Who will transform tomorrow?

September, 21, 2012
9/21/12
9:00
AM ET
If you buy into the Sports Illustrated cover jinx, you'd best click away. Here are a couple of sites I picked completely at random that you can feel free to peruse at your leisure. (Site No. 1 and Site No. 2).

If -- like me -- you find jinxes to be hogwash, then read on and see why Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas is the player to watch this week.

There is striking while the iron is hot, and then there is striking when the iron has gone nuclear. Thomas is the talk of the college football nation right now with his latest appearance on the cover of Sports Illustrated. It's fantastic exposure for the school and the conference. There is a genuine national interest from the Heisman shareholders, and many of them will be tuning in to watch Thomas on a national stage against a ranked opponent. Hard to imagine he'll disappoint.

Thomas' highlights are good at any temperature. Reheated on YouTube, they are fantastic. But there is something about watching him live that leaves the jaw scraping and the eyes wanting more. We should get plenty more on Saturday night as the third-ranked Ducks kick off conference play against No. 22 Arizona.

A couple of things to ponder:
  • Thomas is fifth in the conference in rushing. On 13 carries. 13!
  • He's averaging 17.5 yards per carry and has four rushing touchdowns (third in the conference). On 13 carries. 13!

As Mark May said on last night's ESPN's "College Football Live" pregame show last night: "That man there, he fast. He real fast."

And as my Pac-12 co-blogger is fond of saying, now we'll see what happens when Oregon plays a team with a pulse. The good news for Thomas is that Arizona's pulse is on the offensive side of the ball. The Wildcats are expected to put up some points -- meaning this probably won't be a first-half blowout for the Ducks, as their first three games have been. So we might actually see Thomas deep into the second half. That will bode well for his numbers.

Because this week, the world is going to be watching.

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