Oregon faces a B1G test.
Most college football seasons get incrementally tougher, and that's how it's going to be for the 2016 Oregon Ducks. Fresh off their second straight non-conference win over an inferior opponent, Oregon travels to Nebraska to take on the former longtime Oregon State coach's current school. Non-conference games against quality opponents have become a lost art in today's game, but Oregon has managed to schedule home-and-home matchups with some noteworthy schools in most years. Let's hope this continues, because it seems like more and more the SEC-style path of least resistance when it comes to scheduling is the new norm.
Despite a slightly narrower margin of victory, Oregon looked better on both sides of the ball last week against Virginia. The final tally seemed more of a result of the Ducks pulling their punches earlier and thinking ahead to their next opponent than some slippage in their performance. No, the defense didn't suddenly get great overnight, and some freshman mistakes were glaringly obvious. The Cavaliers certainly felt the wrath of Rolls Royce, with Freeman placing himself in the Heisman Conversation (tm) as early as Week 2. (Unfortunately, staying in said conversation pretty much requires being a playoff contender, something that is not expected of the Ducks at this time.)
Nebraska, to their credit, has scored even more points than the Ducks and given up fewer. Nebraska still remains outside the Top 25, but they are favored by a field goal at home and that seems like it could be a bit on the slight side. Last week, the Ducks showed they are explosive on offense and shouldn't be counted out, but they could very well be set up for an ambush here. On the other hand, they haven't lost to a Mike Riley coached team since 2007 and will be looking for their eighth consecutive win over one of his squads. In any case, a win today would give Oregon a big impression heading into conference play.