Both Stanford and Washington lost in their Pac-12 openers last weekend, and the results have immediate implications for the Ducks and their chances to win the conference’s northern division.
The Cardinal and Huskies represent two out of four teams that media members felt have a legitimate chance to win the division during the preseason, in what should once again be an absolute brawl for the title.
Oregon will face both of these opponents on the road this season, and they’ll serve as the only two teams from the north that the Ducks must travel to play. With Stanford and Washington both needing to gain ground, expect those games to be tense, brutal, and exhilarating.
The Ducks were predicted as the preseason favorites to win the North by just one media vote, so competing teams will be gunning for them night in and night out. They’re starving, however, to compete for their first Pac-12 title since Barack Obama was President, and Mariota was captain. With so much experience on both sides of the field, this is their best chance yet of returning.
The Cal Bears are suddenly a force to be reckoned with, and they’ve upset ranked Washington teams now in back-to-back seasons. With their giant win on the road in a wild game that extended into the wee hours of the morning due to a delayed start — and what could likely be a 3-0 start with a win against North Texas this weekend — look out for the boys from Berkely.
This early turbulence should serve just a teaser for what’s to come this year in the Pac-12. Early conference losses for tough rivals are seemingly always good for the Ducks, yet it’s only Week 3, and they’ll have to take care of business on their end to regain supremacy.
Oregon will face Stanford in Palo Alto on September 21st to begin their Pac-12 play.