Quack, Quack, Quack.
Since head coach Chip Kelly took over in Eugene, the Ducks have taken it to the their PAC-12 foes, year in and year out. An eye popping 34-6 under Kelly, Oregon has brought a new speed to the Pacific Northwest, speed which is usually reserved for those of the Southeast Conference. Whether it was former Ducks quarterbacks Jeremiah Masoli and Darron Thomas, or even current Ducks signal callers Bryan Bennett and Marcus Mariota, the Ducks offense is sure to be high-flying under Kelly.
Despite the departure of the previously mentioned Thomas, and super-back LaMichael James, the 2012 Ducks come into this season with some punishable speed, again. Senior runing back Kenjon Barner returns to Oregon coming off a season in which he averaged 6.2 yards per carry finishing just 61 yards shy of a 1,000-yard rushing season, while splitting time with a slew of Oregon backs. Also returning is, Heisman hopeful, sophomore running back De'Anthony Thomas. Why the buzz around Thomas? In 2011, as a freshman, Thomas punished the PAC-12 scoring 18 all-purpose touchdowns. In 55 rushing attempts, Thomas found the endzone 7-times while putting up close to six-hundred yards. Even more impressive is Thomas' play in open space, 46-catches, nine-touchdowns. Despite the quarterback competition still under way between Bennett and Mariota, ask yourselves this question; With Thomas and Barner in the backfield, does it matter?!?!
The road ahead . . . A pre-season No. 5 ranking, the Ducks are sure to be heavy favorites in their first five games of 2012, including PAC-12 games vs. Arizona and a road trip to Pullman against the Cougars of Washington State. The real fact of the matter is, Oregon doesn't play a ranked opponent till November 3rd and their titanic trip to Southern California to play the 'Men of Troy,' who have created more preseason buzz than ever heard of. If Oregon and Chip Kelly wanted to make a statement that they not only are the class of the PAC-12, but that they aren't just a flash-in-the-pan, they're going to have to do it through USC.
Our Call: PAC-12 North Champions (10-2)