Predictions are flying in as the official first week of college football commences on Thursday to begin a full weekend of games.
As a result, legendary NFL scout Gil Brandt has announced his darkhorse national title team. The pick may surprise you.
Brandt has tabbed the Oregon Ducks as his darkhorse selection for one of the four playoff spots. He believes the Ducks could also end up winning it all.
Brandt's reasoning falls on the shoulders of Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert and the offensive line. Herbert — who many believed would've been a top-five NFL draft pick in 2019 — elected to return to Oregon for his senior season.
The senior QB passed for 3,151 yards and 29 touchdowns in the 2018-19 season leading Oregon to a 9-4 record. While Herbert's talent is clear, many give much of the credit to the Ducks' offensive line for leading such potent offense.
The offensive line boasts four seniors and a sophomore left tackle who many regard as one of the best young players in the country. Protecting Herbert and running the football should come as no problem for the Oregon offense.
Teams like Oregon, Washington and Utah are trying to resurrect the Pac-12's playoff hopes. But the conference as a whole has struggled to gain prominence. The Pac-12 been selected to the College Football Playoff just twice (Oregon in 2014 and Washington in 2016).
The 11th ranked Ducks will open their season this Saturday, Aug. 31 against the 16th ranked Auburn Tigers.