Oregon giving up the spotlight?
The Oregon Ducks were recently named the No. 5 team in the USA Today Preseason Poll, and while they should be set to contend for a BCS title this year, there’s a chance they’ll fly under the radar throughout the 2012 college football season.
The Ducks’ non-conference schedule is one of the most forgettable that the team has had in recent memory. There’s no LSU, no Boise State, and the team doesn’t play a true road game until Oct. 6 at the Washington Huskies—the Ducks play Washington State in Seattle Sept. 29, but many Oregon fans should make the trip.
It’s possible that such a weak schedule early in the season benefits Oregon, but when it comes to being the favorites, nobody is likely to view the Ducks as proven late in the year following the first few weeks of competition.
Pac-12 Conference Play
Even when the Ducks get past non-conference play, the team should go widely unnoticed throughout stretches of the season because of a weak Pac-12 conference.
With new head coaches in every which direction, there could be a few surprises, but there should also be some obvious growing pains for many of the Pac-12’s rebuilding programs.
The conference as a whole won’t get much attention, but the Washington Huskies are due for a breakout season from Keith Price, Stanford may not drop off as much as people expect, and then, of course, there’s USC.
The USC Trojans received a No. 3 ranking in preseason polls and are expected to run the table leading into the Nov. 3 matchup against the Ducks.
While the Ducks are projected by some to do the same, we have to wait two months for the game to finally arrive.
The matchup against USC will be one of the best events in all of college football next season, but even that game could be overshadowed by the fact that it takes place the same day as a BCS National Championship rematch between LSU and Alabama.
USC has a Heisman favorite in Matt Barkley, they brought in Penn State transfer Silas Redd and they’re finally bowl eligible once again in 2012.
If any team is going to get attention in the Pac-12, it’s USC.
Under the Radar
But is this really a bad thing for the Oregon Ducks?
Fans in Eugene have grown accustomed to the spotlight over the past three seasons, and while they’re not going to have to give it up cold turkey, they’re going to have to share it throughout the 2012 season.
The only way the Ducks are making headlines in the first month or two of the season is if they underperform and allow lesser competition to spoil their chances at returning to the BCS National Championship game.
Oregon fans love the spotlight, but this season, let your team fly under the radar and get excited when it counts the most.