Disgruntled fans, take note: Ducks' recent climb may be short-lived

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The hate mail will pour forth from Columbus and Boise this week. That's perfectly understandable.

After all, I vaulted Oregon to No. 2 following the Ducks' 52-31 win against Stanford on Saturday. This will irk the Buckeyes and Broncos, because both their schools beat Oregon last year, and most of the personnel from all three teams remains intact.

Which begs a question: How much should last year's results play into this year's polls? Purists would say that anything that happened in another season should have no bearing on this season. Others, meanwhile, will point to the startlingly similar starting lineups and suggest that the same thing might happen again.

I fall somewhere in between. Since this is just a beauty contest and we have no opportunity for these teams to settle this on the field, every piece of information helps. Boise State did shut down Oregon's offense in the season opener last year. Ohio State did dominate the Ducks in the Rose Bowl. I considered those factors when I put together this week's poll.

But I also considered the fact that Oregon has a new quarterback (Darron Thomas) who appears to make the offense more potent than it was under Jeremiah Masoli. That makes the Ducks different from the team that lost to Boise State and Ohio State. Also, after a sloppy first quarter that led to an 18-point deficit, Oregon put the hammer down on a top-10 team, outscoring Stanford 49-10 in the final three quarters. Neither Boise State nor Ohio State has put together such an impressive win to this point.

That doesn't mean Oregon is locked in at No. 2 and Ohio State and Boise State are stuck at No. 3 and No. 4. Last year, I shuffled undefeated Alabama, Texas and Florida almost every week depending on how each team looked the previous week. That's probably going to happen this season as well. So if the Ducks decide to go on cruise control this week in Pullman, don't be surprised if the Buckeyes or Broncos leap them again.

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