With three weeks of action in the books, the college football landscape is becoming clear. Clemson, LSU, Stanford and Ohio State, are all top teams, but a Sept. 14th victory in College Station validated Alabama’s claim as the consensus No. 1.
Oregon sits at No. 2, and Marcus Mariota is in the top-3 of everyones’ Heisman list. The stats have been nice (1100 yards, 11 TD’s combined rushing/passing), but the legitimacy of Mariota’s Heisman candidacy (and the Ducks’ title hopes) will be decided over a 26-day period in October and early-November.
The Ducks trial-through-fire begins October 12th, when the Ducks fly north to the Puppy Palace (aka new Husky Stadium) to play Heisman-hopeful QB Keith Price and No. 17 Washington. The Huskies play at Stanford the previous week, so this two-week span is make-or-break for their season, as well. Expect a stiff challenge from the Huskies, but the Ducks’ speed will be too much for their northerly neighbors.
The Ducks then host WSU and No. 13 UCLA, before traveling to Palo Alto for an ESPN Thursday night matchup with No. 5 Stanford. Assuming the Ducks handle WSU and Mariota outguns UCLA Heisman-hopeful Brett Hundley (he’s the real-deal), that Thursday night matchup will be a pivotal moment in the trajectory of Oregon football. If we win, we’re essentially a lock for a spot in the final BCS Championship game. If we lose . . . it’s just more fuel for the haters to say “Oregon football is a gimmick – what have they won? — yadda, yadda.”
Hopefully the Ducks run the table with the leadership and growth of No. 8, and he hoists the Heisman and a crystal football when the Ducks defeat ‘Bama, 43-35 in January.