It has not been even two years since Cam Newton and the Auburn Tigers won the 2011 BCS National Championship, and yet, so much has changed.
Newton is now a second-year NFL star with the Carolina Panthers while the Auburn Tigers are struggling to keep up pace with the rest of the SEC. Michael Dyer, once a budding college football running back made famous by his controversial and infamous run in the Title Game, is now playing for Arkansas Baptist College.
Auburn, having to replace its top players in the past year and half, has fallen completely off the map. The former champs are 1-3 in 2012, with their only win coming in the form of a 31-28 overtime victory against Cinderella program, University of Louisiana-Monroe.
Oh how things can change in the blink of an eye.
Yet, amidst all of the change that has occurred since the 2011 BCS National Championship, one thing has remained constant; the Oregon Ducks are a college football powerhouse.
Since their 22-19 final-second loss to the Auburn Tigers, the Ducks have not skipped a beat as they have remained atop the college football rankings.
Not only did the Ducks win their first Rose Bowl since 1917 after a 2011 campaign that saw them lose just two games (LSU, USC), Oregon has remained atop the college football world in 2012 despite the loss of key weapons such as LaMichael James and Darron Thomas.
Currently ranked No. 2 in both the AP Top 25 and USA Today Coaches Poll, should the Ducks stay strong throughout the rest of the year, they will be playing in their second BCS National Championship in a span of three season.
And, when they emerge from college football’s most sacred ground this January, Oregon will be walking away as National Champions for the first time in their football program’s history.
Here are the reasons why.
It can be argued that sinceChip Kellytook over as Head Coach of the Oregon football program, the Ducks have been one of the most consistent teams in the nation.
Appearing in three straight BCS games (two losses, one victory), the Ducks have clearly established themselves as a dominant powerhouse, even with personnel change on both sides of the ball throughout the years.
This year is no different than any other.
While the Ducks did return a bevy of starters on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, the way players like Marcus Mariota, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Keanon Lowe, and Bralon Addison have stepped into their roles has proven just how efficient Chip Kelly’s football program is.
Though there are surely talented players that will be more successful than others, Kelly’s system has allowed for players to rotate into playing time and be successful right out of the gate.
Three straight years of reaching a BCS Bowl Game while also being one of the best college football teams in the country.
Chip Kelly has always had weapons on his team, but this year the Ducks seem even more loaded than in previous years.
Aforementioned players such as Mariota, Ekpre-Olomu, Lowe, and Addison have all contributed significantly to drawing attention away from other players and having opposing teams key in on them, thus resulting in the Ducks being more explosive than ever.
Both De’Anthony Thomas and Kenjon Barner have a lot more room to work with this season as Oregon’s emerging weapons have attracted a lot of attention from opposing defenses in recent weeks.
With so many standout and talented players on both sides of the ball, it is no wonder the Ducks are one of the best programs in the nation.
Oregon’s 2010 defense, the year they went to the BCS National Championship, was amazing. They were fast, they played hard, and they could hold their own against the top offensive teams in the country.
As good as that defense was, Oregon’s 2012 defense is even better.
While the Ducks have given up a fair share of yards in the second half of games, that is more a consequence of Oregon already securing the lead than it is of their defense playing poorly.
Not only is Oregon’s defense fast and vicious, the Duck defense is extremely physical and can create a turnover at any moment.
In their young 2012 season, the Ducks shutout the fast attack of the Arizona Wildcats, and impressive feat considering that Arizona has been putting up some pretty big numbers this season.
With a more than stout defense aiding their offense, the Ducks look more than primed for a BCS National Championship run.