The Oregon Ducks are a 59-point favorite in their game tomorrow against the Nicholls Colonels, a 1:00 p.m. Pacific kickoff in Autzen Stadium. It's televised nationally on Fox Sports 1.
The outcome isn't much in doubt, but educated fans will be watching closely in several key areas: execution, substitution, penalties and turnovers.
Nicholls isn't the challenge here. Charlie Stubbs' team will give a good effort and earn their $450,000 guarantee behind new quarterback Beaux Hebert, the son of former New Orleans Saints qb Bobby, but they are outmanned as a FCS school that's gone 1-10 in each of the last two seasons, suffering a 77-3 defeat at Oregon State just last December.
Cool breeze, hot prospects: Marcus Mariota and the Ducks will be sharp and focused tomorrow against the Nicholls. The Flyin' Hawaiian isn't likely to keep the football more than a couple of times, but the Colonels are likely to have trouble catching him, or his teammates (Kevin Casey, Getty Images photo).
Instead, the Ducks are competing chiefly with themselves and their vision of their future. If they truly want to compete for a PAC-12 championship and a Crystal Football, they have to show up sharp and disciplined for games like these, determined to do their work and refine their operation even if the opponent doesn't put up much resistance.
What do you expect to see in Week One from Oregon's juggernaut, ranked #3 in both the AP and USA Today/Coaches preseason polls?
Mark Mariota should be crisp in what will likely be an abbreviated debut, perhaps one and a half quarters of work, 12-15 passing for 200 yards and three tds.
De'Anthony Thomas will score twice, but the Colonels will kick away from him.
The first and second team defenses will be overpowering, sacking Hebert three times and picking off two passes.
Mark Helfrich will empty the bench in second half, slow the tempo to a crawl and running the basic Zone-Read plays almost exclusively.
Oregon cruises to a 67-7 win after a 39-0 second quarter lead, one field goal, one two-point conversion, with the reserve quarterbacks leading a total of four touchdown drives over the last two and a half quarters.
How do you see the game, and what are you looking for from the Ducks?