Oregon FB: Duck and Cover

Ryan BlanchfieldAnalyst IOctober 29, 2007

IconSomething is brewing in Duck country—and it has the Ducks sniffing a national title.

Oregon is ranked fifth in the polls, but with Heisman contender Dennis Dixon leading the team and the way things have been going thus far, the Ducks could be the consensus No. 1 inside of a month.

In the upcoming weeks, current No. 1 Ohio State faces Illinois and Wisconsin at home and travels to Michigan. No. 2 Boston College plays Florida State at home and Clemson on the road. And No. 3 LSU travels to 'Bama in the Nick Saban bowl, and needs to win the SEC Championship Game.

Oregon, meanwhile, takes on No. 4 Arizona State next week. If the Ducks win, they're guaranteed to climb at least one spot.

After that, the Sun Devils play UCLA and USC.

Oregon's latest win—a 24-17 triumph over USC—left little doubt that the Ducks are legitimate contenders to win it all, as the game wasn't quite as close as the score indicated.

"We wanted to make a point," said Oregon safety Matthew Harper. "We might bend, but we're not going to break."

Harper had two picks in the second half, one of which essentially sealed the game.

Another catalyst in the win was RB Jonathan Stewart.

"(USC) have been top dogs, but this is a different year," Stewart said.

Dixon also had another stellar game. He threw for 156 yards, and added 76 yards and the game-opening TD on the ground.

Before the win against USC, Oregon had only shown glimpses of being capable of winning the Pac-10.

Now, though, it's clear the men in green have the best shot at a championship they've had in a while.

"Right now, we think of the BCS a little, but not all the way because we want to win one game at a time," said Harper. "And once you win one game at a time, it won't leave nothing behind you. Hopefully we'll keep doing this every week."

The Ducks need to have the same type of offensive success they've had in the first eight games from Dixon and Stewart if they want to contend for the '07 title.

They may need to do a bit of scoreboard watching along the way—but don't be surprised if you see Oregon in New Orleans come January, or at least in a BCS bowl.