Oregon’s Tradition is Their Innovation

The Oregon Ducks defeat the Stanford Cardinal 45-16 at home and remain in the hunt for a Pac-12 title and National Playoff spot.

With the 2015-16 season quickly approaching, there has been a lot of talk about which team is the best “bet” to win the National Championship next year. After a trip to the Rose Bowl and National Championship last year, it seemed that the Ducks were on their way to a new level of recognition among college football fans. However, Vegas and sports analysts alike still do not have Oregon as their choice to win it all next year. In fact, Ohio State is the most favorable team for next season.

Despite their success throughout history, the Ducks still fail to reach the level of prestige that teams such as Ohio State and Alabama have. Many critics argue that this is simply because the Ducks have yet to win a National Championship game. The reason, however, is not that simple. National Championship titles, as important as they may be, do not make a team a powerhouse.

Autzen stadium Ducks vs. South Dakota

Kevin Cline

Autzen Stadium Ducks vs. South Dakota.

A successful football program is not made up of only players and staff. They are the starting point, but it takes the overall image of the team and the fan base to take the program to the next level. Programs that have large followings are often rooted for in tradition within associated families. They have traditional uniforms, mascots, and the way they go about playing football.

Oregon does not fit the traditional mold. Oregon is the team that wears a new uniform  every game and is constantly evolving in order to become the best team they can be. Oregon strives to have a tradition of innovation, so many fans who follow traditional football programs dislike this.  The fact that Oregon’s style does not blend well with other teams often makes it hard for critics to take it seriously.

Former Oregon Ducks Coach Chip Kelly

Kevin Cline

Former Oregon Ducks Coach, Chip Kelly.

Chip Kelly brought the Ducks more attention by taking them to a BCS game all four seasons of his career. The Ducks have been on a steady incline since Kelly’s days as head coach. Many worried that when Kelly left, the Ducks would lose momentum.

Mark Helfrich helped the Ducks to continue pushing toward the goal of a National title. Helfrich also brought depth to the Oregon team by placing more emphasis on the defense and working closely with defensive coordinator, Don Pellum. Oregon’s defense helped the team to a number of victories in the 2014 season.

This next season will be the first season since Marcus Mariota left for the NFL. Mariota was not only a solid quarterback, but also a true leader for the team. Since the quarterback spot for the Ducks is still undecided, many critics are curious to see how the team will play with a new quarterback. Many people are hesitant to put their faith in a team that could realistically go with an untested QB.

When Oregon football came into the spotlight, many people formed an opinion on what kind of team it was. Oregon got labeled as fast and was not really seen as a heavy hitting team. Thanks to their use of the spread offense, they were able to push past many successful defensive teams. This type of offense is not well-known but has recently spread to other teams. Ohio State is also a big supporter of this type of offense, which is why the match-up between the two teams got so much attention.

Oregon leads Arizona 23-0 at halftime in Levi Stadium.

Craig Strobeck

Oregon lead Arizona 23-0 at halftime in Levi Stadium.

The qualities that make Oregon unique and effective are often the very ones that turn people against them. Their use of innovation and speed make them seem less dependable to people that have grown up with the “traditional” teams. It may take the Ducks winning a National title for the team to gain the recognition they deserve. Regardless of that, Oregon will continue to make it a point to succeed their way, even if it does not fit the traditional mold.



Top Photo by Craig Strobeck


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Kylie Stiglbauer

Kylie Stiglbauer

I am Kylie Stiglbauer and I am a Junior at the University of Oregon where I am studying Journalism with an emphasis in Sports Writing. After growing up in Southern California, I moved to Oregon to attend the University as well as be a Member of the Oregon Marching Band. One of the fondest memories I have with the band is attending both the Rose Bowl and National Championship Game in the same year and cheering on the Ducks. I am a huge fan of the Anaheim Ducks as well as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. I Hope to be able to make a career out of Sports writing in the Future. Twitter: @kylienoel


    I like it when the National media and Vegas pick against the Ducks because this should light a fire under all these players as a sign of disrespect. They have Baylor and TCU ahead of the Ducks which is totally ridiculous as the Ducks have the best offense in the country and now we have 2 capable QB’s if 1 goes down with an injury. Hopefully this season isn’t marked with any injuries like the ridiculous amounts they suffered through last year. Oregon had 5 starters missing in that last game. Here’s my prediction Oregon back in against OS and winning it this time. The Defense will be the key as in will these LB’s make plays and as a whole this D puts the offense on the sidelines after 3rd down. That was the main problem for this Defense was getting 3 and out.

  • GoDucks

    I share your optimism, but it’s way to early to do any complaining about where Oregon belongs in the rankings, because we have no quarterback with any significant game time experience in our offense. As for Ohio State being number one, I have no idea how much they lost in last year’s grad, but with three five star qbs in their stable, all of whom are proven, and ther running back who shredded us, Alabama and Wisconsin.