Even Computers Agree
Oregon's Nation's Best
By Fred Delkin
University of Oregon's #1 ranking is now unanimous, with even the BCS computers now
certifying the Ducks' as leader of the Division I gridiron pack, after their destruction of Southern
California on the Trojans' home turf. Oregon is loaded with depth and talent, but the real key to
Ducks' success is conditioning...they practice at the same breakneck pace they show in gams and
their no-huddle offense wears opponents out by the fourth quarter. Their mental attitude is a Chip
Kelly accomplishment...they lay back in the first half, analyze what their foe is doing, and then
adjust accordingly. They go into each fray focused only on that contest, not what's happened
before or what's coming next...and that is a major coaching triumph with emotional young men.
Webfoot sophomore running back LaMichael James bolstered his Heisman credentials with a
239-yard, three TD performance, his 15th 100-yard rushing act for the Ducks. Another soph, QB
Darron Thomas, outdid SC signal-calling phenom Matt Barkley with 19 completions in 32
throws for 288 yards. Oregon receiver Jeff Maehl snared eight passes for 145 yards and three
scores. Star UO defensive tackle, 6-7 Brandon Bear, not only harassed Trojan QB Barkley
relentlessly, but switched to offense for one play, catching a pass to add two points to the Ducks'
first foray into the SC end zone.
Last week, Pigskin was 5-1, with his crystal ball perfect on Pac10 matchups, but failing to
forecast another Portland State defeat while hosting Eastern Washington. Viking coach Nigel
Burton couldn't motivate his deteriorating defense, and saw starting QB Connor Kavanaugh go
down with a first half injury.
WASHINGTON at OREGON This week, Washington's Huskies limp into Autzen Stadium
with no hope of derailing the Webfoot Express. Dawg QB Jake Locker is sidelined with broken
ribs and a weak UW defense won't be a factor. OREGON by 35.
ARIZONA STATE at USC Southern Cal should bounce back by hosting Arizona State, with the
Sun Devils unable to match the Trojan talent, particularly when the latter should be fuming over
the Oregon result. We call it USC by 21.
ARIZONA at STANFORD Arizona remains a title possibility in Pac10 play, but that will be
erased with the Wildcats' visit to Stanford. Jim Harbaugh has mentored his Cardinal charges to
an impressive record to date, even pushing the Ducks to their best. There is no finer
signal-caller in Division I ranks than Andrew Luck, who should be the winning difference in this
one. STANFORD by 7.
OREGON STATE at UCLA the Beavers routed California with a daunting defensive show, and
expect to excel on both sides of the ball in their Rowe Bowl visit. Bruin coach Ricky Neuheisel
hasn't the talent at his command to worry the Orange & Black. OREGON STATE by 14.
CALIFORNIA at WASHINGTON STATE the Bears must replace an injured QB, but still have
enough to outman the sorriest squad in the conference. We can't imagine that Cougar coach Paul
Wulff will survive after this season, particularly since the conference is expanding with an
upgrade next fall. The Cougs should be praying for an early winter in the Palouse to bother the
Bears. CAL by 14.
PORTLAND at SACRAMENTO STATE based on each team's performance to date, this
appears a tossup. If Viking coach Burton has laid enough wood on his underperforming charges,
they might have a positive response. PORTLAND STATE by 1.
ROSES & RASPBERRIES ... posies to all who believe Oregon will play in the Fiesta Bowl Jan.
10 and earn the national championship...no plaudits are possible for anyone still harboring doubts
that 2011 will merge from a Fiesta win into another glorious regular season...we and all all rabid
Webfoot fans deserve a raspberry for thinking ahead...just ask Chip Kelly!
© 2010 Oregon Magazine