Ask anyone – Oregon didn't play their best game Saturday afternoon. There were penalties, 11, which accounted for 119 negative yards. The Ducks were dismal on third down and worse on fourth down. There was a blocked extra point, and for all his brilliance, Marcus Mariota missed on half his pass attempts.
All these early-season miscues might have been a problem for ordinary teams. For Oregon, it all amounted to a 49 point road victory over an ACC school.
Virginia, the ACC school Mark Helfrich's team smashed 59-10 on Saturday, beat BYU on the opening week of the season. The Cavaliers beat them with a nasty defense, in the midst of severe weather, 17-12. This week, after a weather delay, BYU blew out #15 Texas.
In other words, Oregon is extraordinarily good. A step back with the departure of Chip Kelly? We're just watching the Ducks get more and more clinical.
There's a handful of teams in America who can beat Oregon this year. Alabama, Ohio State, Stanford, and a few more. Everyone else can't hold the Ducks within 30. Oregon's win was by far the largest margin of victory by a BCS school over another BCS school.
With the exception of the loss to Stanford in 2012, Oregon didn't play another game that they didn't win by less than 20 points. This team's level of dominance over the last three and now four years is mind-boggling. Win The Day? How about Obliterate The Day.
Am I wrong to believe the Ducks are all but immune from being upset? That they can only be beat by a team with superior talent? I watched Virginia in front of a sellout home crowd play with energy and intensity, trying to keep up with Oregon. They were run out of the stadium within minutes of kickoff.
Oregon's team and individual and team speed makes it next to impossible for less talented teams to keep up. Eventually, teams just get blown out. It's inevitable.
The Ducks are known for several different things, but they are true innovators. Oregon has been brave and bold, they've broke the mold and they've been copied.
First it was the uniforms. Now everyone has the uniforms. Then it was the spread offense. Now everyone has the spread. Then it was the tempo. Now everyone is going up-tempo.
Oregon's newest innovation is their spaceship of a football facility, but their best new trait is the de-facto elimination of the upset bug college football is famous for.
It looks from the outside like Oregon operates with more focus and composure – and less drama – than any other team in football. The fact that that trait has moved from Chip Kelly to Mark Helfrich, a young, first-time head coach with no real record or pedigree, is a testament to Oregon's players and supporting coaching staff.
All around the landscape of college football, we see close games, the unexpected, major excitement and unpredictability from every corner of the country – except Eugene. Oregon just doesn't play close games anymore. The program is a machine. The last time the Ducks were well and truly upset was against an on-the-rise Stanford in 2009.
It was 59-10 Saturday. DeAnthony Thomas once again wowed with his blazing speed, and the Ducks offense hummed. It was Mark Helfrich's first road win as Oregon head coach, as if the result was ever in doubt. This game was against Virginia. It might as well have been Nicholls State.