EUGENE, Ore. -- The Pac-12 season opener for Oregon and California was a soggy affair as a constant rain and wind pelted Autzen Stadium on Saturday night. So what did we learn after Oregon's 55-16 dismantling of the Golden Bears?
Oregon has multiple weapons. Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota entered Saturday's game as the Heisman frontrunner. Running back De'Anthony Thomas also has been having a strong year. Thomas went down on the opening kickoff, while Mariota had a rather quiet night. No matter: others shined on this night, in particular Byron Marshall at running back and receiver Bralon Addison, who scored twice on punt returns.
Defense and offense work in harmony. Oregon once again scored early and often, scampering to a 27-0 lead in the first quarter. Per usual, none of those touchdown drives took more than two minutes. However, credit the Ducks defense. Oregon recovered four Cal fumbles in the opening quarter, often leading to prime field position for the Ducks offense.
There is still a difference. During halftime of Saturday's game, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott made the case to reporters that the conference as a whole is becoming stronger, with more than just two teams making some noise nationally. While programs like Washington and UCLA indeed have seen a resurgence thus far in 2013, Saturday's game in Eugene -- not to mention Stanford's lopsided win over Washington State -- showed that doesn't mean everyone is equal.