The Odds of Oregon Winning the Pac-12 Conference from the Experts

OregonReigns Editorials 51 Comments

Despite the growing concern over COVID-19 across America, the PAC-12 Conference will begin on November 6th, 2020. While that is a late start, it is not without the same questions and anticipation that would occur with a start two months earlier.

Can Oregon overcome the virus risks and defeat the conference foes to win the Pac-12 title? Some talented teams will face the Ducks and the odds of winning are not what we would usually think.

Other sporting competitions are now beginning to allow their games to go ahead, so clearly many in the sporting industry are of the same stance; taking appropriate precautions that will enable the competitions to take place and keep everyone happy.

Seven Games, Seven Odds

The schedule for the PAC-12 conference has been updated and released, giving everyone a timeline for the games ahead. The entire decision to commence football is a sharp contrast to the decision made in August, which suspended sporting events until 2021 as a precaution. The first game for Oregon will take place on November 7th, where Stanford will play against the Ducks on their home turf of Eugene. 

Eugene Johnson

CJ Verdell knows the thrill of winning a Pac-12 Championship.

The all-important PAC-12 Championship Game will take place on December 18th. The venue hasn’t been decided yet, but the hope is that it will take place on home field for Oregon if the Ducks establish the best conference record in the first six games. Oregon had strong odds to emerge as the favorites for winning the PAC-12 conference in 2020 after winning the PAC-12 championship in the 2019 season, and a Rose Bowl win has certainly helped to establish the team as having a strong opening position. 

The conference coaches have come out and voted for the Ducks to defend their conference title this year, but what do the professionals who deal in such odds believe? I am fascinated by the odds they set and the reasoning behind them, and am often surprised how often they are more accurate than those in the profession of coaching and competing against teams in the Pac-12.

As it stands, Oregon are sitting at +220 to win, followed closely by USC at +250 and Washington at +280. The three are the firm favorites across the bookies, with other teams’ odds dropping off sharply: Washington State is at +1400, UCLA at +2000, Stanford at +5000 and Oregon State at +8000.

Oregon: Primed to Win?

At first glance, it looks a lot like Oregon is primed to win the PAC-12 Championship for the second year running. This is naturally a bit of a cause for celebration among the players and fans. The confidence of the bookies is a welcome morale boost, but Oregon does have more going for them than that. A big factor for Oregon is that a number of the games being played over the coming weeks are going to take place in the state of Oregon. 

Tom Corno

Travis Dye returns with experience and a jump-cut!

Out of the six organized and locked-in games, four of them play in Oregon. This home-field advantage is good for morale. Every team performs better at home, since it’s the same place they’ve trained at, and the environment they know inside and out. So home field gives a chance for a stronger performance.

Now obviously, because of the current restrictions on sporting events, the stadiums themselves will be empty. The fans can’t be there to support the team, but at the same time, Oregon will be surrounded by fans watching from home. The stadium may not be packed to the rafters, but the state itself is. The absence of the distractions of traveling will help, too, even with the short trip to Corvallis on Thanksgiving weekend.

A Team Built for a COVID Season?

A new offensive line and new starting quarterback at Oregon could keep the scoring average of the offense low in the early part of the season. Add to that how sunny days with comfortable temperatures will be unknown to this team playing in the Pacific Northwest in November and December. While this inexperience on offense coupled with rainy, windy days could hold the points down for the Ducks, it may not be the issue it would have been in the past.

Tom Corno

Travis Dye scoots for a nice gain through a Husky hole…

On offense … Coach Mario Cristobal has built a run identity made for chewing up clock and working well in adverse weather. Offensive Coordinator Joe Moorhead dealt with cold weather at Penn State and knows his offense can handle the challenges. But the biggest difference is what the Ducks return on defense. Even with the departure of Thomas Graham, Brady Breeze and Jevon Holland, Oregon’s defense has rarely had so much talented experience return as it has this year.

The defensive line has seniors Jordon Scott and Austin Faoliu returning. These two, along with proven talent in Kayvon Thibodeaux, Pop Aumavae and Mase Funa bring a depth to the defense that Duck fans scarcely ever see. Defensive Coordinator Andy Avalos will have another step up of improvement in his new defense, and the timing is perfect to keep the games close in this shortened season.

Oregon might just be built for this unique season for the first time in … ever?

Tom Corno

Jordon Scott makes it hard to run inside…

The mentality of the players is an important consideration as well, because as a team, they have had a taste of big games and big victories. They have also experienced losses that should not have happened, so their mental strength will be the strongest in many years as they will fight to avoid repeating those mishaps. That fighting spirit grounded in game experience can be a big element in close games, as this team grew significantly in the past two years at becoming a winner.

The margin the bookies give Oregon to win the conference is modest, but the Ducks are the favorite because Cristobal created a team that can overcome the mental and physical barriers that materialize when the games approach “crunch-time.” I can hardly wait for it to get started!

OregonReigns
Lakeside, Oregon
Top Photo by Tom Corno

Bob Rodes, the FishDuck.com Volunteer editor for this article, is an IT analyst, software developer and amateur classical pianist in Manchester, Tennessee.

 

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Charles Fischer

All this Talk for YEARS, and The FishDuck Forum is Finally Coming SOON!

The Our Beloved Ducks forum will be released and available on Friday, October 23rd, so all of us can discuss the daily items of Oregon Sports, and do so in our safe environment unlike anywhere else.

I do not have time needed to manage the daily articles,…and I do not have time to put together the “full-package” of features I had planned for the site right now as explained right here.

But I do need my daily “Duck-Fix” and love this community, and I can give the smaller expenditure of time required for a forum.

The timing is good with fall camp starting and it will be up in time for the upcoming beginning of Football Season and the Oregon Sports Overload!

More news about it coming later,

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(We will publish articles every day up to the release date of the new forum!)

Last edited 5 days ago by Charles Fischer
30Duck

https://twitter.com/Brett_McMurphy/status/1316466684602052613

NCAA Council approves proposal to allow 1-time transfers in all sports w/out sitting out a season & will vote on it January for final approval, sources told @Stadium
. If approved, as expected, would be effective Aug. 1, 2021

https://twitter.com/Brett_McMurphy/status/1316467221351325698

NCAA officially approves giving additional year of eligibility to all winter sport athletes.

Charles Fischer

This will have quite a trickle effect upon recruiting new freshmen and on the other end of graduate transfers. Thanks for posting it.

David Marsh

Saban just tested positive for Covid… It will be interesting to see how this effects the game against georgia on Saturday.

Charles Fischer

Whoa! Can you imagine all the people he has been around? HIM in quarantine for a week or so? Biggest game of the season for him?

Sorry, but I cannot help but laugh my head off…. (SEC was much smarter than the Pac-12!)

Jon Sousa

He is not suspended from the game… He just can´t go to it. That doesn´t mean that he won´t be calling a bunch of the shots.

Totally with you at LMHO.

30Duck

This could have Steve Sarkisian in charge at Alabama.

David Marsh

I think Sark is probably on his way to a new head coaching job in a year or two anyways… if COVID wasn’t a factor I’d put money on this being his last year at Bama.

Now if he is in charge of Bama this saturday and they post a win against Georgia he is definitely getting a new head coaching gig.

UtahDuck

I may be wrong but I heard sark was offered the Colorado job before dorrell and turned it down. I think their are teams that have offered him but he is smart in his play he will likely land at a good university

Charles Fischer

He might be the example of coach who learned a lot from his first job as HC, and then progressed into a much better one? It will be interesting to see where he lands later…

CjAllen180

I think that Oregon and USC are unquestionably the two most talented teams on the West Coast. Having said that, I’ve never seen a school do less with more quite like USC has the past few years, so forgive me for not buying the hype. Lol

ASU is the school from the South that has me concerned. We all learned the hard way last year that they CANNOT be underestimated, or there will be a price to pay, specifically a big, fat L.

I’m extremely biased towards those beloved Ducks of mine, but I think it’s Oregon’s conference to lose.

Last edited 5 days ago by CjAllen180
Charles Fischer

Oregon Awarded 2024-27 NCAA Track and Field Championships

Beginning in 2021, Hayward Field at the University of Oregon will serve as the host site for six of the next seven NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

EUGENE, Ore. – The University of Oregon will host the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships from 2024 through 2027, as announced Wednesday by the NCAA. Hayward Field at the University of Oregon will now serve as the host site for six of the next seven NCAA Championships having previously been awarded the meet for 2021 and 2022.

The Ducks most recently hosted the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships in 2018, marking the 16th time the national meet was held in Eugene. Oregon first hosted the NCAA meet in 1962.

“We appreciate the opportunity the NCAA has awarded us to host the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships from 2024 through 2027. It is another opportunity to once again provide an incredible student-athlete experience at Hayward Field, the finest track and field facility in the world,” said University of Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens.

“The Eugene-Springfield community, TrackTown USA, loves this event and provides unparalleled support for track and field championships, and passionate track fans attending championship events at Hayward Field have always provided an unrivaled atmosphere for elite competitors. We look forward to hosting this marquee event in six of the next seven years, beginning in 2021, and we know these championships will continue to produce many powerful and memorable moments.”

Upcoming NCAA Championships at Hayward Field
2021: June 9-12, 2021
2022: June 8-11, 2022
2024: June 5-8, 2024
2025: June 11-14, 2025
2026: June 10-13, 2026
2027: TBA

“We are always excited to get a chance to host the NCAA Championships at Hayward Field,” Oregon head coach Robert Johnson said. “The NCAA meet has become such a showcase event for our university and the city of Eugene. The fans are so invested and knowledgeable, and always help create an unbelievable atmosphere and experience for all student-athletes competing at the meet.”

The 2021 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships will be the mark the Ducks’ first national hosting duties at the newly renovated Hayward Field. Between 2010 and 2018, Oregon hosted the NCAA Championships at Hayward Field seven times and drew more than 40,000 fans over the four-day event on each occasion.

Inspired by the setting of Hayward Field, there have been 10 current collegiate records set in Eugene including nine set at an NCAA Championships meet.

The University of Texas, the scheduled host for the cancelled 2020 meet, was awarded the NCAA Championships for the 2023 season.

In addition to upcoming NCAA Championships, Hayward Field is set to host the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in 2021 (June 18-27) and the World Athletic Championships in 2022 (July 15-24).

For more news and information about Oregon Track and Field, follow @OregonTF on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

duckcardinal

While the Ducks have recruited reasonably well sans Hayward, they’ve missed on a number of elite T&F athletes over the past two recruiting cycles.

With the shiny new jewel version of Hayward, it will be interesting to see if Coach Johnson et al. will be able to channel their inner Dana Altman and reel in some high end transfers (grad & regular) over the next nine months and boost Top Ten potential for the M&W teams into National Championship contenders.

Charles Fischer

If he cannot recruit to Oregon now….then no excuses. We should be back in the ‘Natty hunt soon, and I hope he can recruit as well as the Powells did.

UtahDuck

I want to mention Moorhead a lot more. While I will say FishDuck has never been a Marcus Arroyo sympathizer I have at times thought that while here he was trying to limit either the mistakes of Herbert or the injury to Herbert. I think we all new Arroyo could script a drive(How many games started with a TD but then went 2-3 quarters before the next TD) but I think as Herbert has easily transitioned to the NFL we need to reevaluate the last two years of play calling.

I truly now think we made a massive upgrade at OC, we probably lost a bottom 25 play caller and gained a top 20 OC. Sure I expect to see some of the same concepts and see Cristobal’s desire to run will still be implemented.

don’t get me wrong I always thought it was an upgrade, and I often thought Arroyo was poor but to see how badly he wasted herbert’s arm talent is impressive to me. Not to mention Watching Herbert make reads a lot quicker and maintaing a much higher standard of mechanics and you can tell Arroyo was a terrible QB coach as well.

I understand a new Oline is not indicative of a good offense but I expect this offense to preform at or better than the last two years. (and for goodness sake I expect to see a lot less dumb screens)

30Duck

https://twitter.com/AndrewNemec/status/1316406098736209920

The Ducks are #1 in combined MBB and football recruiting classes.

Last edited 5 days ago by 30Duck
duckcardinal

Loved the subsequent posts on that twitter feed; particularly the 5′ video of Colin Cowherd on Herbie.

Haywarduck

One thing you don’t note is that ASU is at +1000 and Utah is at +700, 4th and 5th respectively. We have to win the north and the Devils and the Utes may be our opponent for the championship.

If the devils start hot they could run the thing too.

Too many aren’t factoring in the Helton impact. Most think SC is going to be better than they actually are, much like Notre Dame.

With that in mind the frontrunner, Oregon, often doesn’t live up to the hype either. I think it will all hinge on the O-line play. We need to get the starters figured out and create some unity amongst the big boys early. A well tuned O-line can make a decent qb look amazing and the same for the RB. A few mistakes by the O-line and you are looking at your third string qb. The talent is there, lets go O-line!

UtahDuck

I’m going to disagree with you here. I think we can both agree that Col, AZ, and UCLA are non contenders. Either due to terrible coaching(AZ and UCLA) or the sheer amount of coaching turnover(COL).

Let’s discuss the other three teams. Whether we like it or not USC is the best overall per star rating team in the conference and they will win games in spite of Helton but what about the other two teams.

Utah: Lots going on, first they lost 9 starters on their defense and while Whitingham never puts together bad d’s it will not be remotely comparable to the last two years. Second on offense the losses of huntley and moss are incredible. Moss lead since PFF started tracking college Yards after contact. Utah despite belief is not that great on the Oline and has really struggled in this factor. if Moss hadn’t been able to pick up the yards for them they would be in massive trouble. also on point last year Utah ‘upgraded’ to Ludwig at OC. you know what this lead to more 3rd and long situations in which huntley played superhero. Neither of these are repeatable or manufacturable. Utah should expect a drop in all major statistics.

What to like the best coaching in the entire pac 12 south

ASU: let’s talk about losses, they lost three of their Oline from their 105th ranked sacks allowed ranked Oline last year. They lost LT, LG and RG. who did they bring in, a back up from Texas A&M(ranked 104th in sacks allowed) and a back up from stanford(85th ranked) I want to make this clear two of their three replacements will be back ups on teams who were ranked in the bottom 50%…

They also lose their number one receiver in Brandon Aiyuk. who went first round in the nfl draft and they lost their bellcow in eno benjamin. while I often think it is easier to replace Skill positions than an Oline. no team can expect the replacement to be as good as an outgoing nfl draft pick, especially with no spring and and reduced fall. also when you add in that Elijah Badger was deemed ineligible for the year for the fact that he didn’t actually meet NCAA requirements and they lose one of two potential freshman WR’s.

Lastly ASU, replaced both coordinators from a season ago. arguably they both underperformed and it was the right call but instrumentally this is a difficult task to manage as a head coach. coordinators bring in their own language own system and creates a lot backend work that teams have to get used to. Id expect to see alignment issues and to many players on the field.

Also and I want to say this bluntly as we shouldn’t discredit the win over oregon but look at their record last year without it. Lost to colorado, Utah, Ucla, USC and OST. the only team in their division they managed to beat was Arizona. they pulled together a 4 game losing streak in the middle of the season and eked out a win against headcoachless FSU with a pick 6.

What to like – Jayden daniels is a really good college QB, he doesn’t make many self inflicted mistakes and has a knack for getting out of a collapsed pocket. He isn’t elite in pretty much any measurable but is a better game manager than most QB’s and has decent feet. I also think Herm is better than Originally expected, he will do a significantly better job than Helton in coaching his team.

I think this relegates to the prolific statement “it’s not the X’s and O’s but the Jimmys and joes.” I think Helton is the worst head coach bar maybe Sumlin. I think his teams often are underdeveloped and are not sound teams but this is college football and the same reason alabama wins every year will be why USC does. they have the guys.

Haywarduck

It isn’t my opinion I quote, it is the oddsmakers. Oregon Reigns left out the expected 4th and 5th place finishers, by the oddsmakers. The 5th place team could upset the 2nd in the first game and blow it all up.

My opinion is sc is way over rated year after year, as is ND. The reason Alabama wins and sc loses is discipline, plain and simple. If you look at the sideline and the field you see over 80 talented individuals on the sc football program. I don’t see a team or anyone that listens to Helton. It reminds me of Helrich’s last year, except the talent level.

UtahDuck

Sure but you are trying to use the odd makers as your opinion that Utah and ASU should be close seconds. And yes it is possible for a number 3 to beat a number 1. I don’t know what the odds were but in 2016 Colorado was projected to be 6th by the pac12 media and the won their division. So while it is possible and I agree USC consistently underperforms and they will again this year I am giving reason as to why I still think they deserve the number one seed in the south.

Also I am not one to like ND, truthfully I couldn’t care about them but why are we kicking on them. Brian Kelly has given ND 3 back to back 10 win seasons. Yeah they haven’t been the Elite team since the Mid 80’s but I see no reason why they don’t go 8-2 this year.

while i think Helton is an inept coach comparing him to Helfrich isn’t quite accurate. Name a single fight or scuffle you heard of coming from USC in the last three years. if you search USC player arrested it only brings up the gamecocks. And while he still keeps some terrible coaches around I do think Harrell is a decent hire. Also look at their recruiting, even last class(Which was 12th in the pac) had 4th ranked per average rating.

I’ll agree they lack discipline. I’ll agree that Helton won’t coach his players up. I’ll agree that he can not adjust his game plans. I just don’t think it matters, the pac 12 south is going to be one of the worst divisions in college football.

Utah football since joining the pac 12 has done this ebb and flow, two or three ‘bad’ years(7-6/8-5) then a double digit season. following which they get a lot of players drafted/graduate and then the drop. previous example in 2017 had 8 players drafted, that season they went 3-6 in conference. they just had 7 players drafted…

And ASU has had one season above 6-3 in the pac 12 era they are on a run of 5-4/4-5 seasons. As I noted above their Oline is pure garbage, and between a number of “fillers” and learning a new offense this season they will be drastically behind. Herm isn’t an elite coach, he isn’t an Elite CEO coach that he talks about. he is about as average as graham

Will Helton lose a game they shouldn’t, sure. but his players will be fired up to play ASU they have a significant talent advantage and it’ll be too much to overcome. ASU has fired its last three head coaches and it’ll happen again with Herm, the fans think they have an elite qb, he will keep putting up 8/9 win seasons at best and Herm will be fired.

I get the Helton is a bad coach, I get that USC has underperformed since the 70’s except for under Carroll of which half of that was vacated… Is it in the water, is it the AD not hiring competent HC’s who knows but USC has the players to always be a threat. also USC has either won the division or placed 2 since helton was named head coach all but one time.

30Duck

Hayward, you nailed it again with your last two sentences.

Charles Fischer

World class post, Utah. Superb research and reasoning and I do not think it diminishes Hayward’s thoughts, but enhances them.

I learned a ton from you–thanks. (Now if we could something about that pesky punctuation…) :)

UtahDuck

Half the time I type from my phone and it is hard enough to edit from their haha. The other half is english is not my forte and at least some of us people can be good at numbers right?

Jon Joseph

And believe me when it comes to #s, some of ‘us’ aren’t.

30Duck

Truth all over there, Hayward Duck. The O-line is the single most important part of a football team; the greatest QB, RB, WR, all are dependent on how well the O-line is performing. Sun Devils hot is plausible, and a lot of us will be up early to watch the first game at 9.

The “Helton Impact”, Notre Dame. It’s really hard to think of a time when either the the Trojans or the Domers were dismissed, only to exceed expectations. Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State have done a lot of winning, so their high rankings are logical. Why SC and ND are extended the same respect doesn’t calculate.

Jon Joseph

Teflon Helton? Missing both Bama and ND in 2020 likely means the guy is back for another season.

David Marsh

I agree… I am NOT buying USC. There is a lot of hype around the 2021 USC class but this year USC’s freshman class is 12 with only 2 four stars and was dead last in the Pac-12 recruiting rankings. Freshman vary in how much they impact a program from year to year but USC has suffered some opt outs. USC’s big problem from “reclaiming glory” is repeatedly injuries and their overall LACK of depth. That was USC’s downfall last year.

So the hype around USC this year I’m not buying. A couple injuries and they may have to bring out some freshman who won’t be ready for prime time and that’s the season.

I could be wrong…

ASU and Utah I think have a better chance at taking the South. However, I don’t feel confident any southern division champion will make it 6-0.

Jon Joseph

And with Daniels gone, if Slovis goes down as he has before?

Jon Sousa

Not buying USC is a safe choice, especially for the depth reason. I disagree at least somewhat with the thinking that the USC coaching is suspect.

USC COULD go undefeated. UO COULD go undefeated. So could ASU. All three of them could also lose one or two.

It’s why they play the games.

Jon Joseph

Good point Jon. 1 of SC/ASU cannot, of course, go undefeated. ASU at USC in the opening game could turn out to deciding the S title?

Oregon’s schedule sets up far better than does SC’s and ASU’s. I love that OR does not play CAL until game 5 and UW in game 6.

BigDucksFan

Outside of Arizona State USC’s strength of schedule is like nothing. Just win the first game and they can walk in.

Jon Joseph

SC did draw WSU, but it is at WSU where Troy has struggled. I think at Utah may also be a challenge?

BigDucksFan

I thought Utah lost a lot of guys this year and had to kind of start again. USC has a good QB so my thinking is it’s not a wash but also not that difficult for USC.

Drake

Winning all seven games is not going to be easy. The obvious reasons have been discussed regarding the offensive line, and QB. But, if defense wins championships, then the Ducks are rightfully the favorite.

On paper, the offense looks good. The lack of game experience for key components of our offense is the only X factor. If the game is close can our offense control the ball, or come from behind if necessary?

I am excited to find out.

Go Ducks

Jon Joseph

Today, you do of course need an adequate D, see Oklahoma, but I think the championship equation has turned more to the O side of the ball?

Drake

I like our chances on offense. An RPO offense with a mobile QB that can throw, RB’s that can catch balls out of the backfield, and receivers that can keep the D from stacking the box. Should be fun to watch.

duckcardinal

And experienced depth @ QB. If your starter is knocked out of two games, that’s a third of your season.

Jon Joseph

Indeed. Can’t wait for the Ducks to tee it up. Then, go 2 under par with a 7-0.

Santa Rosa Duck

Thanks OregonReigns. Oregon has a good shot this year but not a cakewalk. Everything is different, starting the season when we are close to wrapping up. No fans will be strange. Good point in less travel. Just 24 days and we will see how a late season works hopefully avoiding the Corona Virus. Starting to feel real. GO DUCKS!

BigDucksFan

Thanks for the article OregonReigns. You show the nice attitude that most Duck fans have right now.

However let me point out a few facts to temper that just a little.

When you said the Ducks are the favorite because Cristobal created a team that can overcome the mental and physical barriers I have to point out it was just last season that the Ducks lost to Arizona State because of a mental letdown. This was a game they should have won but it was clear that Cristobal had not prepared them mentally enough to win. A win of this game would have put them in the national playoffs. This loss does not bode much that Cristobal can mentally prepare the team at “crunch-time”.

Also one has to note that no offensive player has taken a game snap under the present offensive scheme. Familiarity and game experience with this offensive scheme is not there right now. So far all the offensive game experience these players know has been theory with no practical experience except in a very controlled environment, the practice field. Games are not won on the practice field but on the field of play against players of the opposing schools, a much different environment made up of “fan cutouts in the stadium seats” at $50 a pop.

At the last minute our defensive has lost several highly experienced players and although this side of the ball will have what one might say is the least impact, it is still something to note. What our defensive once was going to be this season, is no longer.

With that said, I think for the most part you are correct in your article but maybe not to the extent one might wish. It is doable but not a cake walk.

Last edited 5 days ago by BigDucksFan
Jon Joseph

I agree BDF. Being odds-on to win the conference is nice, but is irrelevant (unless you have $ down) when the whistle blows.

It’s been a strange season so far. Other than for Georgia it appears that no team in the SEC can play D. If this trend carries over to the Pac-12, USC with the conference’s top returning QB and WRs could have the advantage? Actually, any team with a returning QB, like ASU and CAL is likely at least at the beginning of the season, to have a leg up?

We’ve also seen a lot of points put up in the ACC. Not so strange is Clemson continuing to look like one of the best teams in the country.

We witnessed a high scoring Red River Rivalry game last Saturday, but only because of 4 OTs. D’s in the B12 are playing much better than usual. OK ST at 3-0 is the only undefeated B12 team and it is all due to the Cowboys D.

And you are spot on BDF, when noting that under Mario to date we really don’t know, especially on the road, which Ducks team will show up. The team has all too often played down to the level of its competition.

A 2L Georgia team if both Ls are to an undefeated Bama team is going to have a heck of an argument for inclusion in the final 4. With the 10 game all SEC schedule, a case will be made for whichever SEC team comes in 2nd; even, a 3L team.

SEC teams will be playing many ranked opponents. Few of the Ducks conference opponents are likely to be top 25 ranked. Today, only Oregon at 12 and SC at 25, are AP ranked. This means that in order to have a valid argument for playoff consideration, the Ducks not only need to win but win impressively. Staggering around against Oregon State and a last drive win at WAZZU in 2020, is not going to impress the playoff committee.

However, going 7-0 with another conference title and a Fiesta Bowl win while the new starters get valuable experience before 2021 season? That would be A-OK in a season defined by COVID.

Thanks BDF and O R for your thoughts.

Mike West

I believe one of the factors being discounted at the moment is how the Oregon players overwhelmingly Avoided Covid infections. Speaks well to mental discipline (especially given far too many teams experienced a visit from the big so far).

Another is the raw talent that only USC matches.

The X factor is killer instinct. Apparently, Oregon’s new linebackers were let loose in the Spring and they were beasts when t came to racing expectations and demanding excellence all day, every day. We’ll see if that was true, and if so, will it translate to blowouts on the field. Oregon absolutely must perform like Chris Peterson’s BSU teams in the Mountain West—total blowouts.

Blowouts allow an opportunity to counter UGA’s reputation. By 5e way, I really believe UGA’s QB will be exposed Saturday. He throws well between the tackles downfield, but struggles with accuracy very deep and along the sidelines deep. Georgia has some Spread concepts, which is the only way to beat Bama’s defense. We’ll see if UGA attacks Bama’s weakness on defense, or stays with their downhill tendencies on offense.

I truly hope MC looks to drop 45 plus a game. No doubt the defense will be working on improving to the degree it can handle the lethal offenses it will face if they reach the playoffs (which means they should be working on plenty of shutouts in conference play).

Jon Joseph

So true, with a 7 game schedule, mostly against unranked teams, you best be blowing people out. MC is going to have to be ruthless.

I do think Bama wins Saturday but I will not be surprised if it is a 4th Q game. I think UGA’s D is that good. IF its D backs can hold up against the deep ball.

Bennett is a gamer. Keep the Dawgs in the game long enough?

But after last Saturday and after more than a few butt chaws, I expect the Bama D will be better prepared and it will not be facing the same up tempo O that had the Bama D on roller skates all game long.

David Marsh

Oregon’s culture has been phenomenal… from the sound of it as well the majority of players were able to keep their work outs going even when they weren’t on campus. It also sounds like players who lived close to each other (outside of Eugene) were meeting up and practicing.

That is just pure culture. Oregon is probably starting camp in a better spot than MOST programs, including several that are currently playing games.

30Duck

You know it’s always the Huskies with the leg up?

Jon Joseph

LOL! Are you certain the mascot isn’t female?

30Duck

Thanks for this look, OregonReigns, and BDF, I agree it’s not going to be a cakewalk. But, even with the departures of Sewell, Holland & Graham, I like what the Ducks bring back a lot. It’s not as big a statement as it would have been with everybody back, but I don’t see any other team I’d pick over the Ducks to win the conference.

That ASU game, 3rd & 16 in particular has to be part of the decision making process that Lenoir went through to come back this season. It sure was a teachable moment for the team; can’t ever let up, that’s what separates the great teams from the good.

Jon Joseph

I agree 30, I don’t see any roster in the conference superior to that of the Ducks. And I think it is a real scheduling bonus to play 4 games before playing at CAL and vs UW. Drawing UCLA instead of SC, cross-division, is also nice.

Interesting that the first conference game to kick off, at 9AM. ASU at USC, will likely decide the South Division?

The best shot for a PO berth, SC vs Oregon for the title with both teams ranked at 6-0.