Is Oregon REALLY a Top-10 Team?

Charles Gearing Editorials Leave a Comment

The Oregon hype train is picking up steam. The Ducks are the popular pick to win the Pac-12, and many pundits have them pegged as a playoff dark horse. ESPN is the latest to jump on the train, placing Oregon at No. 10 on its 2019 Football Power Index, far ahead of several Pac-12 rivals and one spot behind their Week 1 opponent, Auburn.

On the surface, a top-10 ranking might seem premature. Oregon certainly looks to be a program on the rise, but the Ducks have a difficult schedule and questions about scheme and coaching to put to rest. Their lasting impression is an underwhelming bowl victory over an average Michigan State team, after all.

But there are too many things to like about Oregon in 2019 to go against the preseason analytics.

With superstar quarterback and Heisman hopeful Justin Herbert at the helm, the Ducks possess one of the most threatening offenses in college football. Returning any starting quarterback is a big deal, but when that quarterback has received one of the highest senior evaluations in a decade — and is a potential top NFL draft pick — it’s an even bigger deal.

Herbert won’t be alone. With all five offensive linemen returning to form arguably the top group in the entire country, he should have plenty of time to read defenses and pick them apart. Furthermore, running backs CJ Verdell and Travis Dye teamed up to form quite the one-two punch in their freshmen campaigns. With another year of experience, and another year of running behind an elite offensive line, their numbers should be even better in year two of their collegiate careers.

Eugene Johnson

Dye could join Verdell in eclipsing 1,000 yards in 2019.

There is less certainty at receiver, but the addition of big-bodied transfer Juwan Johnson should help the unit figure itself out. Herbert and Dillon Mitchell had one of the best connections in the Pac-12 in 2018. If Herbert and Johnson can develop a similar chemistry, with an improved run game and even minimal improvement at the other receiver positions, the Ducks’ offense will be humming in 2019.

While the Oregon offense possesses talent worthy of a top-10 selection, the Ducks defense also has the potential to deliver in 2019. With the arrival of new defensive coordinator Andy Avalos from Boise State, expect to see an aggressive, and more importantly, improved Oregon defense.

Avalos has proven himself successful in the past, thriving at Boise despite sub-par recruiting classes. Now, he has All-Pac-12 candidates Troy Dye, Jordon Scott, Jevon Holland and Thomas Graham Jr., along with blue-chip incoming freshmen Kayvon Thibodeaux and Mykael Wright.

It’s fair to say that he has a bit more to work with in Eugene.

Kevin Cline

Scott will command double teams routinely in 2019.

Anyone who takes preseason rankings of any variety as anything more than fodder for fun offseason conversation is doing themselves a disservice. Although the FPI has been pretty accurate at times, it’s still an imperfect projection that often looks entirely different when all is said and done.

With that said, the fact that the FPI favors Oregon so much suggests that the Ducks could be in for a big season. With the talent they have on the roster, and the momentum they’ve built, it’s time to prove the pollsters (and computers) right and play like a title contender in 2019.

The hype train makes its first stop in Arlington, Texas on August 31. Will you be on board?

Charlie Gearing
Eugene, Oregon                                                                                                                                                                                         Top Photo by Kevin Cline


Chris Brouilette, the Volunteer editor for this article, is a current student at the University of Oregon from Sterling, Illinois.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Daily Articles NO MORE on FishDuck

Please see this explanation right here… and to learn about the impact of FishDuck on so many–check the summary right here.  I will be writing intermittently on FishDuck (as the mood strikes) this summer, and a couple of times a week during the football season, and those articles and analyses will be posted here on FishDuck, and the links to my articles will also be available on the new site PuddleHuddle, when it is up soon.

New at FishDuck? Learn about the site right here!

Our 32 rules can be summarized to this: 1) be polite and respectful, 2) keep it clean, and 3) no reference of any kind to politics. Easy-peasy!

Take note though, there are NO STRIKES, NO WARNINGS, and NO SLACK given. Violate the rules and you are gone, as this is what the 99% who post superb comments want. (The Ban could be for weeks, months or permanent) For the less than 1% out there who do not have impulse-control … as you write your comment that violates our rules, ask yourself, “is this worth getting banned over?”

FishDuck members….we got your back.  No Trolls Allowed!

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments