Oregon All-Time Isn’t That Great

Ryan Robertson Editorials 31 Comments

We see it all the time online these days — Washington fans bringing up their program history as a way to try (and fail) to convince recruits they should pick the Huskies over the Ducks. The fans make the claim that Washington’s number of first-round NFL draft picks is indicative of the health of their program, while more and more top-tier recruits choose to head to Eugene.

Are their fans really right? And have the Ducks historically been strong, or are they just beginning to taste success?

Much to the disdain of many fans of Oregon, the Ducks don’t stack up very well historically. Given their recent success, it would stand to reason that the Ducks would be moving up many all-time lists, but the Ducks appear to be mostly stagnant in their rankings.

The Bad

Gary Breedlove

Historically speaking, 2016’s result was more typical than we would all like to think.

Some of the stats that were examined on Winsipedia did not paint the Ducks in a good light. Compared to the teams with whom Oregon hopes to compete, the Ducks come up so short that it is more than a little shocking.

Starting with conference championships, the Ducks are tied for 54th all-time, with 12. Of that 12, four are from the Pacific Coast Conference, a conference that hasn’t existed since 1959. With the three earned in the Pac-12, that means from 1960 until 2010 the Ducks won the conference only five times. That is an average of only a single conference championship every decade.

Considering that the Ducks are tied with Arkansas State, a program that is 11 games under .500, for conference championships, the Ducks need to keep winning them to prove themselves an elite group.

The next less-than-impressive stat is that the Ducks rank 57th all-time in Consensus All-Americans with only eight. For reference, Notre Dame is first all-time with a whopping 102. That is 94, more than any other team has, more than the Ducks. Notre Dame is a single dominant year from moving to 100 more All-Americans than Oregon.

Now that stat would be insignificant, but the Ducks cannot count themselves as one of the best programs if they fall that short of any program. Given that the Ducks have a real shot at three All-Americans in 2020, they have a chance to move up this list, but it will be slow going. No matter what, Oregon needs to get at least one more, since the Ducks are currently tied with Oregon State.

The last and most glaring hole in the Ducks’ resume is a big fat zero under “National Championships.” Considering that only 42 teams in the FBS have claimed a national championship, the Ducks are in the majority in having zero. It is, however, high time to complete their two decades of crawling up these lists with a national championship.

The Promising

The Fiesta Bowl

Marcus Mariota made Oregon one of only 19 schools with a Heisman Trophy winner.

Oregon ranks 25th all-time in weeks spent in the AP Poll. They will move out of a tie for that spot with Georgia Tech as soon as the inaugural poll of 2020 is released, presuming that Oregon will be ranked and the Yellow Jackets will not.

From there, the Ducks need only to stay ranked over the next three seasons and they should move into 24th place. This stat saw a lot of movement last season as the Ducks passed four teams as the year progressed.

In the next two or three seasons Oregon should also pass Virginia, Boston College, and maybe even California on the all-time wins list. Given another strong decade, the Ducks could feasibly move in to the Top 30 in all-time wins. The Ducks are currently tied for 36th all-time with Virginia, but given their relative strength the Ducks should pass the Cavaliers this season.

The Ducks rank 36th all-time in players drafted, with 224. Given the 29 players (at least) on the current UO roster who should be drafted over the next several years, as well as the incredible recruiting of the last several seasons, the Ducks should expect to climb this list in earnest. Under Mario Cristobal Oregon should find itself in the Top 25 in no less than 10 seasons.

The Odd

John Giustina

Oregon upset Michigan twice in the 2000s.

There are some odd stats to consider about the Oregon Ducks.

First, and perhaps most frightening considering the implications, is that the Ducks are 47-60-5 all-time against Washington. That means that at the start of their 12-year winning streak, the Ducks were 33-58-5 against the Huskies. When any team is 25 games below .500 against one of its main rivals, the series doesn’t seem like a rivalry, but a lopsided series.

Another extremely odd stat is the Ducks’ record against Pac-12 opponents; 369-369-27. That means that despite the last 20 years of general dominance, despite the general awfulness of the mid 1900s, and despite the Ducks being nearly 200 games over .500 all-time, they have exactly as many wins as they do losses against teams in their conference.

The Ducks are 0-0-2 all-time against Army. That means that after two full games, over six hours of football, neither team could outscore the other.

In 1958, the Ducks lost a game at the end of the season to Miami (FL). The Ducks lost 0-2.

Oregon is also 0-9 all-time against Ohio State – with only one game ever decided by one score.


The Ducks are a building brand. The addition of Nike to the program acted as a springboard and drug Oregon out of the bowels of college football. Recency bias says that the Ducks are one of the top programs in the country, but history says that they experienced some 70 odd years of below-average play before starting to improve.

With Cristobal at the helm, the Ducks should become a Top-25 program historically. Only time will tell if he will succeed.

Ryan Robertson
Yuma, Arizona
Top Photo by John Giustina

Natalie Liebhaber, the FishDuck.com Volunteer Editor for this article, works in the financial technology industry in Bozeman, Montana.

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Mike West

Great article Ryan.

I missed out on a high school dance to see USC crater the Ducks. I’m talking a 500 billion gigaton thermonuclear blast that radiated for twenty years. I was threatened with “you’ll never go to another game if you miss this one”. LOL. It took Brooks awhile, but man that guy learned how to be a very good leader.

I remember the days when the Fusky fans would ruthlessly chant “Rose Bowl” at Autzen in the 70s and 80s. Then the turn of the Century had the conference looking pretty good. The North had Rodgers at Cal, Smith at OSU, Joey with us, and Leaf at WSU and the Fuskies were really good too.

And then the avalanche started. Now we ponder Natty titles, while the Fuskies gaze at a has been three years with Browning, and a Blue Blood reputation dissolving before their eyes. Oh yeah, MM claimed our first Heisman as well.

Yep, I remember when the Fusky fans didn’t even consider us a rivalry. Now they DESPISE US.

Ain’t it cool?

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Another regular in this community that MADE MY DAY!

Jon Joseph

Thanks Ryan

Lots of bad history to distance from, but Mario will continue to overcome.

Fortunately, I don’t think that today’s recruits give a whip about the past history of the Ducks teams.

Today’s recruit asks: Can you get me to the pros and can you get me to the playoff?

I will reiterate, considering the hurdles he has to overcome including being located in a state that does not produce oodles of P5 guys, a network that is a drag on and not a help to recruiting, the down status of the conference and frequently kicking off after dark, the man may well be the best recruiter in the USA.

Compare Nick Saban’s recruiting at Michigan State to what Mario is doing at Oregon. Prior to him coaching in Louisiana and Alabama, Mario blows Nick away.

And to think that Mario makes one half of what Gus Malzahn brings down every year?

The Ducks must do whatever it has to and keep this man in Eugene. There is no doubt that he is on the radar screen of every major program with a coach on the warm seat, let alone the hot seat.

Great take, thanks again.


So much to agree with here, Jon, and I’ll even go further with some. I don’t see any question about Mario being the BEST recruiter in the USA; in fact, with respect to coaching he’s the best in the aggregate.

Dabo has done a great job at Clemson; but it’s in a recruiting hotbed. My hat is off to Ed Orgeron, who thank goodness wasn’t appreciated at USC for what he did last season at LSU. Alabama wasn’t Alabama before Saban got there, so he must receive his due. But after a while I have to view him through the same lens with which I view Phil Jackson; and of course the BCS and the Playoff politely bend over for Saban.

Everything about Mario, so far, indicates that he is committed to turning Oregon in to the best program in the country. He isn’t looking to go anywhere. Of course, that doesn’t mean he isn’t going to be sought after, and Oregon can’t take him for granted.

David Marsh

I think this stuff is what makes being an Oregon fan so much fun. Personally I went to the university of Oregon for really two reasons… 1) they have a medieval studies program and 2) they were instate.

I liked the ducks before I attended the school but I really didn’t become a die hard fan until later.

The most exciting aspects about being a duck fan today is that Oregon is one of the very very few teams without a history of national championships and the blue bloods to actually have a chance of winning a championship. With that there is also a joy being the under-“duck” and taking on those big time opponents.

Oregon hasn’t broken through yet but here is a statistic that would be jaw dropping to fans in the mid 1900s during Oregon’s especially terrible times… Oregon has won 3 Rose Bowls in a decade.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Your last line made me shimmie-my-shoulders with a shudder of delight. GREAT observation to start our week off!

And to think it was not that long ago to this Greybeard, that the ultimate insult a Husky would fling at us was, “win a Rose Bowl and get back to me.”

So sweet…


Fortunately, when I was 7 years old my family left Seattle for Eugene It took a couple of years, but after I had been to some games At Autzen & Mac Court, I fully comprehended just what a life changing move that was!

Some, mostly Husky fans, throw shade on the Chip Kelly teams; “the Huskies & Trojans were down”. You want to look at down? Check out the Ducks teams that Don James’s Huskies were mushing on. Talk about a hammer & a nail. But, there was no calculating relative strength going on by Washington fans; in true Bully spirit, they swelled up with each knock down.

But, the Ducks got back up; 12 straight times during one stretch. When the Huskies finally snapped the streak, against a Ducks team that defined what Down actually was, they demonstrated the “class” of the Bully teams of yore.

That’s just football. Oregon is “Track & Field”, In basketball, the Ducks have, “the Kamikaze Kids”, Luke & Luke, Sabrina Ionescu, the Huskies have Ryan Appleby, and back to football. It’s 2 in a row and countin’, Dawgs.

Jon Joseph

Your move to Eugene happened approximately 100 years after Charles’ folks arrived in Corvallis, and then gave birth to the man who would become: Mister FishDuck!

Jon Joseph

Medieval studies? That my friend is definitely Old School.

I do hope the season is played and if so, the Ducks get to compete in The War of the Roses.

Jon Sousa

Thank you, Ryan. This looks like it was a lot of work to write. The title looks more like click bait for a Husky or a Beaver than for a Ducks fan, but you did a great job giving us great reasons to be pleased with the present and optimistic for the future.


Thanks for the article Ryan, and the research you put in. As a greybeard, I can remember some of the ‘olden days’ when ‘not that great’ would have been a very nice description of the team, and more than they might have deserved. For most Fans (and recruits) however, it Is about now and tomorrow, and not about twenty to eighty years ago. Oregon today has a very good standing, and a very bright future. I still have a hard time believing the (prior to the pandemic) Oregon was PAC 12 champs in football, men’s basketball, and women’s basketball and we’re looking good in baseball, softball, and track & field!
Lastly, my comment to any dawg fan regarding team superiority is “count the NCAA Championships!”

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

You last sentence makes a great point; Washington has eight NCAA Championships, while Oregon has 33.

Washington mens programs have 0, zero NCAA Championships. Washington is has a decent women’s athletic department, and a very weak men’s athletic program.

Also as an old alumni I relish the days when we were long shots to win. I still, to this day, feel Oregon is the longshot to win. Even back then I thought they were going to win every time. Maybe it was the youthful positivity. Now that I am more of a realist, it is nice to know we actually should win.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Track & Field and Cross Country Coach Robert Johnson created ELEVEN National Championships in Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor Track in the three year period of 2014-2017.

Think of it; he created more National Championships in three years than the Huskies have created in over 130 years!


I think you need a current section in your article. You stated that UW is trying to use their “History” as elite to recruit and it is failing but why exactly is it failing. I mean they claim 4 National championships but that doesn’t seem to be working so what is?

I think Alabama is a good case study, Prior to Saban Bama went through a lot of ups and downs following coach Bryant, they had some good seasons and a few bad seasons since Saban’s second season they have one double digits everytime. Bama is currently synonymous with winning. so why does it matter that every year since 2008 alabama has had double digit wins?

Most of the high school seniors born this year will have been born in 2002 at best they probably only remember watching football from 2008 onward. What is going on at washington is similar to Michigan. Since LLoyd Carr left Michigan it has been tumultuous hire after hire with very little reprieve(Harbough).

So what about Washington and oregon, Well since the Don james Washington has been in the same cycle as Michigan though Peterson was their reprieve. Not only that but having a coach leave the team doesn’t help and likely washington would be doing a lot better with instate recruits if he was still the head coach but now all the players have to decide if lake is worth the gamble.

And oregon, While historically hasn’t been great we need to look at the current era of football. I could care less how many wins notre Dame has in the 60’s or what they did under lou Holtz what have the done now.they have actually done a lot which is why they are still relevant But it is the same with oregon. What has Oregon done since the onset of the BCS. Well for starters they’ve only had 2 losing seasons, Played in 2 national championships and have a heisman winner. If we look from 08-14 the had double digit wins every year(Which i think is key as oregon was on TV a lot and the current recruits would have been watching oregon during that entire era. Lastly oregon Helped revolutionize the sport, Everything Oregon ran during that time frame was and is still being used at the Highschool and youth football leagues.

Also oregon is about to have it’s best OLine recruiting class ever, why? I think having a true sophomore win the outland trophy is why. I truely think Winning begets winning, Oregon winning the rose bowl and a staff willing to capitalize on that in the recruiting trail allows for oregon to land better prospects. If you land better prospects you should win more thus landing even better prospects. it is working for OSU, Bama and Clemson all of which have a recent history of elite teams and winning and elite recruiting. Now I am not saying oregon is their, they are still are in a process and need to keep focusing on it, but maybe soon they can land themselves in the playoffs and win a game.

It’s not great in a relationship but for a recruit picking his best team the thought “what have you done for me recently” is probably a pretty apt one and the fact that Washington has a rose bowl victory in 2001 prior to the birth of the recruits and oregon has 3 in a decade probably the most important thing to these recruits

Jon Joseph

Spot On! If you look at recruiting rankings, the Ducks is the ONLY ‘recruiting outlier’ to have played for both a BCS and PO title.

Husky fans will seize on this article without looking at their long-term history as well. Prior to Don James…their long term record was barely above .500 and since he left–we know the story. Being a dominant program for a long time is pretty hard regardless of who you are.

But the Ducks are changing it, and THAT is the message I wish to focus upon. Good information, although I do like how Darren Perkins recently pointed out that since “the pick” in 1994…Oregon has a winning record against every conference opponent, and in particular has a 74% win percentage against the Huskies. (19-6)

That will never get old!

And the young do not really care about the old; what happened back in the day,


Isn’t looking back as far as ’94 good enough most days?…. Since then Oregon has a winning record against every PAC school. Every one. Heck, since the Covids have taken over the world, most days I can’t or don’t want to remember yesterday….


I do remember some of the old times which make our record look pretty mediocre. Fortunately the recruits weren’t around in those days!

If you really go back Alabama and Notre Dame do look pretty good. Unfortunately they are only tied for 3rd place in finishing first in college football. Two programs which are totally irrelevant are first and second. Princeton and Yale are 1 and 2 in finishing at the top of college football.

I think it is more important to think like a recruit, than a historian. Unfortunately the dawgs do best thinking like a historian rather than an up and coming program. Let them look at the past and we will dominate the future!

Jon Joseph

Notre Dame – no other school with a losing record could produce a Heisman winner; Paul Hornung. Who, and this stinks, won instead of one Jimmy Brown.

Is it any surprise that with ND’s season threatened, the ACC says, ‘Thank you Sir, can I please bow a little lower and have another!”

If the PO continues beyond 2025, this ND scam must end. Blown away in its BCS appearance. Blown away equally badly in its playoff appearance by Clemson, a school that ND should have been waxed by in the ACC Champ game.

Darren Perkins

Thanks Ryan. As one who is just old enough to to have seen the Ducks when they were completely awful (attended first game in 1980), it has been tremendous to see the growth of the program over the past 40 years.

From awful, to not so awful, to mediocre, to above average, to pretty good, to pretty darn good, to title contender. There has been the occasional step backwards, but like a nice stock, the overall trend has always been upwards.

Just one more stop to go: National Champion.


The Ducks record for this century certainly looks better than it’s overall record for last century.

Jon Joseph

AMEN Annie!


Thanks Ryan for this revealing stats historically through the years. I must say it hasn’t looked pretty through the years, but I do like how Oregon is building their brand nationally and the projectile of this program. I guess the old saying goes, “what have you done lately” definitely rings true with how recruits are looking at Oregon (it definitely helps having some of the best recruiters on staff along with Nike’s affiliation).
MC is really building something special! Loving the coaching staff he has brought in along with the recruits that have and are coming to Oregon.
I do like the fact that Oregon has beaten Washington 14 times out of the last 16 seasons! I do know that Washington had some down years, but It’s been competitive the last few years which does make the rivalry more fun to watch.
It is exciting to see what is happening on the defensive side of the ball at Oregon. Hoping to see the same happening on the offensive side as well with our new OC on board.
Again Ryan always appreciate what you bring to this site with your articles. Very informative.
Go Ducks!


Great article, Ryan. A lot of us can remember, back in the early 70’s, pre Jerry Allen, when the Ducks winged over to Oklahoma and Nebraska, the games were awful, but it was a nice check. Those days are gone now, thankfully.

As far as Washington. “The Pick” , still played before every game torments “Softy” more than we can hope for. They snapped the streak, than got another win, and it looked good. But now it’s 2 in a row for the Ducks, and it’s, “Sleepless In Seattle” again for the Husky Honks. They can’t understand how any player can choose Oregon, and it’s always fun to remind them of, Bobby Moore, (Ahmad Rashad) and Jonathan Stewart, who crossed the border, or ask them to list the Husky Heisman winners.


Love your “Sleepless in Seattle” comment 30Duck. Classic!


As I have said before, those Michigan upsets – both 2003 and 2007 – put the Ducks on the map for this kid who grew up north of the border from Big 10 territory. So now I am a Ducks fan (since I always hated USC and Washington during the games vs Michigan).

Go Ducks!