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2016 Pac-12 prediction countdown #3 Oregon - Ducks meet expectations in the middle

NCAA Football: Valero Alamo Bowl-Oregon vs Texas Christian Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

The long torture of summer sports is almost over, but we still have a little ways to go. To get things ready, I went over every single game on the Pac-12 schedule in 2016 and predicted records for each team.

I'm going to countdown how I think the teams ultimately stack up in the final regular season standings with snapshots of each team.

#12 was Oregon State

#11 was Colorado

#10 was Cal

#9 was Arizona

#8 was Utah

#7 was Arizona State

#6 was Washington State

#5 was Washington

#4 was UCLA

#3 is...Oregon

Prediction: 10-2 (7-2) second in North

Bowl: Holiday Bowl vs. Penn State

Wins: UCDavis, Virginia, at Nebraska, Colorado, Washington, Cal, Arizona State, Stanford, at Utah, at Oregon State

Losses: at Washington State, at USC

The Ducks are the Pac-12 power no one is talking about this off-season, but they still have a potent offense a proven system. The big key will be if they can find at least a solid answer at quarterback and I think they do. I think Dakota Prukop (or anyone else who wins the job) won’t be Marcus Mariota or Vernon Adams, but will be good enough to get the job done and let Royce Freeman and the receivers shine.

The Ducks face a middle-of-the-road schedule, get their two toughest division mates at home and I think they will make the most of it.

Non-Conference: I think the Ducks can handle Virginia at home, but at Nebraska and Mike Riley will be very tricky. I think the Ducks can pull it out as they haven’t lost to a non-elite non-conference team in a long, long time.

In-Conference: The Ducks got a very nice in-conference draw. They get Washington and Stanford at home and avoid UCLA and Arizona who gives them trouble.

I think the Ducks hit a hiccup early and lose again at a Washington State program that has given them fits in recent seasons. In-conference things will pick up after that though in the heart of their schedule.

I think they go on a nice run through some middling Pac-12 team for a while until they hit Stanford at home in November for another Cardinal showdown where I think they can squeak out an upset win at home.

From there, I think the Ducks drop at USC, but get another win in The Civil War to close out strong and secure a very good bowl game.

How Will This Feel In December?

Expectations have been set way too high at Oregon, but I think this win will help meet them in the middle. The Ducks won’t be going to the Playoffs, but they will also show they aren’t the dead horse some thought they were. The Ducks won’t love losing a starting quarterback for the third-straight season and losing a lot of talent, but I think this season will show they still can be an elite program in the Pac-12.