2020: Oregon’s EASIEST Path to the Playoffs Yet?

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck Editorials

Could the COVID catastrophe end up helping Our Beloved Ducks? This is a crazy year, where we cannot anticipate anything and have been surprised at every turn, usually to the negative. Perhaps it is our turn to benefit from the unexpected? Could this new Pac-12 schedule end up being the easiest path for the Ducks to the Playoffs yet? 

So many questions, and I’m sure one of them is, “what-the-heck Charles … I thought you were taking time off?” Yes, I am and we are going to have three articles a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) during the month of October as we get the final articles that writers submitted finally published. I was planning to write a Ponder-Point once a week, but with my management duties reduced–the writing beast within me is reemerging, my mind is a raging torrent and I cannot help but share my thoughts when I have something to say and the time to write them.

We have all noted the disasters occurring in the Big-12 with losses by Kansas State, Texas and Oklahoma that possibly gives the Pac-12 an opening for the Playoffs. Notre Dame has to play Clemson possibly twice? My concern would be that the rustiness we have witnessed from other teams nationally could afflict Oregon as well with a newbie offensive line and quarterback.

Yet the schedule early for the Ducks starting with Stanford gives us potentially some slack for the growing pains, although going to the Palouse in November gives me pause. A last-play field goal victory last year does not mean the tide has for certain moved toward the Ducks considering the recent history against the Cougars.

Kevin Cline

Same opponent, same time, same weather and same result?

Playing the Beavers in the middle of the season doesn’t seem quite as odd when it is done on the Friday after Thanksgiving this year as it usually is. I love how the schedule finishes off with the toughest games at the end of the season as the offense receives enough time find their groove. For once, Oregon may get held together early by the defense? Of course the best part about playing Washington during this COVID year is not having any of the butt-sniffing bastard fans of the north invade Autzen. (Although home field advantage is lost?)

So many aspects of the schedule to discuss!

Rely on Higher Mathematics

Just as we are told to follow the scientists with COVID precautions, it makes sense to look at higher mathematics and complicated algorithms to determine why the Ducks have an easier path than usual to the playoffs. It can be condensed to this…

“There is more opportunity to lose once over twelve games than seven.”

Yes, with fewer games you have no slack, but it was always that way for any Pac-12 team. I would like to think that if we go undefeated and beat Cal on the road, the Huskies at home along with the south champion, (hopefully USC who is 6-0 when we meet) that with enough stumbling by other teams nationally-that Oregon could sneak in. This hope is not any more misplaced than any other year, and as long as weird things are happening … why not this?

From Twitter

Brown steadily improved during his time at Boston College.

When you consider such a short season with no room for error-does it make sense to start an experienced quarterback in Anthony Brown who has already been a starter for two years, and let Tyler Shough ease into the position since the schedule matches up superbly for such a strategy? Brown will not have the familiarity with the receivers, but he might be better for Zone Reading and the Run-Pass Option plays (RPOs) that new OC Joe Moorhead is known for. Reliance on experience may not be a bad call for a shortened season as the weather may require depending upon the running attack.

I love the scenario proposed by our own Jon Joseph, who suggested that Oregon meets No. 1 Ohio State in the first round of the playoffs at the Rose Bowl? How cool would that be?

“Oh how we love ponder about Our Beloved Ducks!”

Charles Fischer   (Mr. FishDuck)
Eugene, Oregon
Top Photo by John Giustina

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