Oregon's disastorous finish last season create doubts in voter's minds.

The Oregon Ducks were picked 3rd in the Pac-12 North by the media voters in a poll on Thursday. This is the first time in nearly 10 years the Ducks have not been the favorite or at least second place in the poll. Likely, questions and doubts about the Ducks arose from the disastorous loss to TCU in the Alamo Bowl last January led to a shift in opinion about Oregon.

The poll opened the Pac-12 Media Day held in Los Angeles predicted Stanford to win the conference championship as well as the North Division. Washington, a team the Ducks have dominated for 12 straight years was selected in the second spot. Oregon was third followed by Washington State, California and Oregon State. UCLA was the top choice for the South followed by USC, Utah, Arizona, Arizona State and Colorado.

The good news for Duck fans is that the vote could have been worse, but the hiring of Brady Hoke as Defensive Coordinator and the hope generated by the hire likely will cause Oregon's dismal defense that finished near the bottom of defensive rankings nationally in 2015 should be dramatically improved. Oregon also boasts a potent offense led by All-American Royce Freeman and a stable of running backs that could be the best in the country. The Ducks also have a dynamic receiving corps led by Darren CarringtonCharles Nelson and tight end Pharaoh Brown.

The quarterback question also remains to be answered in voter's minds as transfer graduate student Dakota Prukop and redshirt freshman Travis Jonsen will battle for the starting slot when fall camp starts in August.

The Ducks open the season on Sept. 3, against Cal Davis at Autzen Stadium, followed by Virginia in another home game on Sept. 10. The first road trip of the season is in third week against Mike Riley and the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Sept. 17. The month of Septmeber finishes off with a home game against the Colorado Buffaloes on Sept. 24. The first weekend of October finds the Ducks in Pullman, Washington against the Cougars of Washington State on October 1. The Washington Huskies come to Eugene on Oct. 8 hoping to end Oregon's decade long dominance. The Ducks fly to Berkeley on Oct. 21 after  taking a bye week to meet the California Bears. Another team that Oregon has a decade-long win streak is Arizona State and the Sun Devils will be in Eugene on Oct. 29 for a Thursday night game to avenge last year's 61-55 triple-over time loss. November is the month that makes or breaks championships and first up on Nov. 5, is USC at the LA Coliseum who is also hoping to get some payback after tge Ducks ended the Trojan's win streak with a one-sided 48-28 Oregon win. 

On Nov. 12, conference favorite Stanford is at Autzen Stadium with memories of the Ducks ending its hopes for an appearance in the National Championship playoffs with a dramatic 38-36 win at Stanford Stadium. Utah, the team that humiliated the Ducks last year will face Oregon on Nov. 19 and finally the Civil War with Oregon State is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 27 at Reser Stadium in Corvallis.

Mark Helfrich, in his fourth year at Oregon holds a 34-8 record with two Alamo Bowls, a Rose Bowl and an appearance in the National Championship game. Helfrich suffered adversity last season as the team suffered four losses due to injury, conditioning and perhaps some communication problems within the coaching staff. Matt Lubick was elevated to offensive coordinator upon the departure of Scott Frost who assumed the head coaching job at UCF. Lubick will also act as the receiver coach. Dave Yost came to Oregon from WSU to become the quarterback's coach. Defensively Hoke brought a new enthusiasm during the spring game to a defensive unit struggled in 2015. Don Pellum moved back to his old linebacker coaching spot after spending two years as the DC.

"As long as are (our) guys are listening to the right voices," said Helfrich of the poll result. "We  don't really care what the media says."


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