Asmussen's Top 50: No. 2 Oregon
Bob Asmussen reveals his pick for the second-best team in the country this fall.
No. 2: Oregon
Coach: Mark Helfrich
2013 record: 11-2
Projected 2014 record: 12-0
Circle the date: Oct. 11 at UCLA
Why No. 2: Of course, the uniforms are cool, but that doesn’t get you any wins. What does is having an explosive offense led by Marcus Mariota. He was in line to win the Heisman Trophy last season until a knee injury slowed him down. He could have left for the NFL but decided to stay for one more year. He will be tested plenty by a schedule that includes a handful of Pac-12 powers and an early nonconference game against Michigan State. Other than Mariota, the strength of the team might be the offensive line, which welcomes back all five starters. Running back is set with 1,000-yard rusher Byron Marshall. The lone trouble spot on offense could be at receiver, where the top four from last season are gone. Defensively, Oregon needs to replace six starters, The top position is linebacker, where two starters return. The Ducks are also replacing longtime defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti. Sometimes, those transitions can be tricky.
No. 3: Ohio State