Get Realistic: Oregon is not “Elite” and Won’t be Again

Ken Hulse For the Fans

My friends, we have a guest editorial from a Duck-Buddy of mine (Ken Hulse), who expresses some feelings I may not agree with, but others will. Again we do not censor writers on this site, and in fact welcome articles sent by email to me. Remember that we do not use profanity, insult others, or call people names in the comments as stated in our Rules of Commenting. This editorial gives us all some items to ponder….   Charles Fischer

We need to drop any and all expectations for the Oregon football program and should be happy with six to nine wins each year. We should never hope, expect or project anything beyond that. Oregon will never win a football national championship.

There are a few things I have realized Oregon is not. Oregon is not an Elite College Football Program:

Elite College Football Programs all consistently have the following:

Brand Power/History, Clout and Hall of Fame Coaches: Sorry, just because Chip Kelly showed up and took advantage of the Pacific Northwest for a few years when USC was down, Washington was down and Stanford was figuring things out does not mean Oregon has a storied tradition.

We could not hire anyone worth hiring. There were rumblings about Florida wanting Willie Taggart, and I say take him. Honestly, he should consider it and, if he is smart, should go because he is a great recruiter and knows Florida very well. He could be in the SEC and part of the best conference in the country. If he had a brain and ever wanted to win a National Championship, that would be his best bet. However, judging by his coaching prowess, I do not see him ever getting to that level.

OC Scott Frost at Oregon

Yet, Gainesville is a far better destination for 18- to 21-year-old young men, especially those of color. If Oregon was truly a national power, brand and destination, why could we not get anyone better than a sub-.500 football coach with zero Power-5 Conference experience? You know why: because no good football coach in their right mind wants to live in Eugene, Oregon or have to recruit here. We are about the fourth or fifth desired location to live in among just the Pac-12 schools.

Scott Frost left here two years ago to take over an 0-12 program. In year one, he took them to respectability at 6-7, and now this year, his team is leading the national stats in many offensive categories and is projected to go to a New Years Big-Six bowl. Frost took the University of Crap Florida from nothing to Belle of the Ball in two years.

How is this possible? Did he have stellar recruiting classes … better than Oregon? How could that be possible? I assure you, if Oregon played UCF, they’d get blown off the field by at least 4 touchdowns. How is UCF better than Oregon?

In 2016, the following programs had the following records:

Michigan State: 3-9 with only 1 win in the Big Ten. This year, they are 7-2 and in the heat of the Conference Championship. What makes the difference? Well, Michigan State is a traditional power with a superb coach. How is it possible that they could improve so much more and faster than Oregon (another national and elite program, right)?

Notre Dame: In 2016, Notre Dame had the exact same stinky record as Oregon at 4-8,  and well, they must have said extra Hail Mary’s and got some sort of talent truck to show up this year, because now they are 8-1 and ranked #3 in the College Football Playoff. So why did Oregon not have a similar turn around, if the Ducks are elite like Notre Dame, storied and historic, right? (Wrong.)

Arizona was possibly worse than Oregon last year. Now, this year, Arizona is in contention for the southern title in the Pac-12 and already at 6-3 with three games remaining. What happened? Why the incredible swing? Is Tucson a better location than Eugene? Is Arizona a better school?

Rich Rodriquez of Arizona

Last Saturday night, I watched Oregon get schooled and smoked in every aspect of a football game and thought, “Geez, if only WE could have gotten Chris Petersen a few years back.” But we couldn’t have, because Washington is a better program, Seattle is a better city and UW is closer to being elite than Oregon.

In the last three seasons, Oregon is a (superb) 2-6 vs. Washington, Washington State and Oregon State. The Yucks have been outscored by these regional rivals 333-207. Oregon is being owned, manhandled and outright embarrassed regionally. I know Gary Andersen walked away from the tire fire that is Oregon State; however, how much worse of a job is it and how much less of a future does it have than the Oregon job?

Pullman, Washington is an armpit of a place, and yet Mike Leach is running circles around every Oregon coach each year. How is it that Pullman is getting better kids, especially quarterbacks, than “Mighty Oregon”?

The way I look at it, we better start getting used to being average, because the few fat years that we had were the exception and not the rule. Oregon will be lucky to have a 10-win season anytime soon (next 5 years). Everyone keeps talking about the recruiting class, which is great and swell. However, when these real programs start knocking, do you think these kids are going to listen to Oregon? We can already see the future of Oregon in Braxton Burmeister–the Oregon Yucks. If any of these recruits got offers from USC, Washington, Stanford, Michigan, Ohio State or any decent SEC school, they’d flip fast.

That is another thing: How is it that Oregon cannot recruit a quarterback? Marcus Mariota left and the Ducks brought in Vernon Adams because Lockie and Alie were their only other quarterbacks. Do the Oregon coaches learn? Hell no, as the next year they bring in Dakota Prukop and then turn it over to Justin Herbert, the home-grown kid, because no decent national QB recruit looked twice at Oregon. We had a starting D-I quarterback at our “elite” program pass for 31 yards in a game!

How in the hell can ANYONE on scholarship DO THAT? Can we please move Burmeister back to 3rd on the depth chart and never look back? I throw with my right arm, but I am sure I could complete 31 yards of passing LEFT handed. Name any D-I college football program passing for 30 YARDS per game not named Army, Navy or Air Force. Why would any elite receiver in their right mind want to come to Oregon? Why would any decent QB want to come here and sit on the bench for three years hoping to get a sniff of playing time? THEY DON’T!

Oregon is more like Maryland.

The Hawaiian player Tua Tagovailoa, who went to Alabama, would rather sit on the bench there and pick up garbage time for three years than come to Oregon. Remember when he was choosing between Oregon and Alabama? Who could blame him? He picked the program with history, coaching and truly elite status.

Oregon is NOT an Elite Program, such as:

Alabama, Penn State, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Stanford, Washington, Texas (historically), USC, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Michigan, and even Nebraska.

Who Oregon is Comparable to:

Maryland (cute uniforms, big brand money and not much else), Texas A&M, Boston College, Boise State, Missouri and Louisville.

I am venting, but also I feel that too many people are placing too many high expectations on this program. The Ducks are going to be a consistent and perennial 6-6 to 8-4 team, so how about the athletic department at Oregon start to realize this and make ticket pricing reasonable again?

Oregon is a track school–always has been and always will be. Oregon hit the radar in football for a few good years, but it appears that it was a wonderful blip.

You might not like it, but corrupt, sullied or not in its achievement, Washington has one more football national championship than Oregon, and if I was a betting man, I would wager on them getting another before Oregon ever has a chance.

Ken Hulse
Eugene, Oregon

Top Photo: Kevin Cline

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