Oregon Ducks vs. UCLA Bruins: Top 5 Storylines
The Oregon Ducks are the consensus best team in the country. Tonight they face a challenge in the Rick Neuheisel led UCLA Bruins.
On paper, the Ducks are clearly the better team, but as last weekend showed, anything can happen in college football.
With the BCS polls shafting the Ducks, can Oregon respond with a large victory?
Or will the Bruins take advantage of the situation and come away with a win?
1. How Will Oregon Respond to the BCS Polls
In both the Coaches and AP polls, the Oregon Ducks are the No. 1 team in the nation.
But the BCS has them ranked second, a definite blow to a team expected to be No. 1. One computer ranking went even lower, ranking them 11th in the nation.
Can the Ducks hold together after such a disappointing outcome from the computers?
2. Can Oregon Handle the Pressure
By the same token, can this Oregon team handle this much pressure?
In 2007, the Ducks were rated No. 2 in the nation before losing to Arizona. After falling to Arizona, the Ducks continued to decline until they finally righted the ship, winning the Sun Bowl over South Florida.
The most important question is: Can Oregon win while remaining healthy?
3. How Will UCLA Respond to Playing the No. 1 Team in the Nation
It’s been years since UCLA has been a top-flight football program. But, once again, they will be facing a top-ranked program.
If they respond well to the pressure and Oregon falters, the Bruins have a chance against the nation’s best offense.
4. Will LaMichael James Keep Up His Run for the Heisman
Despite missing one game this season, LaMichael James is still a contender for the Heisman trophy. He is fifth in the nation in rushing yards at 848 and 10th in the nation in yards per carry at 7.4.
If the Ducks make it to the BCS Championship Game, LaMichael will be a large part of that, and has a good chance of winning the Heisman.
5. Will Oregon Do Enough to Move to No. 1 in the BCS
The Ducks must blow out opponents by even larger scores than they already have been doing this year.
They can’t afford a nail-biter against a mediocre opponent like UCLA if they want to go to the National Championship Game.
It is imperative that the Ducks do even more these last few weeks of the season.