We’re less than 12 hours away from Oregon’s 4th straight BCS bowl, and the Ducks aren’t only playing for the reputation of the team. With the lack of success this year and the last few years from PAC-12 teams in bowl games, Oregon is playing for the reputation of the PAC-12 as a whole, hoping to silence the critics that say that teams like the Ducks wouldn’t be able to compete in the more competitive conferences like the SEC.
From 2009-2011 PAC-12 teams have had the worst bowl record of any AQ conference in college football. Those teams have gone 6-12, and the results of the conference’s bowl games this year haven’t been stellar by any means. Preseason #1 USC lost to 6-7 Georgia Tech, and Stanford won the Rose Bowl but failed to put on that blowout performance that everyone expected would put them on the map. UCLA, the other team in the PAC-12 championship, was overpowered by Baylor and Oregon St. lost as well. All in all, the PAC-12 is a lousy 3-4 this year in bowl games.
The conference has been notorious for being top heavy, having been dominated by only a few key teams; however, Oregon has for the most part been a bright spot in the PAC-12 with the four straight BCS bowls and a national championship appearance. Oregon must go out and dominate Kansas St. on national television to undermine those who question the prestige of the PAC-12. The Ducks must put on the performance that Stanford failed to, and show the nation why Oregon football has become elite.