In case you want to know how far the Utes are from the top of the Pac-12 in football, consider how the media covers the teams.
Utah media are focused on the Utes getting good enough to attend a bowl game – any bowl. Oregon media? After the Ducks’ beat Utah 44-21 on Saturday, Oregonian writer Jason Quick wrote, “There are a host of questions Oregon will need to answer in the coming weeks…”
His colleague, columnist John Canzano wrote, “The Ducks are decent, but not great, right now.”
They looked great from where I was sitting, but I’m not used to covering national championship contenders.
Regarding the 1-loss Ducks, Canzano said, “Oregon can’t lose again this season. Not in the regular season. Not in a still-possible Pac-12 Championship game. Not even in their bowl game. Another loss, any loss, spoils a season that could have easily ended up in the national championship game…”
That’s how expectations go at big programs. Once upon a time, Utah was at the fringes of that group. The difference is that Utah was curiosity piece during its BCS bowl years. Oregon recruits enough great players to be in the conversation most years.
Right now I’m thinking I won’t have to write about these kinds of pressures anytime soon. At the bottom of the conference, “must wins” involve just getting bowl eligible.
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