53.4 points per game. An 8-0 record. The best quarterback-running back-running back combination in America, NFL-included. 11 straight games with 40 points or more. 540 yards per game.
The past two weeks, the Oregon Ducks have outscored their opponents – Colorado and Arizona State – by an almost unfathomable margin of 99-7 in the first half, with their only touchdown coming early and just once against the Sun Devils.
99 points in four quarters…
And, somehow, the Oregon Ducks are ranked No. 4.
Now, this is hard to take even if you didn’t know the circumstances surrounding them. It gets worse when you actually pay attention.
If you heard, “A team clipping at 54 points per game is ranked fourth in the country,” you might think, “Wow, are the three teams above them really that good?“
The answer is, “Kind of.”
Alabama and Kansas State are exceptional. Notre Dame is a surprise.
Oregon, like Bama, has been there or in the conversation for half a decade.
But, what if you heard that the Ducks were ranked No. 2 earlier this season? What if you heard they were ranked No. 3 three weeks ago, before they scored 99 points in four quarters? What if you heard they were ranked fourth last week, then beat Colorado by a score of 77-14 while the then-No. 2 Florida Gators lost to Georgia, and were then leapfrogged by the Notre Dame Fighting Irish?
Does that seem at all ridiculous?
(*The Irish won 30-13, by the way. Impressive, but not better than Oregon.)
This week, the Ducks face No. 17 (and former No. 1) USC and the Trojans’ elite quarterback-to-wide receiver-to-wide receiver trio of Matt Barkley, Marqise Lee, and Robert Woods.
Ironically, USC coach Lane Kiffin thinks this is not only the best team in the country, but the best Oregon team in recent memory… maybe ever.
“If you look at the old Oregon teams, they were still winning games, but they were winning a lot of games in the second half,” Kiffin said to ESPN. “This is a different Oregon team. They’ve taken care of almost everyone in the first half.”
Oregon will have to score 80 in this one if they want to remain a national contender, or remain No. 4. It appears they can’t do right, even when they’re doing everything right.