Canzano: Oregon Ducks positioned to own November
Blowout win over Colorado sets the stage.
The University of Oregon hadn’t even finished drilling Colorado 49-10 on Saturday afternoon and the possibilities were already swirling.
Bo Nix, invited to the Downtown Athletic Club?
The Ducks, perfect in Pac-12 play?
The sample size grew by another four dominant quarters on Saturday in Boulder. Coach Dan Lanning’s first season continued to shine. Oregon — still undefeated against everyone on Earth except the Georgia Bulldogs — made another statement.
November feels like Oregon’s month, doesn’t it?
On that note:
• Nix really is something else, isn’t he? He was 20 of 24 for 274 yards and two passing touchdowns on Saturday. He ran for two more TDs and caught another score on a trick play. That’s five total touchdowns for Nix, folks.
It’s evident that offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham is having fun scheming ways to utilize his quarterback. I don’t think national writers and Heisman voters are going to be able to ignore it. Heisman trophies are won in November and Nix used the first weekend of the month to make another statement.
• Has any quarterback in America been better than Nix in the last two months? Not Hendon Hooker at Tennessee. Not Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud. Or USC’s Caleb Williams or Alabama’s Bryce Young. The usual knock on Pac-12 quarterbacks doesn’t hold up this year, either. The conference isn’t soft. It has four teams ranked in the Top 15. If Nix keeps this up, he should be a Heisman finalist.
• Oregon went 9-0 in conference play in 2010 under Chip Kelly. That was the last Pac-12 team to survive the conference season without a loss. That was before expansion, however. Since the addition of Utah and Colorado, nobody has survived unblemished.
Will Oregon be the first do it?
The 2022 Ducks are 6-0 with home games against Washington and Utah remaining. Also, there’s a road game at Oregon State. It’s a tricky trio, but the Ducks will be favored vs. all three.
• Who has the best chance to upset Oregon? The Ducks are averaging more than 45 points per game in conference play. Washington won’t be able to score with UO. If the Utah game were at Rice-Eccles Stadium, the Utes might have a shot. But it’s not. I won’t pick Utah to win in Eugene unless there’s a significant injury on the Oregon side. It feels to me like the Ducks will arrive at their rivalry game with Oregon State on Nov. 26 with a shot at history.
• Could OSU play spoiler? I’d likely pick the Ducks to win, but the Beavers are 9-1 in their last 10 games at Reser Stadium. The Beavers play defense and run the ball. Their lone home loss in the last two seasons is a 17-14 defeat to USC in September. Oregon-OSU feels like a showdown — and hot ticket — in Corvallis on Thanksgiving weekend.
• Notre Dame beat No. 4 Clemson. LSU beat No. 6 Alabama. The weekend couldn’t have gone much better for the Ducks. Those two losses help No. 8 Oregon in the College Football Playoff rankings.
• No. 3 Georgia also beat No. 1 Tennessee 27-13 on Saturday. It was another positive result for UO, but the outcome wasn’t lopsided enough to make Oregon’s 49-3 Week 1 loss to the Bulldogs look much better. I expect one-loss Tennessee will still be ranked in front of the one-loss Ducks when the rankings come out on Tuesday.
Oregon has to absolutely own November and get more help in front of them if it wants to make the playoff. If not, it could be a very winnable Rose Bowl vs. Michigan or someone like that.
The next three weeks are critical.
Colorado was in over its head from the start vs. Oregon on Saturday. The Buffaloes are in a rebuild and will hire a new head coach in about a month. But I was looking for a dominant performance from the Ducks and they delivered.
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