Once again the Oregon Ducks appear to have everything in place to win the Pac 12.
Heck, they’re in even better shape this year than last year, when Chip Kelly’s departure drew concern among the fan base and outside analysts. But Mark Helfrich kept the ship moving forward.
Now, with a Heisman hopeful at quarterback who just happens to be the perfect player to manage the Ducks’ spread offense among 14 returning starters, analysts everywhere are once again picking Oregon to do what they’ve failed to do each of the past two years: win the Pac 12. But are they tough enough?
Since 2010, the toughest teams the Ducks ran into each year managed to beat them: Auburn in 2010, LSU in 2011, and Stanford in 2012 and 2013. They had three other losses during this time, but they all came after one of these losses.
So the same question remains this year. Can the Ducks get over the Stanford hump? What about a game against Michigan State early in the year? And can they repeat their blowout win against UCLA with the game this year on the road and the Bruins getting better? Finally, what can they do to not get embarrassed by Arizona again the way they did last year?
Despite returning starters all over the field, the Ducks have to make a few replacements on defense. If they are to take that next step toward more toughness, those replacements will have to be upgrades.
And despite returning everybody, the offense has to make some improvements as well. Continue to Next Slide for Offense