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Heading into the 2021 season, the Pac-12 had a handful of potential candidates to fight for this year's conference title. Oregon, looking to win their third straight championship, were obviously considered to be favorites prior to the season. 

Yet other schools within the Pac-12 believed this could be a special season. 

USC is always a program to watch thanks to their ability to recruit high-level players on a consistent basis. Washington is another Pac-12 power program that always fields a considerably strong team. Schools such as Arizona State and Utah were sneaky picks out of the South that were dark-horse candidates to potentially win the conference. 

Yet through four weeks of football (and one week of Pac-12 play), one revelation has become obvious: The Pac-12 is Oregon's to lose. 

It wouldn't have appeared that way at first glance, especially when perhaps the best player in the country (defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux) went down with an injury and the Ducks nearly dropped their opening game to Fresno State at home. 

However, Oregon quickly rebounded by upsetting Ohio State in Columbus the following week and hasn't looked back. The Ducks, through four weeks of football, are the lone team in the Pac-12 without a stain on their record. 

USC fell apart rather quickly, firing head coach Clay Helton and dropping to 2-2 on the season (1-2 in Pac-12 play). Utah is nowhere near the team many believed the Utes would have been, and the same could be said for Washington. 

UCLA and Arizona State have both stumbled already in the early parts of the season, and with the two programs set to square off at the Rose Bowl next weekend, one of those teams will end up with two losses on their record.

In-state rival Oregon State appears to be the toughest test for Oregon in the Pac-12 North, as the Beavers are 3-1 thus far and have looked considerably good in each game they've played. The Ducks will host Oregon State in the season finale in Eugene. 

ESPN's Football Power Index (FPI) has the Ducks favored in every game moving forward, with their lowest probability (55%) to win coming in a trip to UCLA on Oct. 23. 

The Pac-12 is painfully insignificant in the grand scheme of college football, as the other four power conferences boast much better players, teams and overall prospects for making noise in the College Football Playoffs. 

The conference's one hope? The Ducks running the table and securing their seat in the four-team playoff towards the end of the season. 

College football is as unpredictable of an event as any other in sports, yet Oregon has already established themselves as front-runners for a third straight Pac-12 title. Even if the Ducks stumble along the way, a weak division would likely ensure Oregon still has a stake in the conference championship game set to take place at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Dec. 3. 

At this moment, the Pac-12 is Oregon's to lose. It will take a lot to change that, as there's not a light at the end of the tunnel for the majority of the teams in-conference despite "Pac-12 After Dark" threatening to upset any team at any time.