Oregon Football: Midway Point Shows That Pac-12 Title Still Goes Through Ducks

Joe PenkalaCorrespondent IOctober 11, 2012

EUGENE, OR - OCTOBER 6: Quarterback Marcus Mariota #8 of the Oregon Ducks avoids the tackle of linebacker Travis Feeney #41 of the Washington Huskies closes in during the first quarter of the game on October 6, 2012 at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon. Oregon won the game 52-21. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Coming into the 2012 season, all the Ducks around the Pac-12 was that Oregon had a nice three-year run but now that USC was "back," the Pac-12 title and power was about to shift south. 

Now that we are at the midway point, some observations can be made about the teams in the Pac-12.

We have seen that UCLA is getting things turned around, Stanford will be OK without Luck, Oregon State is out of the basement, Mike Leach may need more time and the Arizona schools will be average. Colorado is in trouble, Washington is in a holding pattern, Cal continues to slip off the radar, Utah is looking better and USC is good—but not dominant—and all roads to a Pac-12 title go through Oregon.

Early this year, USC had one hurdle to get over, and that was a game against Stanford. They struggled all game long and eventually saw the Cardinal defeat them and end their plans of an undefeated season.

With the loss, the attention and power immediately shifted to the Ducks. 

At 6-0, the Ducks have proven a couple of things. Along with their high-powered offense, the Ducks now have a quarterback in Marcus Mariota. He can use his speed to add a new element to the offense.

Also, the Ducks have shown that they have a defense that can share the spotlight with the offense. 

As the Ducks enjoy their bye week, they will head into next week and face a test as they head on the road and play Arizona State on a Thursday night. Assuming the Ducks remained focused and get through this game, there is no reason to believe that the Ducks will not head to southern California undefeated. 

For now, the Ducks can sit back and relax and enjoy this week off. The BCS rankings will be out soon, but the Ducks know that as long as they take care of business, a return trip to the national championship may be in their future.  


Joe Penkala is a B/R National Featured Columnist who covers college football. You can contact him @joepenkala.