The Ducks started the Mario Cristobal era ranked as No. 24 in the preseason AP Poll. After winning its 14th consecutive home opener, Oregon (1-0) climbed one spot to No. 23.
The dominant 58-24 victory over Bowling Green removed the unease left by the Las Vegas Bowl loss to Boise State in Crisotbal’s debut and set up the Ducks to dominate their nonconference opponents (Portland State, Son Jose State). Most importantly, the Ducks walked away without multiple major injuries, but tight end Cam McCormick is out for the season with a broken fibula. However, the win does not move the needle much in the national picture. After Florida State's loss to Virginia Tech, Willie Taggart and the Seminoles dropped out of the top 25.
Three more Pac-12 teams reside in the AP Poll: No. 9 Washington, No. 10 Stanford and No. 17 USC.
Alabama remained at No.1 after beating Louisville.
Oregon likely won’t see much movement in the AP poll until its conference opener versus No. 10 Stanford at home.
Washington is the favorite to win the North Division and the Pac-12 Conference title.
However, I picked Oregon as my dark horse to capture the North Division because;
1) Oregon’s schedule is favorable; The Ducks don't play reigning Pac-12 Conference champion USC and host both Washington and Stanford in home games.
2) Defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt brings back a unit with depth and experience.
3) Oregon offense is led by 6-foot-6, 240-pound quarterback Justin Herbert, a potential Heisman Trophy contender and NFL first-round pick.