The first Eugene appearance by a Southeastern Conference opponent in 11 years, as well as a five-game Pac-12 Conference slate that includes California, Oregon State, UCLA, Utah and Washington State, highlights one of the University of Oregon’s most entertaining football schedules in a decade as the league office released its 2013 football schedule this week.
Tennessee will make its first visit to Autzen Stadium ever and face the Ducks for only the second time in the programs’ history on Sept. 14.
The two football programs first met in Knoxville, Tenn., during the 2010 season, with Oregon prevailing, 48-13. It will mark the first appearance in the state of Oregon by an SEC opponent since the Ducks defeated Mississippi State in Eugene in 2002, 36-13.
Only once will Oregon host games on consecutive weekends ( Oct. 19 and 26 ) and should benefit from an open date the fourth week of the season on Sept. 21. The Ducks will also welcome additional time to prepare for a Thursday night featured match-up at Stanford on Nov. 7 as neither team will play the previous weekend.
“We are pleased to deliver our fans an outstanding home schedule,” Oregon Athletics Director Rob Mullens said.
“With an SEC opponent and five quality Pac-12 opponents, Autzen Stadium will once again be one of the toughest venues to play in the country. Our fans continue to show passionate support for our program throughout the year and our brand continues to ascend to one of the most exciting in college football.”
Oregon will open the season Aug. 31 at home vs. Nicholls (La.) State in addition to hosting Tennessee (Sept. 21), California (Sept. 28), Washington State (Oct. 19), UCLA (Oct. 26), Utah (Nov. 16) and Oregon State (Nov. 29) as its only weekday home game (Friday) of the regular season.
The Ducks will play at Nevada (Sept. 7), Colorado (Oct. 5), Washington (Oct. 12), Stanford (Nov. 7) and Arizona (Nov. 23).
The Pac-12 Conference Football Championship Game will again be played on the home field of the team with the best overall league record on Saturday, Dec. 7, and will be televised by either ABC or ESPN.
Oregon State finished 2012 ranked 19th in the USA Today Coaches Poll and 20th in The Associated Press Writers Poll. The Beavers are joined by UCLA among early projections for next season’s pre-season Top 25 speculation as the Bruins have represented the South Division in each of the first two conference championship games.
“Our Conference’s success this past season will be tested early in 2013 with a very competitive non-conference schedule,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott.
“Paired with a nine-game conference schedule and the Pac-12 Football Championship Game, I am confident that our collective strength of schedule is among the toughest in the nation.”
Missing from Oregon’s nine-game conference schedule for each of the next two seasons will be Arizona State and USC, while UCLA and Utah have been added to the schedule for the first time in three years.
It will mark the first time the Ducks and Utes have faced one another on the football field as league counterparts, although the two schools last squared off in 2009.
Game times for the Ducks’ entire 12-game schedule will be determined at a later date.
Oregon is coming off its third-straight 12-win season and a fourth-consecutive BCS bowl appearance after defeating Kansas State in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, 35-17.