The Oregon Ducks certainly have lofty expectations for their 2012 season.
And, while the season is still young, a blowout victory over the No. 22 Arizona Wildcats combined with an LSU close call against Auburn helped the Ducks realize their potential as they jumped the Tigers and now sit in the number two position in the AP Poll.
Though the AP Poll does not figure in the BCS National Championship chase, the ranking should give the Ducks greater attention by the media, thus allowing the rest of the nation to see the great team that the Duck faithful have witnessed in 2012.
So, what makes the Ducks the best candidate for the number two team in the nation?
High Flying Ducks
Oregon has scored 40 points or more in all of its games, averaging 52.8 points per game, making them fourth in the nation in that category.
Just like previous offenses under Oregon Head Coach Chip Kelly, this Ducks team is relentless on the offensive side of the ball and can score on just about any play. Players like De’Anthony Thomas, Kenjon Barner, and redshirt freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota have elevated the Ducks to a new offensive level.
Oregon’s most questionable offensive grouping, the wide receivers, have found steady production from talented players like Keanon Lowe and Bralon Addison.
Colt Lyerla emerged as a star for the Ducks in their game against Arizona, proving that he can be much more than just a tight end in Chip Kelly’s dangerously unique offense.
If the Ducks continue to play at their offensive potential, they will have an easy time competing with the best of teams come the end of the season.
While the Ducks did surrender 34 and 25 points in their first two games on defense, the Duck defense has already begun to show why it is one of the most heralded in program history.
Loaded with experience and talent at just about every defensive position, the Duck starters have been phenomenal in the time that they have been asked to play on the field.
In fact, when the Duck starters did play in weeks one, two, and three, they held their opponents to just around 23 points.
More impressively, in their first game playing a full four quarters, they stopped the offensively potent Arizona Wildcats’ offense and recorded their first shutout since a 69-0 victory over Portland State in 2010.
Using a burst of speed on the defensive line to put pressure on quarterback Matt Scott, the Ducks were able to force the Wildcats into a rush that they were not prepared for. Oregon’s secondary unit, one of the more questionable units on the team in 2012, played almost flawlessly as they were able to match Arizona’s wide receivers stride for stride and taking two interceptions back to the house for touchdowns.
The 2012 season is by no means close to over for the Ducks.
Though they have their toughest contests ahead of themselves (at USC, vs. Stanford), a number two ranking in the latest AP Poll vaults the Ducks right into the BCS National Championship race where they belong.
Oregon, as their ranking now shows, is one of the most dangerous teams in the nation. They have established themselves as a college football powerhouse and are eager to prove to the nation that they are the team that can contend with the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide.