Originally posted on The Duck Stops Here  |  Last updated 9/12/12

Fans always base their expectations on the best case scenario, and losing your leading tackler and best blocker in week two comes pretty close to the worst.

The Autzen faithful have become used to success, and the thing about success is, you always come to expect even more. Oregon is 36-6 under Chip Kelly, and the 6 losses have come to teams ranked 4th, NR (8-5 Stanford in 2009), 5th, 1st, 2nd and 6th in the final AP poll. Duck fans entered this season thinking "gotta get it," meaning an undefeated season and a national championship.

The team has rarely been flat or unprepared. In fact, the Ducks have more conference titles in the past 3 seasons (3) than conference losses. 

This is a group that has taken care of business against lesser teams, overcome adversity and stayed on message. The mantras like "win the day," "faceless opponent" and "next man up" have power chiefly because the players buy in to them.

All of that is about to be severely tested.

In York and Boyett, the Ducks lost two senior leaders who were vital to the success of their unit, York on the offensive line and Boyett on the defense. The impact is immeasurable.  Even if you come close to duplicating their talent level and production, it's very difficult to overcome the loss of leadership and experience.

The loss won't be felt immediately. Tennessee Tech is 0-28 against higher division teams, and the first part of Oregon's PAC-12 schedule is at home or against teams they should handle. Arizona looks like the sternest test, 2-0 after a win against Oklahoma State last weekend. Quarterback Matt Scott looks comfortable running Rich Rodriguez's offense.

Sooner or later, the Washington Huskies are going to rise up and upset the Ducks, but it's less likely this year with the game in Autzen.

To stay on top,  a team has to avoid a flood of injuries and stay committed. As long as Kenjon Barner and De'Anthony Thomas don't join York and Boyett on the injured list, the Ducks have a very good chance of earning another Rose Bowl. But it's a day at a time, week at a time proposition. The margin of error has shrunk, and some younger players have to develop in a hurry.

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