It’s more than six months from football season and critics are already predicting Heisman candidates, national champs and top-25’s. For Oregon, it seems, respect will not be given, it must be earned. Mark Schlabach recently dispensed his ‘Way Too Early Top 25’, and the Ducks sit in the five-spot. Placed in front of Oregon are some obvious candidates for the 2012 National Title – Alabama, Stanford, Ohio State and Texas A&M. But why no love for the Ducks, who seem to finish in the top-5 every year? Chip left – that’s why.
There is no doubt that Oregon must earn its ranking this year. The Ducks are viewed as a system-team that can’t equal Alabama or Ohio State based solely on talent. Instead, scheme is the sole reason Oregon wins. The heavily used explanation as a ‘gimmick offense’ just simply isn’t valid and without Chip Kelly this year the Ducks must prove it.
Kelly was an offensive guru no doubt, but head coach Mark Helfrich isn’t getting any love. Sure he is a nice guy and everyone senses his sincerity, but can he really keep the Duck train plowing? Who knows how the nation truly views Oregon heading in to the 2013 season, but the Ducks will quickly teach each opponent a valuable lesson – we are still ‘Mighty Oregon.’ Going undefeated and appearing in a BCS National Championship will assuredly silence the haters.