford's Mentor - Jeff Tedford has had Mike Bellotti's number ever since he left Oregon for Cal. Bellotti is 2-4 against his former coordinator who took a faltering Cal program and has them competing for the Pac-10 title every year. Two years ago ESPN's College Gameday was in town and many fans remember Oregon receiver Cameron Colvin's fumble through the endzone that cost Oregon the game. Oregon needs to get over the hump against the Bears if they expect to win the conference crown.

#3 October 31st, USC - You're asking how could this game be this low? Well lets face it, USC will not be as good as they have been in the past and they have not won in the state in three years. The last time they beat an Oregon team on the road they had two guys named Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush.

Coaching Love - There is not a coach that dislikes Bellotti more than Pete Carroll. They are consistently chasing similar recruits and Oregon has been the main competition of USC over the past decade. Duck fans can expect a highly anticipated battle where conference supremacy will be on the line.

#2 September 5th, At Boise State - The Ducks open the season against the Broncos, a team that physically dominated the Ducks but barely escaped with a 37-33 victory in Eugene after Oregon made a fourth quarter run. Former Oregon assistant Chris Peterson has continued the Broncos winning ways after replacing Dan Hawkins as head coach.

BCS Help? - If Oregon can beat the Broncos it would jump start the season and greatly improve their BCS standing as the Broncos look poised to win another WAC title. Fans will know much more about their Ducks after the game in Boise.

#1 December 3rd, Oregon State - There are many storylines to watch in this game. Will this be Bellotti's last home game as head coach? Many people believe that now that Matthew Knight Arena is being built for the basketball teams, Pat Kilkenny will step down and Bellotti will take over the Athletic Director duties. Duck fans have witnessed the most successful period of football in school history (116-55 since Bellotti took over in 1995) and Bellotti will forever be viewed as a legend in Oregon football.

65-38 - Duck fans will not soon forget the sweet taste left in their mouths after the demolition of the Beavers one year ago. The Beavers seemed poised to go to their first Rose bowl in 43 years but Jeremiah Johnson had other plans. Johnson ran for 200 yards in the first half and helped Oregon spoil the Beavers party in Corvallis 65-38. Johnson is gone but LeGarrette Blount and Jeremiah Masoli return and with the game in Eugene, the Ducks are the early favorite.

Home Field Advantage? - Up until 2007, the home team had won this game every year since 1995. But for the last two years, the road team has had the upper hand. Does this continue or do the Ducks take advantage of the raucous Autzen Stadium crowd?

BCS Implications - It is very likely this game will have conference and possibly BCS championship implications on the line. Both teams will be projected in the top four or five in the conference and the Civil War is the most underrated state rivalry in the country.

Duck fans can expect an exciting season with many of their major tests in the friendly confines of Autzen Stadium. If the Ducks can get through a brutal September, they will be well on their way to dethroning USC as Pac-10 conference champions for the first time in eight years.

To read more opinions on Oregon Ducks Football go to bleacher report

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