College Football: Oregon Ducks Fact or Fiction
With five weeks of the college football season now behind us and college football conference play picking up, opinions are running wild about your favorite college team. Oregon Ducks fans are enjoying the 5-0 record and the questions that come with it.
This past weekend, Oregon welcomed the No. 9 ranked Stanford Cardinal to Autzen Stadium for a Top Ten matchup. After falling behind 21-3, Oregon outscored Stanford 49-10 and finished the game with a 52-31 victory.
While five weeks of football have provided five wins for the Ducks, it has also created all sorts of questions. Time to take a look at the more frequently asked questions and see if they are fact or fiction.
James Is a Top Hesiman Candidate
Fact: Through four games, LaMichael James has put up some impressive numbers, rushing for 712 yards and seven touchdowns.
More impressive is the fact that James has excelled in the couple of big games Oregon has played so far this year. On the road against Tennessee, James rushed for 134 yards and a score and then at home against Stanford, James ran for 257 yards and three touchdowns.
If James can continue to run at this current pace and put up big numbers in Oregon's big games, you will see him in New York for the Heisman ceremony.
Oregon Has Zero Quality Wins
Fiction: Even after the win against Stanford, the skeptics are looking to say that all Saturday proved was that Stanford is overrated.
When looking at the Oregon schedule you can quickly eliminate New Mexico and Portland State. After taking those games out, Oregon has wins at Tennessee, at Arizona State, and at home against Stanford.
Tennessee is currently 2-3 but could easily be 3-2 if not for a crazy play at LSU. If Tennessee can continue to play at that level, Oregon's victory will look better and better.
Arizona State has also earned a little bit of national credit by taking Wisconsin down to the wire and falling short 20-19. ASU was picked to finish ninth in the Pac-10, so playing out of conference opponents tight like that will strengthen the weight of winning the Pac-10 in the national eye.
Stanford was the most recent victory for Oregon and people need to realize that this was a Stanford team that had steamrolled to a 4-0 record, including a big win at Notre Dame.
Even if these early wins aren't enough to earn Oregon respect, they still will have games at USC, at home against Arizona, and at Oregon State to win over the voters.
Oregon Cannot Compete Without Jeremiah Masoli
Fiction: Coming into the 2010, all the talk about Oregon was they were the Pac-10 front runners with Masoli, but without him the conference is up in the air.
After Darron Thomas was named the starter the week of the New Mexico game, the Oregon Ducks offense has not looked back. Thomas has already thrown 13 touchdowns and through five games has a higher quarterback rating then Masoli's career high in 2009.
While Masoli was successful leading this offense, the team has not missed a beat with Thomas behind center. The scary thing is, they look even better than when Masoli was here.
Stop The Run and You Stop The Oregon Offense
Fiction: Many believe that if you take the running game out and force Darron Thomas to win the game, then you can shut down the Oregon offense. Arizona State believed in this strategy and quickly found out that Thomas could win the game through the air.
After allowing an early run by James, ASU stacked the box against the run and forced Oregon to pass the ball. Thomas stepped up to the challenge and through for over 250 yards and two scores. Thomas followed that performance up by throwing for 238 yards and three scores against Stanford.
No Lead Is Safe
Fact: Teams are quickly finding out that no lead is safe when you are playing against Oregon. Three times this year, Oregon has found themselves trailing in games and have quickly erased all three deficits.
On the road against Tennessee, Oregon found themselves trailing the Vols 13-3. 45 unanswered points later, Oregon won 48-13. Two weeks later, Oregon was again down by 10 to ASU and within minutes regained the lead.
More impressively, Oregon trailed Stanford this past weekend 21-3. Oregon outscored Stanford 49-10 the rest of the way and won 52-31.
While this quick strike offense may be a great thing for Oregon, they need to be cautious of not making this into a habit because all teams go through off days.
Oregon Can Be Out Muscled
Fiction: With Stanford coming to town, the talk was all about Oregon's speed versus Stanford's muscle. As the game wore on, it was Oregon quickly wearing down Stanford with the running game.
Oregon has been able to wear down both offenses and defenses by rotating in fresh players on the defensive line and in the offensive backfield. This fact has been clear on the defensive side of the ball as Oregon has given up a total of seven points in the second half so far this year.
Oregon Is in Championship Race
Fact: While much of the Pac-10 is showing signs of improvement, the Oregon Ducks are firmly in the drivers seat of the conference and running the table is not out of the picture.
While the Oregon motto is to "Win the Day," if you take a look at the rest of Oregon schedule, three of their remaining games stand out. Oregon still has games remaining at USC, at home against Arizona and at Oregon State. While the Ducks certainly do not want to look past any of their other games, these will be the remaining challenges to their path to an undefeated season.