So the assembled media at Pac-12 Media Days has spoken, and Oregon will be the Pac-12 champion. Why they are still planning to play the games, I do not know.
Of course, it's merely a preseason prognostication, a media-day requirement. But the truth is this: Oregon is going to be a very good team this year. And their now-official role as Pac-12 favorite makes that Week 2 matchup between the Michigan State Spartans and those Oregon Ducks all the more exciting.
You see, the Spartans are the defending Big Ten champs. The defending Rose Bowl champs, too, if you're looking for some Big Ten/Pac-12 smack talk. And with a lot of really talented guys back in the fold, Michigan State might be able to do it all again.
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But there are two huge, flashing "WARNING!" signs on the Spartans' schedule, and one of them is that Sep. 6 journey to the Pacific Northwest. (The other is the Nov. 8 showdown with Ohio State that could determine the Big Ten East Division winner.)
It's why these early season clashes between big-time teams are so great (the Big Ten will see two this fall with the Wisconsin-LSU game in Week 1). The national-title implications are massive. In September! The new College Football Playoff will leave a little more room for error than the BCS did, with four teams eventually getting to play for a championship instead of only two. But that's still just four teams. One loss could bury title hopes, especially when there are more big games looming down the line. If the Spartans lose, it would make that Ohio State game a must-win. Same goes for the Ducks and their future games against UCLA and Stanford.
It's why college football is one of the most-exciting sports around. Every game is a playoff game. And the Spartans and Ducks have knocked it out of the park with this one.