With three weeks left in the Pac-12 football season, one thing is certain — the Oregon Ducks are pretty darn good.
Any doubts people might have had about how they would respond when tested have been wiped away, at least in my eyes.
The Ducks scored so fast in Saturday’s showdown with USC that many people may not have even settled in to watch the game.
Oregon bolted to a 21-3 lead and, yes, the Trojans did get within 34-31 in the third quarter, but really, the game never seemed in doubt, did it?
The Ducks still have two tests this season — sorry, Cal, you aren’t one of them — home against Stanford on Nov. 17 and at Oregon State on Nov. 24.
Win those, and the Pac-12 title game, and you will be playing for the national title. (Well, they should be unless the computers malfunction)
Still, the pressure is not off. The dream season could end with just one loss, and I don’t mean just a chance to play for a national title, but a berth in the Rose Bowl as well.
If Oregon loses to either Stanford or Oregon State, it could keep the Ducks from winning the North Division title. If Stanford runs the table, it goes; if Oregon State runs the table, it goes.
So, basically, this Saturday’s Oregon State at Stanford game is an elimination game of sorts.
The winner is alive for the North title while the loser can forget about a BCS berth.
Speaking of Oregon State, the Beavers sure did a nice job bouncing back from their first loss with a solid come-from-behind win over Arizona State in Reser Stadium.
The Beavers showed a lot of moxie getting down early and coming back for the win.
And it sure was nice to see Markus Wheaton back after suffering a concussion last week at Washington.
So here are this week’s rankings.
1. Oregon (9-0, 8-0): At the beginning of the year, it was De’Anthony Thomas for Heisman. Now it’s Kenjon Barner for Heisman. Ducks are loaded all over and continue to impress.
2. Oregon State (7-1, 5-1): Beavers show they are deserving of staying at No. 2 after a nice bounce-back win at home. Statement game this Saturday at Stanford.
3. Stanford (7-2, 5-1): Cardinal have played the bottom two teams the past two weeks. Could that hurt going into stretch against the Oregon schools?
4. UCLA (7-2, 4-2): Bruins demolished Arizona on Saturday, 66-10. Looks like they have righted the ship and are in driver’s seat to win the South.
5. Washington (5-4, 3-3): Huskies backed up upset of Beavers with a strong defensive performance in win at Cal. They aren’t pretty, but Dawgs are now in position to finish with eight wins.
6. USC (6-3, 4-3): Trojans aren’t that bad, but have not made the plays when needed this season.
7. Arizona State (5-4, 3-3): Sun Devils missed golden opportunity on Saturday and have now lost three straight. USC up next.
8. Arizona (5-4, 2-4): Wildcats must have been hung over from the win over the Trojans. Either that or they missed the wake-up call for a night game.
9. Utah (4-5, 2-4): Utes have won two straight, but the competition hasn’t been great. Utah gets UW this week in Seattle.
10. California (3-7, 2-5): It’s official, no bowl for the Bears. Unofficially, Tedford gets fired.
11. Washington State (2-7, 0-6): Cougars waxed by Utes. What will Bruins do on Saturday?
12. Colorado (1-8, 1-5): Since beating Washington State, Buffs have been outscored 261-51.