On November 3rd Oregon paid a visit to USC in a game that was meant to tell us plenty. It certainly did, with the 62-51 win for the Ducks giving us time to reflect on whether this could be the best Oregon side ever, because at the moment it sure feels like it is.
OK, the defence won’t walk away from the contest feeling that great about themselves having conceded 51 points, but what about the offence? They already had significantly better numbers than the 2010 squad that played for the national title. On Saturday they dismantled a USC defence that gave up their biggest NCAAF score ever, not to mention the yardage total racked up by the Ducks – 730 – breaking a 66 year-old record.
The 2010 Ducks squad will be used as the benchmark to judge the best ever side but this squad is far more athletic and physically gifted that that side of two years ago. You could argue that with a lot of football left in the season we should leave statistical comparisons for later, but it’s hard to ignore the numbers. The Ducks rushed for 286.2 yards per game in 2010, they are rushing for 341.2 this season.
They averaged 530.65 yards in 2010, they average 561.2 yards this season. They averaged 47 points per game in 2010, they average 54.33 this season.
To be fair although that victory over USC was noteworthy there is some particularly tough football coming up for the Ducks and it will be interesting to see how the offence goes against three or four tough defences they will encounter soon.
This coming Saturday they visit California to play the Golden Bears in their next live NCAAF encounter - the one and only team to shutdown the 2010 version of the Ducks. Then come Stanford and Oregon State, those two are ranked Nos. 1 & 2 in both scoring and rushing defence in the Pac-12. In fact, Stanford is No. 1 and Oregon State No. 5 in the nation in run defence, and both are ranked in the nation's top 20 in scoring defence.
If the Ducks can come through those games unscathed then it will be time to confirm the 2012 Ducks as the best ever Oregon team, at the moment they have only created the impression that they are.