The No. 2 Oregon Ducks took care of business in a major way with a Pac-12 Championship blowout win vs. the No. 7 Arizona Wildcats, 51-13. Quarterback Marcus Mariota looked like a Heisman front-runner and led the Ducks with 313 yards passing and a Pac-12 record five touchdowns. Oregon dominated Arizona in total yards, 627-224, and kept the Wildcats scoreless through halftime with 25 total yards.
Mark Helfrich now has his first Pac-12 championship in just his second year as head coach at Oregon and the 11th title in school history. Helfrich has now defeated every team in the Pac-12 conference after losing to Arizona in the past two seasons. The last Pac-12 Championship for the Ducks came in 2011, when Mariota was still in high school.
Soon enough, Oregon will be finding out its fate in the College Football Playoff. With the way the Ducks handled Arizona, it’s going to be tough for the playoff committee not to consider them over the Alabama Crimson Tide at No. 1 in the rankings. The Ducks deserve to be the top team due to their outstanding play with a 23-point average margin of victory vs. ranked teams.
Oregon has scored at least 40 points in all but two games this season and given up 20 points or less to opponents in seven games. Compare that to Alabama, which has only scored 40 points or more just five times. It’s going to be a battle of decisions for the 12-person playoff committee if Alabama comes out slow or underperforms in the SEC Championship against Missouri. The Tide didn’t look impressive with the 55-44 barn-burning win in the Iron Bowl vs. Auburn, but held on to the No.1 position.
Oregon now has its fifth impressive win in a row on its way to the postseason, along with a 47-19 win in the Civil War game last week vs. Oregon State. The final playoff rankings will be released live on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. ET. The Ducks needed a convincing performance and delivered, but now can only hope the Playoff Committee was paying attention.
Jeff Hauser is a Pac-12 Football contributing writer for RantSports and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @radiohauser.