What went right: A lot. When a team finishes ranked No. 2 in both major polls, tying the school's best-ever final ranking, it's difficult to cast things in a gloomy light. The only way to have done any better was to win the national championship. The Ducks were dominant on both sides of the ball, ranking second in the nation in scoring offense (49.54 ppg) and 25th in scoring defense (21.62 ppg). Most games were over at halftime. Other than the lone loss to Stanford, no team was within 11 points of the Ducks. In fact, eight of 12 foes went down by at least three TDs. The Ducks vanquished their top rivals, Oregon State and Washington, in dominant fashion, and won a second consecutive BCS bowl game, this time topping a top-five Kansas State team decisively, 35-17, in the Fiesta Bowl. What went right? Just about everything.
• Ivan Maisel and Ted Miller talk with new Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich in this audio podcast.
• Rob Moseley reviews the offensive line for 2012 and looks ahead to 2013.
• Matt Prehm has the latest on recruiting.
• John Canzano says the Oregon coaches are trying to fend off their Ohio St. counterparts from "stealing" recruits.
• Josh Huff was acquitted of DUII charges yesterday.
• The Ducks check in at 6th in USA Today and 15th in Baseball America Preseason Polls.
• Michael Clay makes the first Oregon appearance on ESPN's Pac-12 top 25 for 2012.
In a league loaded with speed-rushing outside linebackers (note that all three linebackers on the first-team all-league squad were OLBs), it was Clay who we felt was the strongest of the middle backers (we used four LBs on our all-league team, because we're edgy and anti-establishment). He was the emotional leader on a Ducks defense that ranked 25th nationally in points allowed (21.62) -- up from 52nd the season before when it allowed more than 24 points per game. He was at his best in big games -- posting a career-high 20 stops in the Ducks' only defeat of the season -- an overtime loss to Stanford. His team-high nine tackles -- including two for a loss and Oregon's lone sack -- were enough to earn him defensive MVP of the Fiesta Bowl. It was Oregon's second straight BCS bowl game victory, capping a 12-1 season.