Team Ranking Meaning: Fans vs Players


Beloved readers and fellow fans — game day is just around the corner, which means it’s time for me to start getting those nauseous/anxious butterflies in my stomach I’m always talking about. However, I must say the way our men have been playing these past few weekends has transformed my stomachache from anxious to excited!

I honestly believe that team is stronger than it has ever been before, and that is a growing strength due to hunger and determination to win a National Championship. As I reflect upon this past season, our rankings and stats, it suddenly dawns on me how important these numbers are in sports. I cannot help but wonder who cares more about these numbers, the players or the fans?

A sea of yellow in a packed Autzen Stadium.

Kevin Cline

A sea of yellow in a packed Autzen Stadium.

When we went into the Arizona game we were ranked No. 2; after the upset we dropped all the way down to No. 12 going into the UCLA game. As the weeks have continued, the number has become smaller and smaller, and now as our Ducks head to face the Utes and what is said to be one of the more difficult stadiums to play in as an away team, we are ranked No. 5 in the AP Poll and No. 4 in the CFP Poll.

For us as fans, this number is more of a bragging right as it pertains to relevance in our lives. The ranking of our team is the number we go to when we are defending our Ducks against anyone who tries to compare their team to ours. For example, since I am from Arizona and have friends here, I have heard this many a time: “ASU is way better than Oregon, are you kidding me!?” This is when the typical fan would more-than-likely respond by pointing out that first of all, yeah right. ASU better than our Ducks?! Don’t make me laugh. But also, ASU is ranked No. 11 and we’re ranked No. 5 which obviously qualifies us statistically as a better team than ASU!

Don’t lie, friends; you’ve had a similar conversation when defending our Ducks at some point in your life — am I right? Now that I have started writing for and began to learn more and more about the sport, I can back up my explanation as to why our Ducks are so much better with solidified reasoning; however, I would not count this particular argument out. It is still valid in my eyes!

Mariota after scoring a touchdown against Stanford.

Craig Strobeck

Mariota after scoring a touchdown against Stanford.

But the way we see these numbers is entirely different than the guys actually determining the number. I cannot say this for sure, as I have not discussed this topic with any of the players or coaches, but I am assume a lot of what they do revolves around the number. It’s so important when it comes to the opponent they are going to face, the opponents they have already faced, the scores of games the amount of yards they produce through passing and rushing, and so much more.

Not only is that number statistically important to the players and coaches, but it is also a mode of determination and motivation. We went from being ranked No. 2 to being ranked No. 12, and the loss of that game turned the entire season around! Since then, we have not come anywhere near returning to a double-digit ranking and we have seen a team enter out on the field every weekend that is so much better than they were the previous weekend.

On one side, we have a number that is used to defend our Ducks. On the other side, we have a number that is used to motivate and determine where the team will end up at the end of season… but in reality, it’s the same exact number. Isn’t it crazy how the same thing can have such differential meaning depending on who it pertains to?

Top Photo by Craig Strobeck

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McKalie Bellew

McKalie Bellew

McKalie Bellew just moved to Oregon from Arizona. She is a sophomore at Lane Community College and moved here to pursue her dream of studying Sports Journalism and Broadcasting at the University of Oregon. Her passion for sports is admirable and her determination and hunger for success in the sports field is fascinating; if you ever have the chance to talk to McKalie face-to-face about sports, you’ll know how much she loves these games just by the way her eyes light up during the conversation. When unable to attend Ducks home games you can find her in front of a television on the edge of her seat, cheering her crazed-fan-head off. McKalie appreciates your feedback and constructive-criticism to help her become a better writer and reporter.