Above: Oregon coach Chip Kelly, left, and senior tight end David Paulson, at Pac-12 Media Day in Los Angeles. (Staff photo by Keith Birmingham)
As part of this becoming the all-sports blog for are three San Gabriel Valley Newspapers, and part of our college football coverage, I will post a capsule of all Pac-12 teams for the upcoming season. We continue our trip in the Pac-12 North, and today we take a brief look at Oregon
Coach: Chip Kelly
Years at school: 2
2010 Record: 12-1 (Lost 22-10 in BCS title game); 9-0 in conference.
2011 prediction: Second
Outlook: Nothing has changed since 2010. The Ducks are again expected to challenge for the Bowl Championship Series title. This is a team that is loaded. It features not one, but two Heisman Trophy candidates in RB LaMichael James and QB Darron Thomas. The defense, led by DB Cliff Harris, is solid. But there are also some issues, especially trying to replace three offensive linemen and receiver Jeff Mael, who has been a key cog in the Ducks’ spread-option attack. There’s also a lingering dark cloud in a NCAA investigation, not too mention two monster road games — against fellow BCS competitor LSU in the season opener in Dallas and at Stanford in November. The Ducks, picked first in a Pac-12 media poll last week, have enough to leap the first hurdle, but I’m not so sure about the second. Still, expect Gang Green to show up in a BCS bowl.
Quotable: “It’s nice to be picked to win, it’s nice to be picked (among the) top five in the country, but it doesn’t mean anything until you go out and play the game,” Oregon coach Chip Kelly said. “So that mindset won’t change. Hopefully our motivation comes from within and our guys wanting to get better every day and become a better football team. But we don’t ever hang this is our ranking and we have to live up to it and all those things. I think the vision that we have for this football program exceeds any expectations that anybody could write down on a piece of paper.”