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The 10 biggest Oregon games of the Kelly/Helfrich era

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The Ducks have gotten into some serious showdowns in the recent past, but none bigger than Monday's game.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

It has been a whirlwind past handful of seasons for Oregon and with the Ducks on the doorstep of their first ever national title, thought it would be a great time to look at the biggest games in Duck history in the Kelly/Helfrich era.

1. January 12, 2015 - CFP National Championship Game vs. Ohio State

The Ducks played for a national title in 2010, but they are the favorites this time and have had more than a week to build national attention after routing the defending national champion Seminoles in the Rose Bowl. Add in the fact that the inaugural College Football Playoff has captured the nation's sports fans and this will be the biggest stage ever taken on by the Ducks.

2. January 10, 2011 - BCS Championship  Game vs. Auburn

Coming off the program's still only undefeated regular season, the Ducks were red hot and facing an equally hot Auburn team with a similarly unstoppable offense in a game that would probably serve as the official national coming out party for the 2010s era Ducks. This one is hard for Duck fans to remember as they came so close to getting their first national championship a few years back against Cam Newton and the Tigers but came up just short in a 22-19 loss.

3. January 1, 2015 - Rose Bowl vs. Florida State

The buzz for this one was huge and for good reason. The past two Heisman winners faced off against each other, the first ever game in the College Football Playoff, undefeated defending national champions against maybe the nation's hottest team and best offense, the list was endless. The game would disappoint for pure excitement, but would do anything but disappoint Duck fans who got to see a near flawless performance from Oregon on a national stage in a 59-20 win.

4. November 11, 2011 - at Stanford

This was probably the pinnacle of the Oregon/Stanford rivalry with the hype going into the game reaching epic levels. The Ducks lost their opener against LSU, but won every game after that and Stanford came in undefeated, creating a virtual elimination game for the BCS Championship with both teams ranked in the Top 6. The Ducks would run away from Andrew Luck and the Cardinal in the second half and score what could arguably be their biggest in-conference win in school history with a 53-30 victory.

5. January 2, 2012 - Rose Bowl vs. Wisconsin

The pageantry of the Rose Bowl always adds a lot of luster to a game, even if it isn't quite as marquee of a match-up as some others. This match-up of Top 10 teams was billed as one of those classic speeds vs. power match-ups with the old school Badgers bringing in a big offensive line and Montee Ball and the Ducks the lightning of Chip Kelly, LaMichael James and De'Anthony Thomas. The Ducks would win despite a fantastic performance by Russell Wilson and get their first Rose Bowl win since 1917 winning 45-38.

6. September 3, 2011 - vs. LSU in Arlington, Texas (Cowboys Classic)

The Ducks followed up their BCS Championship Game near miss with another game against a highly-ranked SEC power, this time in the Jerry Dome in about as good of a non-conference match-up as you will ever see with Oregon coming in ranked third and LSU fourth. The Duck defense put up a great performance, but turnovers and an inability to get a run game going stalled the Ducks in a 27-40 loss.

7. January 1, 2010 - Rose Bowl vs. Ohio State

This was the national debut of Chip Kelly's high octane offense and a classic speed vs. strength match-up of Top 10 teams. The Ducks had a nearly unstoppable offense, but the Buckeyes had a stout defense led by Malcolm Jenkins and James Laurinaitis so the nation was watching to see which would win out in the Ducks' first trip to the Rose Bowl in 15 years. The Buckeye defense would stifle the early-Chip Kelly offense, control the ball and force Jeremiah Masoli to attempt to beat them with the pass with disastrous results for the Ducks in a 26-17 loss.

8. November 7, 2013 - at Stanford

You could make an argument that this was the pinnacle of the Oregon/Stanford rivalry as both teams came in ranked in the Top 6 and possessing serious national title chances, but Stanford had not looked that great coming into this game and almost nobody envisioned the Cardinal getting the win. Still, on paper and with a captive national spotlight on a Thursday night and 11 months of hype, this was quite a big one. This would end up being one of the darkest games in the Kelly/Helfrich era as the Ducks struggled to score in the red zone and keep time of possession in check and the Cardinal held off a late Duck rally to win 26-20.

9. January 3, 2013 - Fiesta Bowl vs. Kansas State

Crazy to say it, but going to the Fiesta Bowl was a disappointment to the one-loss Ducks after 2012, but the game was still a big one for reasons beyond simply being a BCS match-up of two Top 10 teams. There had been nothing slightly official, but there seemed to be an air going in that this could be Chip Kelly's swan song as head coach of the Ducks, so there was extra attention on the Ducks sideline in Tempe. The speculation would end up being correct and, as expected the Ducks cruised past an overwhelmed Kansas State team 35-17 to get their second-straight BCS bowl win.

10. December 5, 2014 - Pac-12 Championship Game vs. Arizona

The script set up perfectly for the Ducks to grab redemption against the eighth-ranked Wildcats and get to the Playoff. The most highly-anticipated Pac-12 Championship Game to date, most thought that Arizona had a solid shot at upsetting the Ducks again since the Wildcats had taken the past two meetings between the Ducks and them and employed a nearly identical style of play. That would not be the case though as the Ducks destroyed Arizona in a 51-13 romp.

Others considered

October 31, 2009 - USC

December 3, 2009 - Oregon State

October 2, 2010 - Stanford

November 17, 2012 - Stanford

September 6, 2014 - Michigan State