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ESPN College GameDay at Cowboys Classic
Wednesday, Ma
y 18, 5:15 p.m. PT

It doesn’t take place for 108 days, but the anticipation leading up to the 2011 Cowboys Classic between Oregon and LSU began the day the matchup was announced. It’s been long known that the season opener for both schools will kick off at 5 p.m. PT in front of a national television audience on ABC, but word came down this week that ESPN’s College GameDay will also originate from the Cowboys Stadium complex on Saturday, Sept. 3.

Shocker, I know, considering the Ducks’ final two games of last season – and four overall – were ‘GameDay’ stops as well. But just in case you needed additional proof of the magnitude of this matchup between a pair of teams that will undoubtedly be ranked among the top 5 in the nation heading into the season, the presence of Chris, Kirk and the crew should solidify it.

Not that anything will ever top Chip Kelly’s Halloween appearance on the GameDay set in 2009, but the UO skipper and his Tigers’ coaching counterpart Les Miles have both been in California this week presumably shooting promos for the show.

Linebacker Casey Matthews was the lone Duck drafted into the NFL this year, and he had to listen to 115 names called before his was announced by the Philadelphia Eagles more than halfway through the fourth round.

But 2011 is likely to be an anomaly as UO averaged 4.25 draftees per season between 2006 and ’10, and three Ducks that will be draft-eligible next year are among the top 60 according to senior analyst Gil Brandt.

Last year’s leading rusher in the FBS and Doak Walker Award winner LaMichael James is ranked 35th (which would translate to the third pick in Round 2), cornerback Cliff Harris is 43rd and tight end David Paulson comes in at No. 60.

Of the three, only Paulson will have exhausted his eligibility following the 2011 season. James will be a redshirt junior and Harris will be a true junior this fall.

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