If not for that first "A" and the "R" in the opponent's name, Oregon fans might be in for a bit of a treat on Saturday at Autzen Stadium.
But instead of Kansas State, as it was originally supposed to be, it's Arkansas State in town to take on the Ducks in their 2012 season opener.
The game looks like enough of a yawner on paper that Oregon had to offer up a Groupon deal to try to keep its 82-game sellout streak going. Two weeks away from kickoff, there were still some 5,000 tickets remaining.
If quarterback Collin Klein and the No. 22 Wildcats were coming to town, believe that those tickets would be long gone. But K-State pulled out of its home-and-home arrangement with Oregon, and the Ducks were left to scramble for a replacement, so Arkansas State it is.
The Ducks are about a five-touchdown favorite in Vegas, and I'm thinking that's probably too low. Scores such as 69-20 against Nevada and 56-7 against Missouri State last season come to mind.
True, Oregon probably won't reveal much of its playbook against the Red Wolves, and it's likely we won't see many -- or any -- of the starters in the fourth quarter. But the Ducks are deep, and their second- and third-stringers won't have any trouble putting points on the board against Arkansas State.
There will still be plenty to watch in this one, yawner or not. Redshirt freshman Marcus Mariota makes his Oregon debut as the Ducks' starting quarterback, and Kenjon Barner takes over for LaMichael James as the featured running back. In addition, the Ducks will be working in some green receivers, and it'll be interesting to see how crisply they run routes and how well they do with downfield blocking, a key duty for wideouts in Oregon's offense.
Hopes are high in Eugene that this year's defensive unit will be even better than last year's. Without any big-time tests looming, it'll be tough to get a good read on the D for the first few weeks, but we should expect Oregon to dominate that side of the ball on Saturday.
All of which leaves us with a final score, which I'm predicting to be north of Las Vegas oddsmakers' lines:
Oregon 62, Arkansas State 10
Adam Sparks has been following Oregon Ducks football since 1990, and has written about the team as a freelancer since 2009.
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