The Oregon football team will open the season as the highest ranked team in the Pac-12, but still with some work to do to crack the top 10.
The Ducks were ranked No. 11 in the Associated Press preseason poll released Monday morning, two spots higher then defending conference champion Washington, which opens at No. 13.
The No. 11 AP ranking is Oregon’s highest to open a season since 2015 when it started the season at No. 7. The Ducks also are ranked No. 13 in the preseason coaches poll that was released Aug. 1.
Other Pac-12 teams in the AP poll are No. 14 Utah, No. 23 Washington State and No. 25 Stanford.
The Ducks open conference play against the Cardinal at Stanford on Sept. 21. They'll face the Huskies and Cougars in back-to-back weeks, with a game at Washington on Oct. 19 and at home against Washington State on Oct. 26. They don't have the Utes on their schedule this season.
Oregon's first game of the season will be a top-20 matchup when the Ducks play No. 16 Auburn on Aug. 31 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The last time Oregon opened at No. 11 was 2010, Chip Kelly's second season as head coach. That team went undefeated during the regular season, won the Pac-12 and played in the BCS Championship game, which it lost to Auburn, 22-19, to finish 12-1.
Defending national champion Clemson opens the season at No. 1 for the first time, followed by Alabama at No. 2, ending the Crimson Tide's record-tying three-year streak of being the preseason No. 1 team.
Clemson received 52 first-place votes and Alabama received the other 10.
Georgia is No. 3, followed by Oklahoma, Ohio State, LSU, Michigan, Florida, Notre Dame and Texas to round out the top 10.