Ultimate Dis: ESPN’S Todd McShay Says Oregon Was 7-6 in 2015

Mike Merrell Editorials

This isn’t a case of man love, but you’ve got to admit that ESPN’s Todd McShay is one handsome dude. That suit he’s wearing had to cost more than my entire clothing budget for the century so far.

McShay is a former college quarterback. It was at the University of Richmond where he served on the scout team before a back injury ended his career, but hey, that still counts.

ESPN pays McShay money to bless us with his knowledge, so you know he has to be knowledgeable. When he first opens his mouth to speak, from the first words out you can tell he’s articulate.

Then you get to the second words out of his mouth, and you think what the hell.

In a recent interview on ESPN’s College Football, McShay was asked if the golden era of Oregon football was over. The second thing he said was,

“They (the Ducks) should have won that bowl game a year ago. That would have been eight wins, I believe.”

–ESPN’s Todd McShay, referring to 2015 Oregon football.

Okay … what is going on here?

First I thought maybe Todd was really, really bad at kindergarten math and they just gave up trying to teach him numbers.

Then I thought maybe he was getting Oregon confused with Washington. The difference can be troublesome for people back East. I can forgive that. I could come close, but I couldn’t place Rhode Island, Connecticut or Massachusetts on a map. But this isn’t about geography. It’s about football! And Todd McShay is an expert, so that couldn’t be it.

Then it dawned on me. In spite of the handsome, obviously intelligent face; in spite of the four-digit or whatever suit; in spite of the ESPN title; in spite of the articulate delivery …


And ESPN no doubt paid him good money to make it clearly obvious to anybody who does.

Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey is a Heisman candidate, but ...

Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey is a Heisman candidate, but …

For those who don’t understand what I’m getting at here, Oregon won nine games last year. Had the Ducks won one more game, that would have made ten wins, not eight. If Todd McShay is reading and he still doesn’t get it, one more win means that you add one to the win column, not subtract it.

Someone who is giving expert opinion on whether the Ducks’ “Golden Era” is over really ought to know what their record was last year if he wants listeners to give credence to a word he says.

But McShay gave further proof that he gets his expert knowledge from whatever he happens across on the internet rather than doing any hard core research. He added that “this quarterback situation has to be figured out.”

Just because McShay doesn’t have something figured out does not mean that, say, the Oregon coaching staff hasn’t got things figured out.

News Flash! Oregon quarterbacks have led the nation in passing efficiency the past two years in a row, with two different quarterbacks. And the Ducks have been in the top five nationally in scoring for five years running. Apparently without having their quarterback situation figured out.

Granted, the Ducks did not fare well when they had to turn to a backup last year. A lot of teams don’t. But last year’s backup quarterback is now number five on Oregon’s depth chart.

McShay mentioned Dakota Prukop, possibly replaced by Travis Jonsen or Terry Wilson if Prukop doesn’t work out. McShay has not been following the Ducks closely enough to know that 6’6″ 225 lb. freshman Justin Herbert has been lighting up Ducks practices.

This past spring Herbert was 8-0 as a pitcher for Sheldon High. He struck out 71 and gave up only 11 walks while posting a 0.66 ERA. So you know he has an arm, and there’s a hint that the arm might be accurate. According to a recent Register Guard article by Ryan Thorburn, Darren Carrington and Charles Nelson rate Herbert’s arm as already the best on the team.

Herbert also batted .447 and had six stolen bases, so he apparently has eyes and wheels as well. His name deserves mention in any discussion concerning Oregon’s “quarterback situation.” If McShay knows this guy exists, it seems to have slipped his mind.

The Oregon running attack, now led by Royce Freeman, has consistently out-performed Stanford.

The Oregon running attack, now led by Royce Freeman, has consistently out-performed Stanford.

But this, obviously, is the year to sell the Ducks short. In annual position rankings, ESPN placed the Ducks behind Stanford at the running back position. While it is possible that Stanford’s running backs may end up out-performing Oregon’s this year, there is absolutely no rational basis to expect it to happen.

It is true that Stanford’s all-everything Christian McCaffrey ran for 83 more yards than Oregon’s Royce Freeman did last year. But that was only because Stanford does not have the depth that Oregon has at the position. Stanford’s # 2 running back, Bryce Love, would be fifth on Oregon’s depth chart.

Freeman actually averaged half a yard per carry more than McCaffrey. And Oregon’s four returning running backs ran for 3,058 yards in 2015. Stanford’s two returning running backs ran for 2,245 yards, eight football fields fewer.

Oregon has led the Pac-12 in rushing for the past ten years in a row. The Ducks are four deep to Stanford’s two deep. To rate Stanford stronger than Oregon at this position is … let’s just say that it’s consistent with everything else the learned media has been saying about the Ducks in a year that 4 is less than 2, and 3,058 is less than 2,245.

And, according to Todd McShay, apparently a year in which 9 + 1 = 8.

Top photo from ESPN video

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