The Sky Is Not Falling for the Oregon Ducks

Joshua Whitted Editorials 95 Comments

Here are the facts. Oregon’s defense has significant problems. Losing to Oregon State was both unacceptable and embarrassing. And the Ducks are underperforming considering the amount of talent they’ve acquired in recent years.

Here’s another fact. Oregon is just a few wins away from repeating as Pac-12 champions for the first time in nearly a decade.

Fans have every right to be disappointed with the Ducks’ performance for much of this shortened 2020 season. Despite all of the players who opted out, Oregon is still arguably the most talented team in the Pac-12 (along with USC). With an apparently easy schedule and the return of many of the best players in the conference, the Ducks were runaway favorites to win the North Division, and most expected them to win conference outright.

Four games into the season, Oregon’s defense is among the worst in the country, many of the Ducks’ supposed superstars have been invisible, and the team hardly resembles the one that earned a Rose Bowl victory just a year ago.

Tom Corno

Oregon’s defense has struggled mightily in 2020.

But as disappointing as Oregon has been, it’s important to put things into perspective. The Ducks have only lost one game, and they’re still well within reach of a Pac-12 title. Wins against Cal and Washington — not necessarily a given considering how the Ducks have looked recently, but also very possible — would give Oregon the division crown. And as shaky as the Ducks have looked, their likely Pac-12 Championship Game opponent — USC — has looked just as suspect, needing miracle finishes to win two of their three games so far.

Once the Pac-12 announced a six-game regular season schedule, a Playoff appearance was little more than a pipe dream for Oregon. While the Ducks’ loss to Oregon State confirms that they will be watching the CFP from the couch, it doesn’t put a damper on their conference title aspirations or New Year’s Six chances.

Things are not all peachy in Eugene, but they’re not all grey, either. The Ducks need to make serious improvements if they want to be a Playoff contender down the road. But as for this season, despite all of their flaws, they still have as good a shot as ever to repeat as Pac-12 Champions.

Joshua Whitted 
Morgantown, West Virginia
Top Photo by Eugene Johnson

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Charles Fischer

GOOD NEWS!

Jeffrey Bassa, a defensive back who verballed to the Ducks a while back just got elevated on Rivals from 3-Star to 4-Star! This makes a total of 16 players who are 4-Star or 5-Star players out of 22 that have verbally committed to the Ducks and scheduled to sign in two weeks.

The Ducks still retain the No. 3 recruiting class in the nation as of now, (by a whisper) but there are quite a few of the top players who have yet to commit to other top teams. And Oregon is still in the hunt for a couple of biggies as well…

We gotta win Saturday!

FishIceCream

Other good news from 247 Sports, Kingsley Suamatala has risen up to #35 in the country, which would put him as the top OL recruit ever for the Ducks, and 22 spots higher than Sewell. Let’s hope he has just as good of a Duck career!

Jon Joseph

Great news. Looks like a top 5 finish at the worst?

Mario and his team are great recruiters, no doubt.

Jeremiah Geiger

Good article Joshua, its been a rough season, and losing to our little brother was just downright embarrassing, but the Ducks control their own destiny for a New Year’s Six Bowl berth in this crazy 2020 season. Also, the recruiting is on fire right now, and the future continues to look bright!

oregon111

What to watch for when on defense: Is the D line getting penetration? Are the linebackers flying to the ball like a missle? How far away are the DBs from the receivers on pass plays? How much pressure is on the QB on pass plays? How many players are out of position?

The defense can only fix itself so much in one week. Any improvement in some or all of the above is progress.

Poor “tackling” usually gets the blame for a poor defense. But it is players out of position that leads to poor tackling.

I would guess that the D line will improve, because they have the bodies and they were good last year.

I think the linebackers and DBs will continue to struggle, especially on runs and passes up the middle.

Improving penetration will help the second and third levels on both runs and passes, so I think the D will take a step forward this week, but will still not be totally fixed.

Five star players like Thib and Sewell are due for a breakout game, but offenses will continue to attack the weak links.

The Duck offense will have to win this game themselves. Oregon scores 45. Duck D does a little better and gives up 30.

30Duck

Breaking Men’s Basketball News!!!

LJ Figueroa’s is cleared to play immediately. The transfer guard from St. John’s will be a big help when the Ducks play Seton Hall tomorrow. But he has to get a new number!!!

DuckUp

Wow! Great news!!

30Duck

I hope LJ has a fantastic game against Seton Hall, and is a great player all season. But, for him to play even one game as an Oregon Ducks men’s basketball player with #30 on his uniform is just wrong. Will an Oregon Women’s basketball player ever don #20? Of course not.

duckcardinal

The Fox announcers last night made a point of bringing up Altman’s pique with the NCAA dragging their heels on these waivers, and agreed heartily. Maybe someone was listening.

SoutheastDuck

Good article Josh. We all agree there’s plenty to criticize, but I have to be optimistic here. So many variables playing a factor, and it isn’t as simple as blaming the coaches, culture or lack of leadership. Coaching; how many days did the coaches have with their players compared to past years and other schools?

As mentioned by others, no spring or summer practice, and shortened fall prep makes a difference, especially with young talent who don’t know the playbooks or have spent countless reps on the fundamentals. Culture, is there one yet? with so many veterans gone, it’s still being defined and it is at inflection point now.

Leadership grows from adversity, these leaders are just now experiencing it, look what the previous leaders went through (Troy Dye was a bright spot in the dreaded 2016 season). Lastly mistakes by a young QB, Shough’s mistakes have kept games close and while he’s shown potential, they’ve killed momentum, allowed easy points and without them we wouldn’t be having these discussions, as our offense has been fairly effective despite them (with a new OC as well).

I said we would be set back 10 years when Taggart left for FSU, boy was I wrong, so 4 games doesn’t represent the fall of an elite program.

Charles Fischer

Joshua, your timing was perfect, as we needed a little lift and even if we have some negative feelings–it is good to be reminded of the great things that can still occur. Thanks!

Jon Sousa

Agreeing with the article, we need to remember that when this abbreviated schedule was announced for 2020, the prevailing opinion here at Fishduck was that this season would be great for giving enough time for Moorhead to install his offense and enough time for Avalos to get the newbies up to speed and install a little more of the defense. No one thought there was any chance of making the playoffs. The prevailing opinion was that this season was a great extended preparation for a playoff run in 2021.

There is nothing that has happened this season that has derailed that original prevailing opinion. The O-line is ahead of where we thought they would be. Shough, right from the start, has been better than we expected. The receiving core is better and deeper than we have ever had, with more help on the way. The offense is less than half installed and yet right from the start of the season has already become unpredictable. The defense has apparently taken one or two big steps backwards, but this abbreviated season is perfect for helping new leaders on defense to recognize that they need to step up and lead. It gives them time to get comfortable in that leadership role without jeopardizing 2021 season.

There is no reason in the world to lose heart as fans. The Ducks, along with the rest of the PAC 12, were robbed of their normal spring and summer preparation. This took a much larger toll on the team than any of us expected… but everyone on the team this year can come back next year and this now super extended “spring, summer, and fall” workout is preparing them all to be ready for a good run next year.

30Duck

Thanks very much for this Jon.

Jon Sousa

Yeah, I needed it myself….

Annie

Thanks for the article, Joshua. I needed that more upbeat aspect!

30Duck

If the Bowl games disappear, Canzano has an idea

Jon Joseph

GREAT IDEA! We need the dues!

FishIceCream

I saw a column in which he proposed that a while back. Not to be too bitter and sarcastic, it makes too much sense for our current PAC 12 leadership to make it happen. Or maybe I am being bitter and sarcastic?

Jon Joseph

This is great for CFB, the G5 and BYU. With Liberty COVID canceled versus Coastal Carolina, Coastal at 9-0 will play 9-0 BYU on Saturday.

If BYU can win and win impressively, this game could get the Cougars some CT respect and into an NY6 bowl? CC would also advance up the ladder from being ranked at 16.

Tell me again why games have to be scheduled decades in advance? Why CFB can’t have far more flex scheduling?

Jon Joseph

IMO, ‘flex scheduling’ and better scheduling in general would happen if FBS CFB held a real PO instead of this invitational.

30Duck

Amen to that, add that one to the list of a Million other reasons that FBS needs an Actual Playoff!

30Duck

Missouri 83 Oregon 85

It was going to be hard enough for the Ducks to play without Payton Pritchard, last years conference POY, and who had played in more games than any Duck basketball player ever; before the game the Ducks found out that the heir apparent to Payton’s place on the basketball team, Will Richardson, voted to the pre-season 1st team, would be out for 6 weeks after surgery on his left thumb.

The opponent for the Ducks was Missouri, an experienced laden team, with 3 players named Smith in the starting line up, and who had played, and won, a game only days earlier. Not surprisingly the game started badly for the Ducks; and got worse.

The Tigers were owning the boards, particularly getting points off of offensive rebounds. Meanwhile, without their playmaking point guard, the Ducks were wandering around, on offense and defense. Chris Duarte, also named to the 1st team, was great last season as Pritchard’s wingman. But he wasn’t able to create his own shot with Pritchard, and he certainly couldn’t, without him. The Point guard duty went to transfer, Amauri Hardy, who along with the other 4 Ducks was playing his first game together.

A bright spot was transfer, Eugene Omoruyi, who finished with 31 points and 11 rebounds. The Ducks battled back in this one, In the beginning of the second half they built on the 6-0 run at the end of the first half with a 6-0 run to start the 2nd, but Missouri cut that off and would go on to build their lead back up. With about 5 minutes to go, the Ducks had the lead to single digits, but would not get it over the top.

There was much improvement after the first 10 minutes, as short on experience as this team is, their is talent. Duarte will become more effective, integrating with a new point guard. Amauri will become steadier, and Chandler Lawson, who was not a starter last season, will adjust to his new responsibilities. Jaylen Terry is a freshman who will need to grow up fast.

This team is built for Altman, who thrives on getting teams to jell as the season goes on. There could be even more help as the Ducks await for clearance from the NCAA to grant transfer eligibility to Aaron Estrada and LJ Figueroa, who will need to get a new number.

Charles Fischer

A terrible, terrible break for the Ducks and Richardson as we really needed him and would have had a tough draw against a team that had four starters back from last year regardless.

The team has a ton of talent, but boy–they have a long ways to go in operating the offense and working together as a team. Perhaps by season end….?

Jon Sousa

That is the goal… playing great in March no matter what November and December look like.

Jon Joseph

HMMMMMMMMMMMM? The Ducks with lots of new guys and missing a key player battled back. Who knew?

FishIceCream

I didn’t see or listen to it… was there ever a call like this?

Smith swings the ball to Smith. Hesitates, drives into the paint and kicks it out to Smith! He shoots… bounces off the rim, grabbed by Smith who flips it to Smith, who takes it out to set up a new play…

duckcardinal

It reminded of the Houston game two years ago where our highly ranked team (with a healthy Bol Bol) lost to a solid team of experienced upperclassmen.

30Duck

Good comparison. The experience of Missouri, the loss of Richardson from what was already a really young team in the Ducks.

GODUCKS15

I’m hoping that last weeks loss will be like last years ASU loss. Will the Ducks bounce back and win out?

Big difference between last year and this year is last year it was totally unexpected. This year it wasn’t surprising.

I wouldn’t say the sky is falling either. Unless they lose the next 2 games. Imagine the discussions if that happens.

Charles Fischer

If the worst happens….there won’t be many discussions; this place will be a ghost town!

ducker1

Losing to Cal would be devastating.

30Duck

Man, that is why I hate the “must win” proclamation. What happens if you lose?

Jon Joseph

Let’s not forget that post-ASU the Ducks played a far from perfect game against Oregon State.

Logger29

Thanks, I like your positive spin.

J Duck

Need to remember how young this team is. Remember how much the D improved with Avalos last year…give him time. Look at the commitment of the incoming class, and how good they are.

Leaders on the field will emerge, and if they fix the turnovers the offense is going to insane.

Special teams…I just hope that improves. All good points Joshua!

Drake

Sky falling…nope…however, it is raining. Too many unknowns coming into this year. Losing the next three games will classify as a full fledged Pacific storm. This team will need to play better to avoid getting hit.

Mike Merrell

I think the Ducks have done quite well, given that they have played two of their games against tremendous home-field advantages. There’s no team in the conference more practiced at playing in crappy weather than the Cougs, and no team more practiced at playing in an empty stadium than the Beavs. Those are some very tough draws, so we shouldn’t be too tough on our Ducks, and besides that, this is 2020, so nothing really counts.

J Duck

No team better than playing in an empty stadium. ROFL thanks Mike my morning needed that laugh 😆

Jon Joseph

Interesting point.

But can you really excuse the failure to coach-up or play-up to potential on other than the coaches and the players?? WSU and OSU? Oregon should be defeating OSU and WSU going away.

You know, like Clemson blew out #10 Miami and an unranked Pitt team. Lost in 2 OTs in the stadium of the #2 team in the country while playing its back up QB and with 5 starters on D missing.

Resar Stadium was not responsible for a 4th Q, 22 point meltdown.

I think Bama hoisting the champ trophy will count? Most of the nation does not give a whip about the Pac-12 missing yet another final 4.

A final 4 with Bama, Clemson, OH ST, Notre Dame, will definitely be legit.

30Duck

Well, almost legit, (I kid).

Jon Joseph

How about, ‘completely legit east of the Rockies?’

Charles Fischer

Mike has a very dry wit, and I think was having some fun…

Jon Joseph

And I did laugh.

FishIceCream

That was a good combination of a point and a dig at the Beavs. Made me smile!

David Marsh

Thanks Joshua,

I feel I piled on the doom and gloom yesterday and we needed some hope!

Apparently looking at the cancellations of Washington’s opponents it looks like the FIRST and potentially only road game Washington will have all year will be a trip to Autzen. I feel that could give Oregon an added advantage this year in beating the Huskies… however, Oregon has to be Cal first.

Here’s hoping the defense comes alive this Saturday!

Jon Joseph

Good Take Joshua, thank you.

The sky isn’t falling, just sagging. For the Ducks and the entire Pac-12. The Pac-12 is about to go Playoff 2 for 7.

With a 7 game season, the conference had little or no shot at a playoff spot from the late, late get-go.

Per Pac-12 guru, Jon Wilner, every game televised by ESPN/FOX is worth $417,000,00 for each conference team. The Pac-12 will not fulfill its contractual obligations to these two media entities in 2020: falling far short of producing the agreed upon inventory of games.

Will ESPN/FOX give the conference a pass; or, will they demand payment for the breach of contract? I think the B1G, also in breach, will likely get a pass? Even though the B1G Network has done little to mitigate the situation by broadcasting a number of conference games and taking inventory away from its media partners. The Pac-12 gets a pass? I’m not so sure?

The B1G with its profitable network, the ACC and SEC with ESPN owned networks, will all recover from the COVID financial melt down. The B12 (sans OK and TX) and the Pac-12, again, I’m not that sure?

If some kind of ‘merger’ with the B12 made financial sense before the coming of COVID, and it did, it may now be an absolute necessity? If the inconvenience of travel trumps $, please report to the G6. (Maybe the G5 if the AAC is elevated?)

Beat CAL, UW and SC? Man, I hope so because a Run for the Tostitos is about all that’s left? The Redbox, Holiday, Sun, LV (in all but making the announcement) Bowls have been called off. I don’t believe the LA Bowl or, for that matter, the Rose Bowl will be played?

Remaining for the Pac-12 is likely to be the Fiesta Bowl, Alamo Bowl and Independence Bowl. Meanwhile, based on the latest Committee rankings, the SEC is currently ticketed for 4 Playoff $ bowl spots and will most likely, have 12 of its 14 teams going bowling. Remember in the SEC, you are free to go to a bowl with a record under .500. This means lots of extra practice times for SEC teams and little for Pac-12 teams.

Maybe the sky is falling?

But there is $ to be made. Back at you later today with this week’s wagers.

Jon Joseph

All righty then! At 19-8 ATS YTD, I hope it is due to playing with ‘house $’ and not hubris that has me placing 8 bets this weekend?

Ohio State -23.5 at Michigan State – Ryan Day will be missing but the Buckeyes know with the Michigan game in COVID doubt, that it has to blow out MSU. I think it happens.

Auburn +7 vs A+M. QB NIx and the team as a whole is another breed of cat playing at home. A+M QB Mond completed but 32% of his throws at home last Saturday against what has been a leaky LSU secondary. Not sure the Tigers tame the Aggies but I do think Auburn at least covers.

Daily Double. A+M at Auburn, I am also betting the Over 48.5.

Florida -17.5 at Tennessee. UF is playing for a Heisman for Kyle Trask and to put a stamp on its playing Bama in the SEC champ game. TN is playing for? I like the Gators to cover.

Clemson -21.5 at VA Tech – Last chance for love for these Tigers before the re-match, assuming Clemson wins this game, against an already in the ACC champ game, Notre Dame. I like Trevor Lawrence and the Clemson O to show up big time against an inconsistent group of Hokies, whatever a Hokie might be?

Oklahoma -21.5 vs Baylor. You’re saying there is a Lloyd Christmas-like chance for a 2L Sooner B12 champ to sneak into the final? Yes Virginia, but its going to take a whole lot of Santa Claus and blow out wins in the remainder of the Sooners games. I think an OK team that has made big in-season improvement on both sides of the ball in 2020, covers at home.

Alabama -27.5 at LSU – You don’t think Nick Saban takes last season’s home loss against Coach O personally, do you? I do. I think Bama covers on the road. I also think Faux Pelini will be looking for a new job.

Georgia -35.5 vs Vandy – JT Daniels has made a huge and positive difference to the Dawgs O. A unit that before JT showed up, played like it had imbibed too much Jack Daniels. I see no reason for Kirby Smart to rein JT in vs a Commodores team in search of a new Admiral? I like UGA to cover against a team that plays SEC football only because it has to; plays in order to pick up the SEC payout and to have a place for its baseball team to compete.

Join in and hope that we don’t end up behind the 8 ball?

duckcardinal

Think GA will have to make the Over all by themselves, hence no double down?

Are they playing with bowl considerations in mind, or just a warm up for 2021 with JT back & better?

Jon Joseph

Exactly. I considered the over but passed for this very reason. On the other hand, I think both A+M and Auburn will put up points.

Logger29

Jon, I share your concern about the conference and the looming financial disaster. College football is in danger of becoming a regional passion, dominated by teams in the Southeast and upper Midwest, just as Major League Baseball has become a sport of the Northeast. Forbes ran an article, featuring Eugene, highlighting the impact on local economies due to revenue lost by local business due to COVID as it relates football sans fans ( sorry no link).

Clearly, the embarrassingly awful leadership of the PAC-12 is a major factor in the conference’s decline. But there is a snowball effect going on here and the COVID has really gotten it rolling. The conference is in danger of becoming a niche interest for only those like us on Fishduck.

I have no solutions – actually I do but don’t want to go off topic.

Jon Joseph

Piling on? I have yet to see a draft prediction that has more than 2 (Penei is top 3 in all) Pac-12 guys going in the 1st round.

Jon Joseph

It’s easy and frankly more fun, to forget that big time CBB and CFB are businesses that stir the drink for all other sports.

COVID has impacted every conference across the land but no conference has been as badly dinged as has the Pac-12. All budgets including recruiting budgets, have been hit and hit hard.

I wish there was a way I could envision the conference somehow returning from this and closing the financial gap with B1G and the SEC in particular, but I don’t.

It shows up in many ways. The obvious is no football and basketball titles for years now. The inability to have a conference team compete for a playoff title 5 of 7 years is another. In 2021, most draft predictions have 2 conference players going in the 1st round.

USC is coming back and UW is doing OK, but football recruiting in the conference is as bad as it has ever been. Left coast guys and Poly players are routinely heading back east.

I am not surprised that the rumor mill has Rob Mullens in line for Georgia AD job.

I really, really, want the conference to stay as is for the sake of tradition and so that student-athletes do not have to travel hither and yon. But the conference needs cash that I don’t think cash is coming without some major restructuring.

If nothing else, Larry Scott has to go to war now and convince the G5 commish, the B12, and perhaps the B1G and Notre Dame to expand the playoff next year and not wait until 2026 to do so. Is Larry willing to do this?

!n 2020, the Pac-12 will be picking up one NY6 bowl payout. The SEC has a good shot at picking up 4. The SEC will also likely send 12 of its teams to bowls. Will the Pac-12 send more than 3?

That Mario can compete successfully in recruiting in the midst of all this, plus dealing with a financial insolvent network and kick off times after much of the nation has gone to bed or watched enough football for the day, is simply amazing.

Mario’s recruiting is holding up a falling sky.

A Fiesta Bowl would be huge for Oregon this season. As you so noted Joshua its still in the cards but the Ducks almost certainly will have to finish at 6-1 for this to happen.

Sorry for the rant but as noted above, CFB is a big business and out west the business is flailing and failing.

30Duck

Jon, I hope if I ever let loose a rant it’s as clear and on point as this was. That Mario can be recruiting the way he is can’t be overstated. Having faith in Larry? That’s maybe even harder to put in to words.

Tony

I think everyone wants to see to see an expanded playoff, but do you think it very likely before 2026? I have serious doubts, but with Leisure Suit Larry behind the wheel, the chances become nil.

Haywarduck

I want to see the, continued, predictable play calling at the end of the games come to an end. This is something that will kill this program no matter how good the offense becomes and the weapons we get through recruiting. We also need to see the defense be able to adjust, when the opposing offense gets a crack in our ability to shut it down.

First whatever it is which creates the decision process to go three and out at the end of drives and specifically at the end of games needs to come to an end. Oregon has to be the team that runs you over and keeps coming. I don’t mean runs you over up the middle either. A relentless offensive attack where all the tools are used and innovation is alive again.

The defense also needs to show it can shut down a threat when it gets hot. An Arizona throwing for over 400 yards should never happen again. An OSU RB running for over 200 yards should never happen again. Our defense, Avalos, needs to show he can adjust and shut down anything that arises.

I agree the season isn’t over, but we need to see progress on these two fronts or this program won’t progress to where we expect it to. We may not be seeing the sky falling, but the foundation of the program needs to see these changes.

Charles Fischer

You know your first point scores highly with me!

Jon Joseph

All points resonate with me. As to point 1, under this HC, will this ever change?

Haywarduck

I tend to think it will take a strong personality sitting Cristobal down and laying down the law. I thought maybe Moorhead would be the guy to do it. I think there might still be hope, but he needs to step up and set it straight.

I just can’t believe any innovative offensive mind could find what is happening right now acceptable. Basically predictability is a death sentence, and may not lose anyone there job, but it won’t get you where you want to go.

Jon Joseph

Mario is using a strategy that worked for Bama when Mario coached there.

This just in, Nick Saban is not running the same offense. Can’t he see this?

David Marsh

The offense also needs to improve on their end game play calling…

This year’s team has more of a killer-instinct than previous teams, basically a willingness to continue to score points to fully put the other team away. However, the past two games have really seen Oregon go into the boring and predictable pistol-run game where the goal is to run out the clock by getting first downs… there is nothing wrong with this strategy …. but the past two games have failed to execute it due to the predictability of these runs.

This has given the ball back to both UCLA and OSU allowing both one final drive before the end of the game… and it resulted in a loss against OSU.

30Duck

Joshua, I’m with you, BDF, you make a lot of sense, darn! It doesn’t make any sense for the Ducks to play down to the level of their opponents, the Beavers bit them when they were down there. Hopefully the bite struck a nerve so the Ducks will know better against the Bears.

I won’t say that your, “tough get going” applies to USC, they simply accepted the gift wrapped W’s from ASU & Arizona. The Huskies however did show some grit, falling behind 21-0 to the Utes at halftime, than winning the game, 24-21.

Maintaining dominance is hard, not so much for Clemson in the ACC, but to do what Alabama is doing in the SEC is admirable. Their mindset doesn’t allow for slips like the Ducks experienced against the Beavers. They play “faceless opponents”, doesn’t matter who it is, they’re gonna get stomped.

Mario wants this to be Oregon’s M O, but it isn’t working. Is he going to gain some traction and “get going!” or keep spinning his wheels?

Jon Joseph

And by avoiding CU and giving CU 1 fewer conference game, SC now owns the tie breaker versus CU!

I dislike divisions to begin with; in 2020 I despise divisions. Hypothetically, SC goes 4-0 and its in the title game? CU goes 5-0 with a W over SDS and please take a seat CU.

David Marsh

In the same vein.. Washington now “leads” the North with one fewer games played… if they were to avoid Oregon at this point they would “win” the North.

Jon Joseph

Man, David, that’s a very interesting scenario and discussion. UW beats Stanford Saturday and the OR game isn’t played?

UW would be 3-0 vs N Division teams and 4-0 total, with a W over Oregon State. This would trump the Ducks 4-1 record which would include the loss to OSU.

These ‘7th game – Champ weekend’ match ups could be very interesting indeed.

How about, an undefeated SC plays an undefeated UW? 1 obviously would finish with an L. Meanwhile, CU wins its final 2 games to finish undefeated? A Fiesta for SC/UW and what for CU? The UW/SC champ game loser to San Antonio, while CU trips to Shreveport to play Army?

I don’t think this would bounce too high in Boulder?

In the above scenario, a 5-1 Ducks team could be bowl-less?

Of course, if COVID keeps UW from tripping to Eugene, would it not also keep UW out of the champ game?

Ducks TCB vs CAL and UW does the same vs Stanford, both of which should happen, UW will be tripping to Eugene to play for the N Division title.

With games against WSU and UCLA, SC drops one and CU wins its next 2 and Colorado is in the champ game. Karl Dorrell is the Pac-12 coach of the year. And Helton is gone?

Lots of interesting sub-plots.

Haywarduck

If the season gets canceled and the dawgs are undefeated, what does that mean? The dawgs, will again claim a national title.

Jon Joseph

LOL and No Doubt!

BigDucksFan

Ok, your giving far to much to process. Some of those scenarios makes this poor man cringe at the thought of them. CU fans would revolt, UW fans would cheer, Cal fans would be stunned in the stands, and UO fans would not speak until September, 2021. The worst thing to happen would be Helton no longer at USC, god forbid they get someone decent to coach and recruit. There goes our sandbox.

BigDucksFan

And now for the rest of the story:

You said “The Ducks have only lost one game, and they’re still well within reach of a Pac-12 title.”

One way to look at the Ducks this season is to think off the Ducks play as very consistent over the 4 games however the quality of opposition has improved in each successive game. In other words the Ducks quality of play has remained flat but each opponent was better then the previous opponent and our last opponent was good enough to exceed our level of play and give us a loss. 

This holds true for our next two games in that Cal is improved over Oregon State and Washington is an improvement over Cal. In other words each successive opponent is an improved opponent then the previous one thus making each successive game more difficult for the Ducks to win.

So what does all that wordiness mean ?? The Ducks must keep improving if they expect to win. The big question is: is that achievable ?? It hasn’t seemed to be the way of the Ducks over the first 4 games of the season. The real answer is: we will find out in just a couple of days from now. 

You said “And as shaky as the Ducks have looked, their likely Pac-12 Championship Game opponent — USC — has looked just as suspect, needing miracle finishes to win two of their three games so far.” Yes that is true but you can also look at USC and say “when the going got tough, the tough got going”. Thats not something you can say about the Ducks and quite the opposite is true “when the going got tough the Ducks faulted each and every time”

The reasons for this we have debated for the last week and by now each of us have developed our own opinion about. Thats why this site is so much fun to be a part of. 

You say: “The Ducks need to make serious improvements if they want to be a Playoff contender down the road.” Very true, the next two games are the defining games for this coaching staff and will give us fans insight into understanding if they can eventually take us to the “promised land”. 

Hang onto your hats ladies and gentlemen it’s going to get exciting.

Jon Joseph

Great take.

I think Oregon State beat CAL? Not sure CAL is a step up from the Beavers? But if the Ducks continue the half-effort, disjointed on D play, it won’t matter. CAL and its Oregon alumni coaching staff will be sky high for the Ducks.

Did the loss in Corvallis serve as a learning exercise; a wake up call? Or, are the Ducks ready to pack it in?

CAL is a better team than its 0-3 record evidences. UW is playing with heart. Will the Ducks match the intensity of these 2?

Stay tuned.

Charles Fischer

Oregon State beat Cal, but the Bears had all the advantage in the statistics. But OSU stopped two red-zone drives with interceptions that could have been a difference in addition to Cal having a kickoff and punt returns big-plays called back due to penalties.

Jon Joseph

In 2020, CAL has met the enemy and the enemy is CAL!

BigDucksFan

It will be interesting to see who can improve the fastest, Cal or Oregon. Any bets ?

30Duck

If Oregon has it in them to improve than this game @ Cal is the perfect opportunity. What can be more of a wake up call than getting beat by the Beavers, looking pathetic in the process?

I’m sure that Cal will be fired up for the game. Mario & the Ducks looked like disinterested onlookers against the Beavers, not the methodical destruction that Mario is dreaming about.

It’s time to actually get tough, Mario. Knock Gebbard around a couple of times, open up some holes for Verdell, and Dye and please knock off the 10 yard cushions the Corners are giving the receivers.

Jon Joseph

I am not touching this game. I know that CAL will show up and play with a purpose. I don’t know if Oregon will do the same?

I also don’t know if CAL’s A game can defeat the Ducks C game?

But if had to, I’d take CAL and the points.

30Duck

Exactly, “A” game is what we see from Alabama every week, can Mario get the Ducks up to the “B” side by Saturday? Cal is going to be ready for Bear, when the Ducks waddle in, and they better have themselves in a row.

Jon Joseph

LOVE IT!

I can bearly wait to see what will happen?

There is no ducking the fact that the Oregon Alumni Coaching Society, Berkeley Chapter, wants this win.

Where is the drama in being a Bama fan? Play an unranked opponent and you know that The Tide will Roll. BORING! But Man, this kind of boring would be nice, no?

Charles Fischer

Great observations my Duck-Brother, and yes–the drama of seeing if the Ducks will improve is big entertainment in itself…