Q&A: Pac-12 Analyst Yogi Roth not worried about Oregon, still confident Pac-12 champion will make Playoff

Since its 31-28 loss to No. 2 Michigan State two weeks ago, No. 13 Oregon has continued to drop in the polls. The Ducks, who recently dropped to their lowest ranking since 2011 in the AP Poll, have a chance to move back up with a matchup against No. 18 Utah on Saturday.

Before the season, the Emerald spoke with Pac-12 analyst Yogi Roth about Oregon and the Pac-12.

Roth, who is still confident that the conference champion will reserve a spot in year two of the College Football Playoff, hasn’t changed his perception of the Ducks or the conference.

Here are his thoughts about Oregon and the Pac-12 heading into conference play:

Emerald: What was your takeaway from Oregon’s loss at Michigan State?

Yogi Roth: One is that [quarterback] Vernon Adams Jr. is the dude. He’s got legitimate star quality. It’s unfortunate that he had a banged up finger and some of his accuracy was off. But, big picture wise, I thought he gained a lot of respect from his teammates. I saw a guy who is a gamer. He can play on the big stages. I don’t think this loss is going to hurt them too much just because what the playoff committee has done in the past is they base it off the reality versus the perception. The reality is that he hadn’t been in that offense for over a month yet and he went in and played the way he did. Reality is that they went up against a really good team in a hostile environment for all intents and purposes, had a chance to win the game.

E: Has your perception of the Oregon defense changed after [MSU]?

YR: If you really look anywhere across the country, a lot of teams in college aren’t tackling a lot in training camp. For obvious reasons: to stay healthy, trying to not have violent collisions in a game, etc. So, a lot of teams miss tackles because they don’t practice a lot. That’s what I thought we saw week one. I’ve always been impressed with their ability. On paper, they got the oldest front seven in the Pac-12 and their [secondary] is really gifted. I’m not worried about [defense]. It’s too early in the season to be worried. Let’s talk after the Utah game. Then, I’ll let you know if I’m worried if they can play physical football or not.

What does the Pac-12 need to do to ensure its champion gets into the playoff?

I think the conference is respected enough by the committee. The road they go through is harder than anybody else: non-conference games and the championship game. The conference is really deep. You talk to anybody from Tuscaloosa (Alabama) to Northern California, they’re going to say the same thing. So, I do believe the Pac-12 champion, a one-loss champion, will get into the playoff. It’s going to get interesting if there is a two-loss team. It will be fun to see what happens.

Follow Hayden Kim on Twitter @HayDayKim

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Hayden Kim

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