3 Pac-12 Teams Most Likely to Derail Oregon'S BCS Championship Bid
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Don't pencil in the Oregon Ducks for the BCS National Championship Game just yet.
Mark Helfrich's group has been performing at breakneck speed in 2013. The Ducks are second nationally in total offense with an eye-popping average of 672 yards per contest. Oregon also averages 61.3 points per game through three weeks.
With that said, there are a few teams in the Pac-12 that could hurt Oregon's chances at winning the national championship.
This piece will reveal the three conference teams with the best shot at upending the Ducks. The list will go in order of least likely to most likely in terms of beating Oregon.
Here are three Pac-12 teams that have a legitimate shot at derailing Oregon's hope at playing in the national championship game.
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UCLA is a dangerous team.
The Bruins rank fifth nationally in total offense. Quarterback Brett Hundley is the architect of an offense that can put up points in a hurry.
The Bruins are buoyed by All-American Anthony Barr on the defensive side of the ball. Barr has been in great form to start the 2013 season.
Senior defensive end Cassius Marsh could contend for postseason honors. Linebackers Myles Jack, Jordan Zumwalt and Eric Kendricks all help to make up a unit that is regarded as one of, if not the best in the entire conference.
Oregon faces off against the Bruins on Oct. 26. The Ducks have a big advantage from the sense that the game is being played in Eugene. UCLA has a relatively young football team, and could get rattled in front of a rabid and fanatical Oregon crowd.
UCLA should be able to put up points in this game. Noel Mazzone's offense will be one of the most talented that Oregon will face all season. If the Bruins can run the ball effectively, it could force the Ducks into an uncomfortable situation.
However, the Bruins rely on multiple true freshmen at important spots. The inexperience in the secondary could lead to some big plays. UCLA also will have faced Stanford in the previous week. The Bruins theoretically might be beat up from an expected physical affair against the Cardinal.
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The fanbases of Oregon and Washington have been embroiled in a fierce rivalry since 1948. In other words, there's no love lost between the two programs.
Steve Sarkisian's squad will truly provide the Ducks with its first true test of the season.
Currently ranked in the top 25, the Huskies look primed for a very good season. Tailback Bishop Sankey has rushed for big numbers thus far in the 2013 season. Quarterback Keith Price is also having a strong start to the year from a statistical standpoint.
The contest between the two teams will take place at newly renovated Husky Stadium in Seattle on Oct. 12. When rocking, this stadium is an incredibly loud and intimidating place to play.
One could see a scenario in which the Huskies are completely amped for this game. Oregon knows that the crowd will be in a frenzy to start the contest.
It'll be vital for quarterback Marcus Mariota to keep poised and not get overly rattled. If he does show signs of losing his composure, Oregon's title hopes could go down the proverbial drain.
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If anyone has the requisite blueprint to beat the Ducks, it's Stanford.
There are a number of things that point to the Cardinal beating Oregon for the second season in a row. For one, Stanford has a veteran group. The majority of the team that defeated the Ducks last season returns again in 2013.
Secondly, Stanford's front seven is a strength. Teams that have given the Ducks problems in recent memory all dominated up front. Constant pressure off the edge and a stout run defense doesn't allow Oregon to execute rhythmically.
Stanford posses a strong rushing attack. Tyler Gaffney and Anthony Wilkerson both can pound the ball effectively. If Stanford can run the ball with consistency, it'll ideally wear down Oregon's defense.
Success on the ground will also keep the Ducks' incredibly potent offense off of the field. Ball control will undoubtedly determine whether or not Stanford can be victorious.
Lastly, the game on Nov. 7 between both teams will be played in Palo Alto.
Stanford prevented the Ducks from reaching the national championship game in 2012. Will it happen again in 2013?