The Oregon Ducks have looked amazing so far this season, starting 6-0 and having all three facets of their game working in perfect harmony.
While it won’t be easy to keep the team playing this well all year, the Ducks have already proven that if they can win out, Oregon will earn a right to play for a BCS National Championship.
With a plethora of ranked teams on the Ducks' schedule this year, there will be plenty of chances for Oregon to prove its worth and submit their application for BCS consideration.
All of the following reasons will make the Ducks worthy of national title consideration.
The Evolution of De'Anthony Thomas
When you look at sophomore running back De'Anthony Thomas, the 5’9” star doesn’t look like much of a threat, but this season has shown that Thomas is one of the most dangerous weapons in the entire country.
Not only is the young runner averaging 9.2 yards per carry this season (41 carries for 377 yards), Thomas has already racked up six touchdowns. While this is all impressive enough, it’s the ability to get open and catch the football that has made Thomas the team’s leading receiver.
Thomas has 20 receptions for 205 yards and three touchdowns so far this year—which is four more than any of the pure wide receivers on the roster—and those stats further provide evidence of his reliability in the Ducks’ passing game.
There are many reasons why Oregon has improved this year, but Thomas is one of the biggest keys to a Ducks’ BCS title run in 2012.
As great as the offensive unit has been over the last few years at Oregon, the defense has never been elite enough to deliver the Ducks a BCS National Title (lost in the 2011 National Championship.)
This year’s unit may be much better than anyone anticipated.
Despite playing two ranked teams already this season, the Ducks’ defense is giving up just 20 points per game to opponents, which sits them at 32nd in the nation in that category.
While the defense isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, they are talented enough to slow down the offense of a potential BCS challenger like Alabama.
The Kenjon Barner Show
While the impressive running of every back on the Ducks' roster has helped the team this year, it has been the workhorse mentality of senior running back Kenjon Barner that has stolen the show to this point.
Not only has the star put up ridiculous numbers—116 carries in six games for 727 yards and nine touchdowns—Barner is wearing defenses down with his tough running. As seen by the numbers from the rest of his teammates, the Ducks’ plan is working to perfection.
As long as Oregon keeps its top running back healthy through the season, Barner is slowly putting together a year worthy of Heisman consideration.
If the Ducks win out, expect Barner to lead the team to a National Title game as well.
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