Is it PLAYOFF or BUST for Oregon in 2021?

Joshua Whitted Editorials

For years, Oregon Ducks fans have been told, “next year will be the year”. If they can just remain patient and trust the process, the results will soon follow.

To a degree, that has come to fruition. When Mario Cristobal took over for Willie Taggart as head coach, Oregon was a good-not-great team that showed flashes of brilliance, but was still a ways off from contending for the conference title, let alone the College Football Playoff. Just two years after his hiring, Cristobal and the Ducks have earned back-to-back Pac-12 Championships, and are now borderline Playoff contenders.

But progress never sleeps.

There was a time not too long ago when conference championships were merely stepping stones for the Ducks. They had their sights set on nothing short of winning it all. Through the down years, fans stayed the course, waiting and watching as the program steadily built itself back up. But make no mistake, despite its endurance, the Oregon fanbase is eager for their Ducks to emerge as a national threat once again.

Remember when De’Anthony Thomas dissed the Rose Bowl?

Is it fair to hold the 2021 Oregon Ducks to the same championship-or-bust standard that Chip Kelly‘s Ducks were held to? Cristobal has assembled a more talented roster on paper than even Kelly’s best teams, after all. There’s no overwhelming threat in the conference. And aside from a daunting trip to the Horseshoe (a game Oregon can afford to lose and still make the Playoff, by the way), the Ducks should be sizable favorites in every game on their schedule.

Is the time for “waiting and seeing” finally over, or is it still too premature to declare Oregon “back?”

Joshua Whitted
Morgantown, West Virginia
Top Photo by UO Athletics

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