JASON SAYS: Oregon wins another high-scoring game
Wow, what a win at Stanford for the Oregon Ducks. Seriously, because football coach Chip Kelly closes practices and discusses nothing of significance about his players, it's tough to get a read on that team. And, myself and a lot of other media folks underestimated the Ducks.
Kudos to the players. Great game.
Now, it's USC week, with the Trojans visiting Autzen Stadium, 5 p.m. Saturday - and, really, no matter the outcome, we know where the Ducks will be Friday, Dec. 2. They will be playing host to the Pac-12 title game.
UO needs to win one game to get there. Does anybody really think that Oregon State can win at Autzen Stadium to somehow prevent the Ducks from playing in the Pac-12 title game, if the Trojans should beat Oregon this week?
And, does anybody really think that UCLA or Arizona State or whichever team from the Southern Division can beat the expected Northern Division champs in the Pac-12 title game?
So, make your plans, Duck fans, for another BCS berth - Rose Bowl or, perhaps, championship game. Your players are making it happen, again.
I think Oregon beats USC. Not sure it's going to be a rout. It'll be a solid win. I joked with a co-worker, who said USC was pretty good and could pull off the upset. I told him that, yeah, the Trojans with QB Matt Barkley and his crew could score 45 points. But the Ducks could score 59.
The talk is that USC's roster is full of young and talented players - best talent in the Pac-12, Kelly says. But, it means the defense is young, as well, and safety T.J. McDonald (the team's best defensive player) had to be tested for a concussion after last weekend's game.
An opposing defense has to be experienced and good to be able to handle the Ducks. Anything lesser, and Kelly's offense whips them, badly.
The Ducks will want to keep hitting on all cylinders, and it'll be interesting to continue to watch LaMichael James and his non-quest to win the Heisman Trophy. Yes, he might get invited to the proceedings in New York City again this year, and might actually win the thing. But it's certainly not at the top of James' wish list, as the normally humble, hard-working and team-oriented kid offered this gem to reporters this week:
"It's a prestigious award to who? Not to me." He also succinctly responded to a question about possibly winning the Heisman this way: "I don't care ... at all."
The thing is James represents the University of Oregon, its football program and athletic department. Winning the Heisman Trophy would be a monumental achievement for all Ducks, from Phil Knight on down.
I've always questioned whether Kelly took Public Relations 101 and understood it, and it appears James should be schooled about certain things to say and not say.
Anyway, back to the game: USC, the team with NCAA sanctions, playing Oregon, the team being investigated. The Trojans will be eligible to win the Pac-12 and play in the postseason next year; as far as Saturday, will they play their hearts out, or be cold and wet in expected Oregon November weather and give in? My thinking is they play hard.
I expect the Ducks to score a lot of points, give up their fair share of points and be firmly in control in the fourth quarter.
THE PICK: Oregon 45, USC 30