The Ducks are coming off their third straight conference title, and their first Rose Bowl win in over 90 years, so why aren't they ranked No. 1?
One reason, mainly.
With Darron Thomas' unexpected departure to the pros, and coach Chip Kelly closing off practices to the public, the most important position battle in the Pac-12 has gone largely silent.
So, Brian Bennett is the likely choice to replace Thomas behind center, but Kelly could also opt for freshman Marcus Moriata, who's been highly touted in his short time at Oregon.
Because of the lack of info regarding who will take the starting role, it is simply too early to rank the Ducks No. 1 in the conference, without knowing who will be No. 1 on the chart come fall.
Beyond the questions at QB, the Ducks should once again be the team to beat in their division. The defense returns a good core of talent from 2011, and the Ducks' great depth on both sides of the ball should ensure that they stay on top of the Pac-12 north this season.
The only real concern besides the QB position will be at RB, where it still remains to be decided who, out of a somewhat thin pool, will backup Kenjon Barner in 2012.
Ultimately, expect more of the same from the Ducks in 2012. Regardless of who is taking the snaps, Oregon should have enough talent, depth and good coaching to find themselves in the Pac 12 Championship once more.