Oregon football: Ranking the Ducks’ most intriguing matchups in 2023

Eugene Register-Guard
With fall camp set to begin in just over a week, and the Oregon football team’s first matchup of the 2023 season coming up in September, it's almost game time for the Ducks.
The Register-Guard analyzed the Ducks’ full schedule and ranked each matchup by intrigue.
Here are the rankings for Oregon's most anticipated games this season.
Oregon quarterback Bo Nix scrambles with the ball as the No. 6 Oregon Ducks host the No. 24 Washington Huskies Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore.
1. At Washington, Oct. 14
One of the West Coast’s fiercest rivalries between fanbases has also become equally fierce on the field, beginning with Oregon’s walk-off overtime victory over the Huskies at Autzen Stadium in 2018.
Following years of blowouts and lopsided results, the game itself has begun to live up to the hype year-in and year-out, and 2023 will be no different.
Oregon, which has won 15 of the last 18 matchups but dropped its most recent contest last season at home in a barnburner, 37-34, will be looking for revenge in Seattle.
The Ducks have won each of their last two games at Husky Stadium, and with both teams gunning for College Football Playoff berths, and coming off bye weeks, Oct. 14 has game-of-the-year potential for an Oregon squad that will be entering a tough back-half of the season.
2. USC, Nov. 11
With no one really knowing what the formation of larger “super” conferences entails in terms of nonconference scheduling, the Trojans’ trip to Eugene in November could be their last for some time with both Los Angeles schools off to the Big Ten in 2024.
Not that USC plays in Eugene too often, anyway.
Since Utah and Colorado joined the conference in 2011 and made playing every conference opponent in the same season impossible, the Trojans have played at Autzen Stadium twice.
The first was in 2011, a 38-35 USC win, with the second and most recent in 2015 a 48-28 Ducks win.
Since the Pac-10 became the Pac-12, the Ducks and Trojans have only played six times in 11 years of the expanded conference and will play for the final time as Pac-12 opponents this November.
Tack on the stakes of the matchup, with College Football Playoff implications, and reigning Heisman trophy winner quarterback Caleb Williams leading the Trojans, and the fact that Autzen Stadium is already sold out, you have one of the most intriguing matchups of the season.
3. Oregon State, Nov. 24
Another rivalry that has become more competitive, the Ducks will look to get the bad taste out of their mouths after a 38-34 loss to the Beavers in Corvallis last season.
Though Oregon has taken 12 of the last 15 matchups — including eight in a row from 2008 to 2015 — there’s nothing that stings like a loss to Oregon State to wrap up your regular season. It's a fate the Ducks have suffered two of the last three seasons.
That said, Oregon hasn’t lost to Oregon State in Eugene since 2007.
Coach Jonathan Smith and the Beavers could feature a new face leading the offense, with former five-star recruit and Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei transferring and competing for quarterback alongside returning starter Ben Gulbranson and true freshman Aidan Chiles.
Rarely low scoring recently, expect fireworks to fly in both squads’ regular season finale Nov. 24 in Eugene, with plenty at stake, including keeping a berth alive for the College Football Playoff.
Oregon inside linebacker Noah Sewell celebrates an interception in the second half as the No. 12 Oregon Ducks host the No. 10 Utah Utes in Oregon’s final home game of the season at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore. Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022.
4. At Utah, Oct. 28
The often overlooked Utes might fly under the radar nationally, despite winning back-to-back conference titles, but that's not likely within the Pac-12.
The Ducks and Utes have played in the Pac-12 Championship against one another twice, with Utah taking the last matchup in 2021 and the Ducks winning in 2019, 37-15, to advance to the Rose Bowl.
Though Oregon doesn’t have a longstanding rivalry with Utah like it does with some of these other teams, the Ducks and Utes seemingly always find themselves in consequential games.
5. Colorado, Sept. 23
I know what you’re thinking. A team that finished 1-11 last season and was outscored 49-10 by the Ducks a year ago makes the top half of a rankings list organized by intrigue?
But a new face will be on the Colorado sidelines in 2023, and although it's unclear if the Buffaloes will be that much better, their new coach certainly thinks they’ll be giant killers.
Deion Sanders will make his Pac-12 debut against the Ducks in late September in both team’s conference opener.
Unsurprisingly, the 2023 version of Colorado already looks a lot different. As of May, 71 of the Buffs’ 84 rostered players from last season were no longer with the program, replaced by a whopping 50 transfers and a recruiting class that landed at No. 29 on the 247Sports’ composite rankings.
6. At Texas Tech, Sept. 9
Oregon’s first test against a Power Five foe will also be an intriguing reunion in Lubbock with a former player.
Expected to be leading the offense for the Red Raiders is quarterback Tyler Shough, who spent three years in Eugene and started at QB during the COVID-shortened 2020 season.
Then a sophomore, Shough guided the Ducks to a Fiesta Bowl berth, passing for 1,559 yards in seven games with 13 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Since transferring to Texas Tech, Shough has put up similar numbers, but has battled injuries over the past two seasons, though he is 8-0 in games he has started and finished.
7. At Arizona State, Nov. 18
Arizona State has been a thorn in the Ducks’ side recently. Oregon has lost its last two trips to the desert, including in 2019 when it was knocked out of the College Football Playoff picture with a loss in November. The Ducks also lost a game in Tempe in 2017.
Though this matchup will likely not garner much national attention, and will likely be played late at night, a November game against the Sun Devils in Tempe might be the biggest trap on the schedule, as the Ducks take on USC at home the week before and play rival Oregon State the week after.
8. Washington State, Oct. 21
Oregon has beaten the Cougars four consecutive times, though none of the games could be described as smooth. Last season, the Ducks rallied past Washington State on the road, 44-41, scoring three touchdowns in the final four minutes after facing a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter.
Washington State returns quarterback Cameron Ward, along with a slew of weapons around him. Immediately after what will likely be an emotionally charged matchup in Seattle against the Huskies, the Ducks will have to refocus quickly to avoid a trap against an always-feisty Washington State.
Oregon running back Noah Whittington carries the ball as the Oregon Ducks take on the Stanford Cardinal Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore.
9. At Stanford, Sept. 30
Though the Ducks and Cardinal likely won’t matchup as top-10 foes, as was the case nearly every time they played in the early and mid-2010s, that certainly hasn’t made the game any less competitive.
The Cardinal have had a hard time finding consistency in recent seasons but have beaten the Ducks four times in the last seven seasons, including the last time Oregon made the trip to Stanford in 2021.
The Ducks beat Stanford 45-27 last season in Eugene, but the late-September matchup will be Oregon’s first chance at the new-look and likely rebuilding Cardinal program under first-year head coach Troy Taylor.
10. California, Nov. 4
Oregon has taken 12 of the last 14 matchups against the Golden Bears and have not lost to Cal in Eugene since 2007.
Though tailback Jaydn Ott picked up steam as the season went along, Cal won just two games in conference.
Justin Wilcox is entering his seventh year at the helm, with just two winning seasons and none since 2019.
11. Portland State, Sept. 2
Oregon’s season opener is only slightly more intriguing an option than Hawaii because it will be the first look at a lot of new weapons and faces inside the program. Not that every question will be answered in the Ducks’ first game, but in what will likely be a blowout, it’ll be the first chance to see Oregon’s depth on display.
It’s Oregon’s first matchup against the Vikings since a 62-14 win in 2018.
12. Hawaii, Sept. 16
Oregon’s final non-conference tune-up should be just that: one more chance to tighten the screws before its Pac-12 opener against Colorado.
The Rainbow Warriors went 3-10 last season in their first season under coach Timmy Chang.
The Ducks have played the Rainbow Warriors just seven times, winning the first four matchups between 1921 and 1969, before dropping the next three in 1988, 1992 and 1994. Oregon will be heavily favored to break up that streak after nearly 30 years since the teams last played.

Latest Player Notes

If that really was Drake Maye’s last game in Chapel Hill, it provided a fitting full-circle ending

UPDATED NOVEMBER 13, 2023 2:49 PMHere was Drake Maye in the middle of it all late Saturday night, in the middle of the kind ...

Shedeur Sanders closing in on CU Buffs single-season records through pain of all the sacks and hits

PUBLISHED November 13, 2023 at 12:38 p.m. | UPDATED: November 13, 2023 at 12:40 p.m.BOULDER — Shedeur Sanders is closing ...

Tenth Anniversary of Kick Six: Inside video, "Official" look at Historic Iron Bowl Shocker

Published Nov. 13, 2023, 6:00 a.m.By Creg Stephenson See and hear history behind Kick Six (excuse the ads, but this is ...

Goodman: Jimbo Fisher is out and Nick Saban wins again

Updated: Nov. 13, 2023, 10:00 a.m.|By Joseph GoodmanJimbo Fisher is out at Texas A&M, which goes to show that even when a ...

Huard on Huskies: Why a win over No. 10 Oregon St would be huge

The No. 5 UW Huskies’ quest to make the College Football Playoff went through the two-time defending Pac-12 champions on ...

USC’s loss to Oregon exposes clear flaws in program-building up front

EUGENE, Ore. — In January, Lincoln Riley was on the sidelines at SoFi for the College Football Playoff championship game, ...

Two years after winning school-record 12 games, Brady Hoke out as Aztecs football coach

Brady Hoke is out as San Diego State’s football coach.SDSU released a statement Monday morning saying that Hoke is retiring, ...

Oregon’s Bo Nix named Pac-12 offensive player of the week for third time in 2023

Oregon’s Bo Nix earned his third weekly honor from the Pac-12.Nix, who went 23 of 31 for a season-high 412 yards with four ...

Oregon Ducks’ head coach Dan Lanning mentioned as a leading candidate for Texas A&M job

Oregon Ducks head coach Dan Lanning has been mentioned as a leading candidate to replace Jimbo Fisher as coach of the Texas ...

After ‘tough day,’ Boise State AD searches for a football coach; defensive analyst promoted

Boise State athletic director Jeramiah Dickey was on the job for less than a week the last time he began a search for a football ...
See More Player Notes