And, so, it begins: the defense of three consecutive Pac-12 conference championships.
Let's recap the season so far. The Ducks have outscored their opponents, approximately 164-17, they are probably ranked in the Top 5 nationally, and everyone has Nov. 3 circled on their calendars.
But none of that hands you the conference championship; you must earn it week by week by week. Don't show up to play one week and it's over.
Not to fear. The Ducks will show up big in this first conference game of the season.
Arizona has a new coach—this seems to be the theme for 2012—and there are high expectations for Rich Rodriguez' debut season with the 'Cats. There are 54 returning lettermen on Arizona's roster, and 33 with starting experience.
However, when I looked up their roster to refresh my memory, I honestly didn't recognize one single name. The 'Cats lost a lot of guys, and it wasn't just Foles, Criner and Antolin; it was on both sides of the ball.
Can you say "rebuilding year"? Rodriguez will do more with less than his predecessor did with more (does that make sense?), but with so many youngsters and an-almost-new depth chart, it will take Arizona more than a few games to fully jell.
The 'Cats will compete for a quarter and will probably be entertaining to watch. Then, the Ducks will tire of toying with them and put foot to throat.
Take the Ducks. Oregon 45, Arizona 14.