Pac-12 Championship and Beyond: Who’s Poised to Breakout?

Alex Heining Editorials 104 Comments

Our Beloved Ducks’ 2020 football season hasn’t lived up to snuff. It’s been a tumultuous year for the entire country, but we expected more of the outstanding recruits we were able to accumulate over the last couple offseasons. As a fan you can point to the starter turnover, loss of veteran presence, you name it.

Then again, we are just fans. Fans who may have seen one of the more exciting bowl games in team history to conclude 2019, narrowly beating superstar runningback Jonathan Taylor’s Wisconsin Badgers, but perhaps unfairly expecting more of a team we thought to be in a position to “reload” instead of “rebuild”. We’re fans who aren’t in the locker room, fans who don’t get to see the day to day of what these players are going through in a year unlike anything we’ve seen before. Don’t get me wrong, I want the Ducks to win as much as anyone. But even after dropping a couple games consecutively, there are several players to be excited about.

This Friday is a great time for us to see the strides this roster and these coaches have made to make the chemistry of this team operate at a high level. Given the performance in the past two games, there’s a lot left to be desired. But there are a few stars that are shining bright already just a few games into their first action in Autzen Stadium, and although it may be hard to see the brighter side at a time like this, this matchup against USC could be the perfect opportunity for these players to make a leap.

Tom Corno

Dye runs to the open field against the Wildcats, demonstrating his elite field vision

For me, the Pac-12 Championship will be Travis Dye’s big night, and it will begin his breakout implications for the 2021-2022 season. This could bode extremely well for the Ducks’ offense next year, assuming Dye chooses to forgo the NFL Draft for one more year at Oregon. I’ve loved watching his game diversify so greatly in the past couple of seasons as a Duck, and his ability in the passing game particularly really sets him apart from even the most elite of running backs in recent years across the nation. His vision and elite open field ability are traits that the NFL is going to be itching to get working at the next level, but for now, we can just enjoy the play of one of Oregon’s best.

Should 2021 be a “normal” season, I could see Dye pushing the Ducks’ former great De’Anthony Thomas numbers (1200 scrimmage yards, 16 TDs in 2011), sitting somewhere around 1100-1200 yards from scrimmage and 12-14 TDs. Scores come in bunches for Dye, and even being in an offense that doesn’t rely on that “feature back” role as heavily, he still has accumulated 6 TDs in only five games this season.

Like many of you, I am ready for the Ducks to get back the good foundation that’s in question now after the past two losses. This game against USC on Friday may have been the Huskies to play, but let’s see our Ducks make it their own. This is a great opportunity for Mario Cristobal to flex his team’s ability to prepare and bounce back for a high note conclusion to our short season. Should the Ducks win, I think it’ll be on Dye’s shoulders, as he firmly takes the torch from CJ Verdell into the 2021-2022 season.

What do you think? Is this Dye’s time to prove himself, or will another star emerge on offense?

Alex Heining
Eugene, Oregon
Top Photo by Tom Corno

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Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Ducks Add Game With USF




EUGENE, Ore. – The University of Oregon men’s basketball team announced the addition of a nonconference game against San Francisco to the 2020-21 schedule.
Oregon (4-1, 1-0 Pac-12) will host the Dons Thursday at 5 p.m. at Matthew Knight Arena in a game that will be televised by Pac-12 Network.

USF (5-3) claimed one of the biggest upsets of the 2020-21 college season when they knocked off then-No. 4 Virginia 61-60 Nov. 27 at the Bubbleville event in Uncasville, Conn. In its last game, USF lost at the buzzer at California on Sunday, 72-70. The Ducks are 8-2 all-time versus San Francisco. The last meeting was a 100-82 Oregon win on Nov. 24, 2013.

Great news! The only slight blemish is that the game will go up against Justin & the Chargers against the Raiders, but that’s what VCR’s are for, or at least Sports Center.


If the Ducks play to their potential they will smoke SC.

I look for KT to do some damage in this one. He only has one sack on the season, but I think he gets a few here.

I also hope to see a pick or two on Slovis, maybe one from DD…..can’t believe he doesn’t have one on the year.

But what do I know…….as soon as I wrote some positive stuff the other day about how I am rooting for Sam Noyer and Colorado they get hammered by Utah.

Jon Joseph

Please allow me to take the excellent comments to this excellent take to 100!

Fortunately, I shot a bit better than this today.

Thanks for the help in keep on a keeping on in a very strange year.


Jon Joseph

The new CT Top 25 –

8-2 UF takes the L at home against unranked LSU and drops 1 spot to 7?

UGA a team that lost to both ranked opponents is No. 8?

Coastal Carolina at 11-0 with a W over 17 BYU is at 12 and Cincinnati is at 9?

No. 19, 9-1 Louisiana, handily defeated No.6 Iowa State.

USC at 5-0 is 13, with a better SOS and a better SOR than 5-0 Ohio State.

Fortunately for ‘our’ conference a 4-1 CU hung in there at 25.But this helps in games played against neither the Trojans not the Ducks.

The SEC, again, will get 4 teams into the $ bowls. The Pac-12, come on Ducks! 1 team.

Why for goodness sakes should the Pac-12 stay in this shell game through 2026?

Also, my guess is that the Rose Bowl will not host a semi-final game this season.

Can’t spell sucker without suck.


Every week this look at Top 25 just reaffirms our disdain for the “Playoffs” and the cmte. Florida loses to LSU and drops 1 place. If Notre Dame beats Clemson, for the second time this season, the cmte will still have a very hard time keeping Clemson out.

Ohio State, with a lower SOS & SOR than does USC will be there IF they can get past Northwestern?
Every other minute or so one of the ESpinners reinforce that the cmte will put the “4 best teams in the Playoffs!”


Jon Joseph

And never forget, every game counts, right?

A complete scam that has enriched the SEC, Clemson and Ohio State. And has destroyed a whole lot of national interest in the greatest of games.

Tom Hansen, I get it. He was a good man and a dupe. Larry, after seeing what went on before the BCS went to BCS x 2, I can’t and won’t forget or forgive. But this is a mere peccadillo compared to his ill begotten network.

No fans in the stands on Friday. But you know Larry will be there with his mask o hiding his multi-million dollar smile as he hands out the trophy.

Look, there have been cancellations everywhere. But why not start the season in the last week of September for those allowed to play? And if your locale did not allow you to play leave town as did Stanford. before taking down UW. The lads on the field on game days are not contracting COVID. The teams that have not been able to be on the field and not, have all operated under appropriate medical guidelines.

Delaying the season has saved the lives of how many Oregon players and staff? BUY has played 11 games and Utah 5, or is it 4?

And I cop to being overly concerned about potential litigation.

Jon Sousa

And the rich keep getting richer. Next year there will be 5,6 7??? elite athletes in the linebacker room.

Justin Flowe and his little brother Jonathan will both be true freshmen next year, thanks to COVID.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

He’s good, but he is a Rivals three-star and we are now at 21 verbals to sign tomorrow.

David Marsh

Jonathan Flowe looks good and his ranking has probably been hurt a bit due to a lack of a football season… well a spring season. I read that he has some academic issues he is sorting out.

But a good pick-up regardless… brother duos have done well at Oregon and I look forward to seeing it continue. Saddly, we didn’t get to see the Sewell brothers both play for Oregon this year.


He’s looked safety sized to me for college ball. Any inside dope on him?

I’ve seen references to academics too, but no idea if/how valid they might be. That said, a good candidate for early enrollment to get his academics in order under a controlled environment.


You ask, What do you think? Is this Dye’s time to prove himself, or will another star emerge on offense?

I would say it is going to take more than Dye having a career day, and he hasn’t shown us what DAT had, that would be amazing.

What it will take is a few guys stepping it up and having career days. One guy is the only freshman on the two deep WR chart, Kris Hutson. He put up some monster games as a high school kid from Compton, sc’s hometown, will he again?

The other guy who has to step out of his first season jitters is Shough. If he doesn’t have a career day, at passing, we are doomed. Maybe we have a new highlight call, ‘Shough to Hutson, again!’

Basically we need everyone of our players to step it up. More importantly the coaches need to step up their games. I’m excited to see it happen, as I always pick my Ducks to win!


Going in to the Championship Game, USC actually has a good chance of making it to the CFP with a win. By definition, they will definitely “want it more”. According to Andrew Nemec, it’s just another game for the Ducks. What do we think?

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Darn….I have to follow my own rules, otherwise I would tell you what I think of Nemec. (He is probably fishing for hits with his trolling)

I think the team and the fans believe this is a HUGE game; at least it is to me!

What say all you?

Nemec’s stance here really doesn’t make any sense at all to me. It’s the Championship game. Does Nemec really think Oregon should just approach it as another game, another W?

Speaking of W’s. Huskies coach Lake said in a tweet that if Oregon wins, they’re the Champions, simple as that. If a Husky can have that clarity, how does it elude Nemec? What does he expect Oregon to do if they win, and SC isn’t such a powerhouse this season that they are a sure thing. As David noted, what about Utah?

OF COURSE IT IS A BIG, BIG game for the Ducks. Shreveport or the Fiesta Bowl? Andrew needs a time out.

‘Badges? You don’t need no stinkin’ badges!’

David Marsh

I think a 2 loss Clemson team gets in over USC… or a 2 loss Big-12 Champion.

The Pac-12 Champion to make the playoff needed to dominate the confernece. USC hasn’t dominated the conference by any stretch of the imagination. No Pac-12 team is going to the playoff this year.

I think the Oregon team wants to win the Pac-12 championship just as much as USC as a redemption game.

I would also like to point out that last year Utah was actually knocking on the door of the playoff and they were supposed to “want it more” than Oregon.. and we all know how that game ended.


I wouldn’t be surprised at all if a 2 L Clemson got in, it would lay to rest any legitimacy the CFP has. To be clear, I’m not the one s[outing that USC has a chance with the win. FWIW, ESPN’s computer says that SC would have a 39% of getting in, A & M has a 37%. No undefeated Power 5 team has been left out.

David Marsh

True.. but no undefeated power 5 team has only played 6 games before either… especially when teams from other conferences have have played closer to 10+


Of course there’s Ohio State, who at the most will have 6 games played. They have been in the F 4 the whole way, the B1G did everything it could to make sure the Committee sees them. Personally, should USC win, I would love it if the Cmte pushed thee Ohio State out and put Pac-12 Champ, USC In.

David Marsh

I wouldn’t mind seeing Ohio State kept out of the playoff… granted Ohio State’s blood is as blue as it comes. They also come from a conference with a better reputation than the Pac-12.


And, in an end fitting for 2020, if USC replaced Ohio State in the CFP, instead of the season starting with Ohio State @ Oregon, it could finish with Ohio State and Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl.

Jon Joseph

And if the SEC had followed the ACC, Florida would not have played LSU on Saturday.

David Marsh

Well… maybe maybe not… in truth LSU has been suspect all year while Flordia has been touted as a team that might actually challenge Bama for the SEC Championship (thy wouldn’t). So LSU playing Florida at Florida didn’t seem like a potential danger to Florida.

Turns out LSU has some life in them but the game was close so it wasn’t a bad call for SEC scheduling… but it does show the volatility of this year.

Jon Joseph

The ACC canceled out the COVID postponed games for both Clemson and Notre Dame.

Yes, both Clemson vs FSU and ND vs Wake would likely have been wins for both. But Come On Man!

No conference masters this shell game better than the ACC.

With ND a limited, special invite, 1 season ACC true football member, the ACC is in line to capture 3 $6M $ bowl checks. UNC assuming a Clemson re-match win will play in the Orange Bowl. Likely against 3L Florida?

Jon Joseph

ESPN’s computer, GIGO?

Jon Joseph

Great call. A 6-0 Ohio State, in with 2 top 25 wins. A 6-0 SC with 0 top 25 wins; not happening.


Yes, most likely it would go to Ohio State. The idea of the cmte pushing Ohio State out and shoving Pac-12 USC in, is worth a dream. Perhaps this is another dream, and rooting for Notre Dame twice is hard. But what if Notre Dame beats Clemson again?

Jon Joseph

Bama, ND, OH ST, A+M.


I could live with that. Of course it would start out with the rematch everybody wants to see???? Alabama – Texas A & M, Tide rolled 52-24 earlier. It could have USC meet with ‘Bama, as scheduled.

Jon Joseph

CFP? With 6 games and zero top 25 wins? There is a Lloyd Christmas chance and that is all.

Who in the hay is Andrew Nemec?


FWIW he is the Recruiting Beat Writer for the Oregonian.

Jon Joseph

Thanks 30; why am I not surprised?

“Just another game?’

David Marsh

I am really hoping to see some significant changes and improvements on both sides of the ball this week. Oregon’s defense showed some great improvement against Cal and we have seen what this offense can do this year but it was missing against Cal. I am hoping to see the defense continue to progress and make another leap… especially with what was effectively a bye-week last week.

On offense I am really really really hoping to see more use of the shotgun… I still expect to see more pistol than desired but I want to see more use of the shotgun this Friday. Maybe I’m living in hope on that one… but we did see it used a bit more reguarly against Cal… only to be sabotaged later in a drive by the pistol.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

You and I are living in the same zip code of hope; if Oregon can actually put a “best” game together on both sides of the ball…they could win this!

This time of year, that’s the zip code for the North Pole, right?

I FED X’d my letter to Santa today. All I want for Christmas is a Fiesta Bowl.

Jon Sousa

Make that a Fiesta Bowl championship….

Jon Joseph

I haven’t been a good enough boy or golfer, to ask for so much.

Jon Joseph

I said Shotgun! Shoot it ‘fore he runs now!

Jon Sousa

Last year, after reining Herbert in all year, they turned him loose when the games really counted… the Championship Game and the Rose Bowl.

Hopefully, the Ducks will play “like there is no tomorrow” this year also.

Jon Joseph

A running QB works in CFB and in today’s NFL. Philly QB Jalen Hurts ran for over 100 yards on Sunday.

Josh Allen at Buffalo has the Bills headed to the playoffs using his wheels as much as his arm. And Justin has carried on carrying the ball in The League.

You have to go back a ways to find a CFB champ game that did not have a run threat at QB. This includes Oregon’s Thomas and of course, Marcus.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

It makes sense that whatever Cristobal and Oregon are going to settle on in their contract negotiations will be done today in order to assure the signing of the recruiting class tomorrow. (Currently ranked No. 3 in the nation with Rivals)

I do salute Cristobal as the best recruiter in Oregon football history…by far. (Although the best recruiter at any sport just might be Kelly Graves and his staff)

Jon Sousa

Good observation Charles.

Jon Joseph

Mario Cristobal given the circumstances is THE best recruiter in CFB.

Graves, yeah. He builds Oregon into a Power with players like Ionescu, Sabally & Hebard, Lexi Bando, Maite Cazorla, and when they leave, he picks up the #1 class, all 5 the top players in their states. Next season is already looking great, with 6’8 Phillipina Kyei and Taylor Bigby so far.
Meanwhile, Dana Altman has the #1 Class in 2021.

Santa Rosa Duck

Nice article Alex. I hope Travis Dye has a big night Friday similar to the one Kenjon Barner had a few years ago in Memorial Coliseum. He has earned the start. I think Coach Christobal will have this team ready to play.

USC is coming off a tough game and now a short week. Vavae Malepeai is questionable for this game of course that could be posturing. Looking forward to this one, GO DUCKS!


Love the focus on Dye–he seems to be rising above the pack and coming into his own. Beg to differ on your comment, “This game against USC may have been the Huskies to play.” No, the same Covid rules that allowed the Huskies to claim the North Division without playing Oregon are the same Covid rules that allowed Oregon to play USC without playing Washington. Convoluted to be sure, but the game was still awarded to someone based on the most current realities. Clear as mud!


Mike Leach describes the season:

Jon Joseph

LOVE IT! However, The Pirate in 2020 built the plank his team walked off of.

An all SEC schedule did not help the SEC middle and lower classes. This revealed what most of us thought; the top of the SEC is all that. the rest?

Mike West


I’m waaay late to the plate on an article I believe ties to this one. Clearly Dye is the nitro to the glycerin OC Moorhead has as a foundation for an offense that should actually be a nuclear device (I’m talking more explosive that Little Boy and Fat Boy Hiroshima and Nagasaki experienced—I’m talking about some serious gigaton devices).

A friend of mine and I back in our ancient boomer days used to brag how awesome we were. We’d say things like “you think you’re bad Little Boy, well I’m Fat Boy”. The other of us would say “well, those archaic days date you, I’m mega nuclear, like Gigaton nuclear!”.

So let’s relate this to players and coaches. The Chipster had one of a College football’s best offenses in 2010, not to mention a damn good defense to boot (very underrated in my opinion). He had LMJ, Barner and the unheralded Darin Thomas, as well as stealth bombers Josh Huff, Keanan Lowe and the deadly B2 Jeff Maehl.

On defense he unleashed Cliff Harris, Terrance Mitchell in the secondary, as well as Kenny Rowe, Wade Keliipiki, Spenser Paysinger, Michael Clay, and Casey Matthews along the front seven. That defense wrecked mayhem on offenses despite their 21 PPG stat fact. Good ole Chip had himself a 10 Gigaton uranium special on his hands, and both units laid waste to plenty of teams in that dream season.

And believe it or not, that team was MORE PHYSICAL THAN AUBURN JANUARY 2011. Just ask Cam Newton how he felt after limping off the field that night. He was sore for days I’m quite sure (and he got jittery after that sack—six the refs refused to call mind you).

Enter stage left Helfrich’s Natty version. Over the top Heisman MARCUS MARIOTA and his laid back Hawaiian style was another destructive force. Mind you he had Rolls Royce Freeman and fireball Thomas Tyner bashing and dashing with an oh so experienced and unheralded offensive line (like the two Jakes: Fischer and Pisarcik, who matched battle dominance with the likes of Kelly’s unsung heroes Hroniss Grasu, Nick Cody and Mark Asper). Dwayne Stanford, Darrin Carrington, Lowe and and Devon Allen topped off serious fireworks delivered by Sir Mariota. And that was just the offense.

Party crashers Aria Armstead and Deforest Buckner held down a front seven we haven’t seen since, and for that matter before outside of one awesome five star Haloti Ngata. Joe Walker and Tony Washington bolstered those explosive lineman and the defense did its part on its way to the Natty (uncorking on unsuspecting Florida State— ending its reputation as an elite program at that). Yes sir, Helfrich had himself a 15 Gigaton special (yes, the talent was better, and deeper).

So who do we have in the cupboard now? Clearly Dye has filled the role LMJ had, and Moorhead has dialed up just a couple of plays for that firecracker. I still believe Verdell, when healthy provides the wrecking ball that pops an explosive run here and there. Devon Williams has shown that possession mode role that can grab a rebound from the alley oop deep throw. Don’t forget Pitman, Johnson and Redd have been explosive WHEN ALLOWED TO. Mind you, the lineman were plowing massive holes early…

Shall I delve into raw Sewell, Wright, and James on defense. Thibs hasn’t slowed down. It’s been Funa, and especially Scott and Faoliu whohave been extremely disappointing on defense. If there’s one area that has been extremely disheartening, it’s been the defense. But we have seen talent matters, and so does motivation. How many Gigaton does this team possess? I can’t tell, because our fearless leader is the lynchpin, and this device simply will not ignite until further notice.

Now believe it or not, in my opinion, The Snake actually had a 20 Gigaton scheme we really should be exploiting. He utilized Helfrich’s and Chipster’s pinball Spread concoction in combination with a better version of Cristobal’s Pistol alongside his scheming Jet motion Gulf Coast Offense that nobody, and I mean nobody could stop. And he had the unit to exploit it.

Which brings me to my main point. It doesn’t matter how much talent you have, if you either miss the mark (Mr Huff, the end zone was calling your name at the pylon—and Black Mamba, you can’t just run down the field so excited you miss the block that unleashes a firestorm Stanford would not have stopped), or you simply want to have a fight in a phone booth instead of fly anywhere in the universe like you certainly are capable of (why use the Pistol anyway when you can just go under center?).

Mr FishDuck is correct. This very moment, it does not matter how much talent we acquire, the present strategy our beloved head coach uses will not garner playoff teams, much less national titles. Not now, not ever. That is harsh, but it should be very clear Chip’s wizardry and Helf’s mastery (not to mention the Snake’s often criticized explosive offense when wonderkind Justin Herbert was healthy) far outshine whatever our best recruiter Cristobal can master.

We simply have seen the best Cristobal can offer. He is assembling the most talent Oregon has ever seen. And he has dropped all three of said predecessors bombs on himself. Autzen — laying silent from a pandemic— is crumbling from the aftermath of triple bombs Cristobal launched all by himself. So sad.

Rest In Peace Natty hopes. Pray for an intervention.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

World class post, and not just because you agree with me.

Urban Meyer was asked on a halftime show what he thought watching Oregon against Oregon State, and he said he “was disappointed in Oregon” and this was not the type of team he saw on defense and overall when his team played us for the Natty.

However, another topic for the future is “what are the other coaching options out there?” A new coach would be a re-tread or an unproven assistant who is good at one thing and weak at others…and we already have that. The “Duck in hand versus others in the bush?”

OK. Take aim folks; here’s my 2 cents as to who would be better and a guy who would not break the bank. Who IMO, makes sense today! And not after Mario’s pay and buy out numbers are bumped.

How about a guy who has had 2 HC gigs in the Pac-12.

A guy with a P5, HC winning record.

An accomplished recruiter who recently stole a 5* QB, CA kid, recruit from SC.

A guy who has already been offered and turned down, the CU and MISS ST jobs.

A guy who was an outstanding CFB QB; who played his college ball in the west at BYU.

A guy who is calling the plays for the most efficient O in CFB?

A guy who is an outstanding QB coach.

A guy who, by all accounts, is handling his personal demons with grace and aplomb.


Interesting thought.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

We will disagree on this one; Sark is a re-tread that I would pass on…

Charles, Pete Carroll was also a retread.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Great point, and I remember laughing when they hired him…

The retread at Colorado is doing pretty well, but there are plenty of others (like Sumlin and others too numerous to name, like the string at Washington for a dozen years) who have not. Hit and miss.

If Urban Meyer is not your next hire, who is not a hit or miss?


I second the motion, Jon.

Jon Sousa

Sark has accountability breathing down his neck. How will he do when he is on his own? Totally unknown.

I prefer someone who has no detectable personal demons.

Jon Joseph

Jon, we all have demons. I think your concern is completely understandable.

Personally, I’ve seen recovering alcoholics who have turned their lives around and gone on to amazing success. I have also seen the opposite.

What I hate to see in this fallen world is a person not being given a second chance.

I would think that any AD worth his or her salt would put a clause in his contract that deals with this issue?

Is being stubborn to the point where you only listen to your own counsel not also a failing?


As I wrote above, I am far from ready to give up on MC, so I disagree with you there. If you told a younger version of me that Oregon would have a coach pulling in top 10 classes every year, I’d have asked you how long until he got busted for illegal payments and the program went on probation. So I’m ready to give him some more time.

BUT – if/when it’s time to move on, I’d say you make a strong argument here. It’s often said that America is good about giving people second chances.

Jon Joseph

Mario is a great recruiter, no doubt. So was Butch Jones at Tennessee?

The Constitutionalist

I don’t think we’ll ever find the right coach unless we can pony up the dough required to get and keep one. Not saying that he deserves more, but a HC at Oregon shouldn’t be the 2nd lowest paid HC in the conference.

And the one paid lower beat the Ducks. Lovely…

But I do believe the pay will be increased soon.

David Marsh

Frankly… there aren’t really any coaching options that wouldn’t set Oregon back. Replacing him would destroy the current recruiting class, break up the coaching staff, and leave Oregon in a worse position than where we are now. It isn’t worth it this year while we are in the middle of a pandemic.

Jon Joseph

You Sir, are the cherry on my sundae!

Great stuff!


Just a reminder: in his first three seasons at Clemson, the sainted Dabo Swinney led his team to a 19-15 record, with losses in all three bowl games, including the Meineke Car Care Bowl. What were the fans saying about him then?

I fear there is a bit of an over-reaction going on to the issues Mario has, in a year that should not be used to evaluate anything or anyone. Since it’s pretty hard to know the future, I’m open to the idea that Mario can learn to get out of his own way.

Jon Joseph

Fair point. And Dabo was 0-5 vs rival South Carolina. BUT, Dabo took Chip Kelly’s, Oregon O and turned the play calling over to his OC. He also made a fantastic hire in DC Brent Venables, and also got out of his way.

Dabo is a CEO HC. Not a micro-manager HC. Dabo well knows that small ball in the 21st century will not do the job.

It also did not hurt to recruit a guy like DeShaun Watson and to also recruit a whole bunch of 1st round D line draft choices. And Lawrence and DGU were also outstanding

Jon Sousa

And how many years did it take Dabo to make his transition and get out of the way?

Jon Joseph

Jon, I hope you and all of the folks who think Mario is The Man are correct and that I, Mike West and others are in error.

I don’t see it. The man has been a HC for over 100 games. Dabo ‘got it’ well before his 100th game as a HC.


For Ducks nostalgia. Mike, you mention Chip in 2010. He won the Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year Award that year.

Jon Sousa

Great post. My only disagreement is your conclusion.

People talk about Ed Orgeron “finally” getting out of the way of the offence at LSU. Result: Natty in the bag.

How long, exactly, did it take Nick Saban to embrace the spread, score-asmanypointsasyoucananywayyoucan philosophy?? Nick Saban who rhetoracally asked, “Is this what we want football to become?” (with a very loud “NO!!” as the obvious answer.) Nick Saban, who called the spread, hurry up offence “dangerous” to the players???

Saban’s first season as a head coach was 1990. That was 30 years ago. Ten years ago, when Oregon went undefeated until the Natty, is when Nick was saying the things above. Oregon’s spread offence made a national splash in 2009 as they were ranked in the top 10 four weeks that year and finished 11th in spite of 3 losses that season.

Saban cracked the door open to the spread in 2014 when he hired Lane Kiffin as OC. The Tide averaged 36.9 points that season. Last season they averaged 47.2. I’d say that the transformation is complete. Count Saban as a full on spread guy????

One thing that has been said about MC is that he was under the “OLD Saban”, before he embraced the spread. Not entirely so. MC was hired by St. Nick only one year before Kiffin and he left the same year as Kiffin. The spread was well on the way as the average score that year was 38.8 ppg.

My point: If Ed Orgeron could “finally” get out of the way of the offence, if “Stuck in the Stone Age” Saban can finally embrace the spread offence, Is it really that unforeseeable that a very intelligent, high character, work-harder-than-anyone-else, driven to be the best, Mario Cristobal cannot, will not ever change???

MC has not yet recruited 4 years of his own people. MC has stated that he on-purpose hires people who are not “yes men”, meaning he invites the challenge of differing views in the board room. He has a history of recruiting what we have said are quality assistants.

After the first two games of this crazy season, most folks here were insanely excited about what they saw in the team – in spite of the defense playing lousy. After the last two games of this crazy season, seems like most folks here are close to giving up all hope.

No. I am not ready to tell my Natty hopes to rest in peace.

As I see no one out there that is better equipped to lead this team than Mario Cristobal, I am choosing to sit back (and at times, on the edge of my seat) and enjoy the ride. Life is so much better in Duckville than it was 45 years ago.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Great, great post with compelling points. However I do not believe MC will learn until he has a few more lessons, IMHO.

But I hope you are right because I would like him to succeed.

Agree, nice to see a way to the end we all want to see.

Jon Sousa

And if it takes MC a LOT more lessons, he will be in good company with Orgeron and Saban, Dabo too, probably. It is never easy to have a paradigm sift.

MC hired Moorhead and Moorhead agreed to come… no doubt after some very tough conversations.

MC was the O-line coach under Kiffin as the OC. That means his entire time at Alabama was not just teaching his guys to pancake the guy in front of them. He had to teach that O-line how to work in the spread.


Hear hear!

Jon Joseph

It took Nick 2 seasons of being beaten by Hugh Freeze’ Ole Miss teams. This, Saban himself has acknowledged.


I feel like I just read a good, old-fashioned comic book, complete with massive bombs, explosions, and a cast of witty monikers; the Chipster, the Black Mamba, Helf, Mr. Huff, and how can we exclude Mr. FishDuck? And a villain as well, who shall forever only be spoken of as The Snake in hushed tones.

You made me smile so much I almost spilled coffee down my chin; good work!

Now, at the risk of having to withstand a blast of unknown megatons, I am going to thank Alex for the upbeat article and come down on his side. I have hopes that our Ducks will get to play two more games this year, and that we’ll see some good improvement and results.

As fans, it’s easy to become frustrated and easy to look back to ‘better days’ and participate in a time-honored tradition. I had the pleasure of living in Indonesia for a number of years, and learned a great word which does not have an exact English translation.

Mengomel: (verb) to mutter; to rail or complain; to divide; to be fractious… it sort of combines all of those in one word, which is brilliant.

My wife often mengomels when I leave the toilet seat up, for example.

This is our right and maybe our duty as fans – a very kind person would say we are merely offering creative criticism, but I say it’s mengomelling.

So! I agree to a point with the post, but I would also council remember the bad as well as the good. The Chipster was a brilliant offensive mind who turned the football world on it’s head for a few years, until he wasn’t. Anyone watching UCLA this year sees he still has his brilliant offensive mind, but what’s his record so far? 10-13 in conference.

If you’d asked anyone back when he was at Oregon what he’d be able to do in the center of SoCal at UCLA, they would have described the Tsar Bomb. Helf had his chance to take his offensive mind to the NFL, and is now unemployed (as far as I know.) And all of us have no doubt enjoyed some schadenfreude watching what happened to The Snake, whose attempt to build a megaton device ended up being a North Korean-style atomic dud.

There is that old saying – be careful what you wish for. Outside of Alabama and maybe Ohio State, is there any team in the country that does not have down years? Not by coincidence, they both average in the top 3 of recruiting year in year out. Hell, Mike Leach is working with more talent than he has ever had in his life, sitting in the cellar of the SEC. It’s very hard, if not impossible, to get it all with a coach. And no matter how brilliant the football mind, if you are going up against a megaton device with a few sticks of dynamite, you will most often lose.

MC has the recruiting, and from what I’ve seen the leadership. We are nowhere close to Alabama/Ohio State level of talent, yet anyway. It’s time to be patient, and not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

All that said, if they made me head coach (which would be a huge mistake) I would immediately ditch the horrible pistol and put in a modern pro-set offense. If you have the horses, which we are definitely starting to build up, run the same style offense that the big boys do. Get the damn QB under center or back in the shotgun!

If anyone made it to the end of this horrible ramble, I thank you :D

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Another legendary post, (please remember two spaces after every three or four sentences!) and I would love to know the pronunciation of mengomel, as it is perfect. Which syllable has the emphasis?

I really don’t want MC to go, I just wish he would…1) turn the offense over to JM, 2) go 100% shotgun, except inside the five yard line or 4th and 1 and have the QB under center and sneak it, and 3) be a CEO.

I am not sure Santa can deliver on those wishes…


Hmm… sort of like this.

mung ( lung with an m at the front.)

oh ( o like go)

mel ( as in the name)

stress goes in the middle

mung -OH – mel

Say it faster, then you have it. mungOHMel.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

You are the man, thanks!

As now most of the conference is mengomeling about Oregon in the Championship game?


Mengomeling loudly and incessantly, I am sure! That is correct.

Duck Phan Phil

😣 ouch 🤕

Jon Joseph


Jon Joseph

In response to the Auburn HC opening, Mario had this to say on Monday night: “I trust Phil Knight. I trust Rob Mullens.” [Paraphrasing the rest of the quote – More news regarding a new deal will be coming soon.]

I was not surprised to see that Phil Knight is in the new deal mix; I am surprised that Mario mentioned him directly, and not just AD Mullens?


I found the order of mentions to be interesting. That happens on a steady diet of Ducks with too little exercise.


I’m confident that Dye and Shough will have good games, I’m also thinking that JJ lll, Pitman & Redd will make plays. This is not a lockdown Trojans defense that the Ducks will be going against. The Trojans rank 6th in Total Defense, just above the Ducks in 7th.

UCLA leads the conference in sacks, averaging 3.5 a game, the Trojans are 2nd, with 2.6.Oregon sits at 6th, with 1.6. The Trojans are #1 in interceptions, 1.6. Ducks? #9 with .4 interceptions per game.

So, no surprise it’s imperative that KT & Funa can get pressure like they haven’t so far this season Klovis, so Lenoir & Wright can defend the Trojans WR’s, London & Brown, 3rd & 4th in receiving this season.

Jon Joseph

Line has moved from Oregon +3 to +3.5 and I think it will go higher?

Jon Sousa

 The Trojans rank 6th in Total Defense, just above the Ducks in 7th.

That made me chuckle, considering all the struggles the Ducks are having.




I would like to us come up with another star player for RB. Verdell is sitting on the bench more then he should be (for some strange reason) and Dye, although fast can not carry the load for the entire game.

We have other good potential prospects in the barn and its time to turn them lose.


This would sure be a great time to see Dye catch fire. Like you, I feel that it’s his time to shine. The deep Pistol is not Dye’s friend. And, he needs a little help from his friends. With 15+ carries and 5-10 targets he could have a big game. A two back set with deceptive plays is unlikely, but would probably produce results. The Ducks need to get the ball to the RB’s outside the Tackles. Go Ducks.

Jon Joseph

And the O line to catch fire?


Or blast holes and serve pancakes.

Jon Joseph


Jon Sousa

We have seen two back sets a few times this year. The offense is still in reveal mode.