The football season is over, as is the stock market for 2017, and our investment accounts are bigger in the last year due to wise, informed trading methods! FishDuck.com writer Jon Joseph recently wrote about the Pac-12 in stock terms … so how about an examination of Duck Football as a commodity? Is Oregon Football worth trading, selling, or investing in?
Below, I explore and evaluate our Duck Heroes as an asset class in the the market. There are parallels between the stock market and Oregon football. The Exchanges (DOW-30, S&P-500, COMPQX and NYSE) can be either profitable or a losing proposition, and so, too, can our Ducks.
The metrics used for evaluation of stocks are the Fundamental and Technical analyses. I will use both as they apply to Oregon Football with similar comparisons to securities.
Fundamentals or Assets
Facilities: Ours are first rate, on par with, or better than, any in the country. Autzen Stadium, the Moshofsky Center, and the Mariota Center are state-of-the-art facilities. Strong BUY
Administration: The UO Administration’s position seems to consist mostly of cerebral banter; they barely tolerate athletics at Oregon. They need to completely buy in for us to be relevant again and currently they are not! HOLD
Athletic Department: Our current AD is a bean counter (with poor people skills), and he demonstrates fawning servitude to big donors and a disdain for, or indifference toward, regular fans. He is disingenuous, inept and oversaw our last three terrible hires and contracts. A poor CFO, indeed. Although this is a personal observation, it is also expressed by others inside and outside of the department. HOLD
Coaches and Staff: Three coaches in as many years is an unmitigated disaster! Plus, our new “CEO,” Mario Cristobal, has no experience as a head coach in a Power Five conference. SELL
Current Athletes: Tired of all the constant hype and blather about ratings and stars with consistent under-performance by the guys in uniforms? With a few exceptions, many are either over-rated, under-achievers or both! When is the last time we had players exceeding expectations, as in years past? SELL
Mega Donors: Uncle Phil and other large contributors are on par with other top programs in the college football landscape. They’re the reason the Ducks are even in a position to compete. BUY
Fans: Mostly, our fans are loud, loyal and unique, but they get happy feet with losses. Sellouts are looking like a thing of the past, but they will be crucial to the Ducks’ success going forward. HOLD
Tradition: The past decade was terrific in establishing Oregon as a conference blue blood. However, the last couple years we have been fading fast to irrelevancy with fewer wins. HOLD
Pac-12 Conference: The conference was very weak this season, with no true, powerful champion or CFP contender (and a horrendous bowl record to boot). This could have been the year for Oregon to rise to the top, but it did not happen. SELL
TV Contracts: As a resident of rural Oregon, I bought the Pac-12 Network and was promised ALL of the Ducks’ football games. Lo and behold, they didn’t broadcast FIVE games from last season. The Pac-12 Network is a crappy channel outside of that, unless you like soccer, volleyball, or gymnastics (non-revenue sports). The programming is ridiculously sub-par compared to the ACC, SEC and BIG 10. We are falling behind these conferences in the dollar payouts to schools as well. Strong SELL
Performance: 11 wins versus 15 losses in the last 26 games is beyond mediocre, it’s terrible. The door, however, is wide open for the Ducks to run, not walk, through the Pac-12 to get back on top. Eight wins total, with five in-conference, is the absolute minimum required to move the needle next year. While I would love nine or ten wins, it’s out of the question to this rational investor. SELL
Forward Projections: I’ll buy in to the “we’ll get ’em next season” mantra. The off-season always brings the hope that happy days are just around the corner. Hopefully, the foundation is being laid for superior on-field performance in the fall. After all, each team is undefeated and optimistic heading to spring practice. BUY
Cycles: Although I have talked mostly about the Ducks’ shortcomings in 2017, success in sports is always in flux, with peaks and valleys for almost everyone. Only the few elites stay consistently at the top. If this is true, it means the Ducks are on the rise. BUY
X Factor: In stocks, an unforeseen event can completely change the value of a commodity, causing a huge, unexpected increase in valuation or a plummet. As Duck fans, we can’t rule out an unforeseen X Factor. An unexpected injury, a breakout season or something else? HOLD
Must Wins: In the North Division, the Ducks must beat Stanford, UW, or Washington State to get above eight wins. These are established winning programs in the top tier of the conference. Frankly, I cannot see it happening next year. SELL
Price: When watching the Ducks, do you ever feel like you’ve ordered a filet mignon and yet you’re eating tube steak? It is simply that the product (Ducks Football), up to this point, does not match the price we’re paying for it, hence the empty seats at Autzen. SELL
Volume: Loud and shrill fans are one thing, but what we need is a consistently sold-out stadium like Nebraska (even though their product has been very pedestrian in recent years). This keeps the revenue flowing and makes the volume at Autzen something for visitors to contend with. Recently, fans have simply not been up to the task. SELL
Where will Oregon football be headed next year and beyond as a stock? I count four Buys, five Holds, and seven Sells. Not a ringing endorsement looking forward, is it?
The list above looks a little bleak. Yes, we will hear comments about new coaches coming on board and how great they are or will be. So, too, will we hear about the February Signing Day and all the big “gets” for next season. But hype will move a stock only so far until fundamentals and technicals assert the true value inherent in it. Oregon is in the same boat. Sailing or sinking depends on performance, not hope, wanting or wishing.
I am selling this product based on the metrics above. I bleed green and yellow–always have and always will. Yet a dose of realism is needed here. We are not a good team, living in a bad conference.
What do you think? Do the Ducks possess valuable enough assets to Buy, to win a Natty? I certainly hope so, but I think we need to see excellence on the field before becoming fully invested in Duck football.
Steven E Smith
Powell Butte, Oregon
Top Photo: YouTube Video