By Jonathan Okanes
Friday, July 24th, 2009 at 10:17 pm in off-season stuff.
No. 4 Oregon: The Ducks are some experts’ trendy pick to challenge USC for the Pac-10 title. I just don’t see it. Yes, Oregon always seems to be there in contention in the end. But this looks like a transition year to me. There’s no question the Ducks have some intriguing pieces back from last season, most notably quarterback Jeremiah Masoli. Bruising running back LeGarrette Blount should really shine now with Jeremiah Johnson departed, and the Ducks have some playmakers in the secondary with cornerback Walter Thurmond III and safety T.J. Ward. But Oregon is going to run into a couple of teams that will be able to slow down the spread option, one that doesn’t figure to be too productive through the air. The Ducks’ defense was fast and underrated last season but doesn’t figure to match its effectiveness this year. And you never know how a team will react under a new coach, and even though Chip Kelly was on Mike Bellotti’s staff, it’s always a new culture with a new person sitting in the biggest chair.