In the first preseason USA Today Coaches Poll it is no surprise that Oregon is slated to begin the season ranked at #3. It could have gone another way for the Ducks, that would still have them in the Top 5 if voters saw Stanford as the better team since they beat Oregon head to head last season. However they did not – Stanford still has respect coming in right behind the Ducks at #4.
As expected there are not a lot of surprises in the poll with the exception of the Top 10 being very SEC friendly with Alabama at #1. The Big Ten Makes an appearance in the Top 5 with Ohio State ranked #2.
The Ducks lost coach Chip Kelly to the NFL but avoided severe NCAA sanctions from a lengthy investigation into recruiting violations. Kelly’s offensive coordinator, Mark Helfrich, was promoted to his first head coaching job. He is well-versed in the offense that the Ducks’ roster is built to run. That should help ease the transition. The Ducks have their electric running back, De’Anthony Thomas, back for another round and also held on to starting QB Marcus Mariota. LB Boseko Lokombo and S Brian Jackson lead the defense. First-team ALL-USA RB Thomas Tyner heads the recruiting class.
A total of five teams from the Pac 12 will start the season ranked in the Coaches Poll. Oregon State begins 2013 at #25, USC at #24, UCLA at #21.
Oregon kicks off their season on August 31st against Nicholls State at Autzen Stadium. (Fox Sports 1, 1pm PT)
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