What ARE Oregon’s Chances of Winning the 2021 Pac-12 Conference title?

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck Editorials 25 Comments

My friends, I sometimes get guest articles where they look at Oregon football from a distant perspective, and today we have one from Eastern Europe. Normally I would not publish it, as I already have one international entity quite displeased with me at the moment, yet the total package of this particular article got me to thinking. While most of what is written below is obvious stuff to the astute Oregon fans here–after reading it I had an overwhelming gut feeling that I am not truly adding up all the “pluses” we have going into this year.

Things look better when outside eyes view it, and although there is some stilted language and interesting phraseology … see if you don’t come away with a better appreciation of Our Beloved DucksOffer your thoughts in the comments!  Charles Fischer

There are a number of reasons to be excited as an Oregon Ducks fan for the upcoming Pac-12 Conference title this season.

Of course, the Ducks managed to defeat the USC Trojans 31-24 in the 2020 edition of the Pac-12 Conference Championship, despite not initially having qualified for the game. Mario Cristobal‘s team had finished second in the North Division, however because Washington was unable to field the required number of players for the game, the Ducks got their chance to retain their championship and took it with both hands.

Once again, the 2021 Pac-12 Championship will offer Oregon another chance of extending their reign as champions, with many betting sites having already placed them amongst the favorites to repeat their success, with the Washington Huskies also favored at sportsbooks such as Unibet.

With the season not scheduled to get underway until September, now would be a great time to check out why the Ducks are, once again, considered to be one of the favorites to win the conference.

University of Oregon Athletics

Johnny Johnson will have an opportunity to lift his NFL Draft prospects with a return to Oregon in 2021.

Offense Provides PLENTY of Weapons

Although quarterback, Tyler Shough, has decided to leave the college program for a place at Texas Tech, the Ducks can feel they have a suitable replacement in Anthony Brown to help lead them to the Pac-12 title. A graduate transfer, Brown was just as productive as Shough in their two mutual postseason appearances. Oregon also had Ty Thompson enroll in the winter; a five-star freshman in which there is plenty of excitement over, although following in the footsteps of Justin Herbert could be a rather challenging and daunting proposition.

The Ducks also received a major boost when three of their key offensive weapons decided against going into the 2021 NFL Draft, with running back CJ Verdell and wide receivers Johnny Johnson III and Jaylon Redd all making a return to Oregon for the upcoming Championships.

Indeed, the fact that the Ducks have so many experienced players coming back into the fold will mean that they can position themselves in a perfect way, and one where everyone already knows the playbook. There is no denying that Penei Sewell‘s departure via the 2021 NFL Draft will hurt the offensive line, most Duck fans expected that to happen as he went in the first round with Detroit Lions taking him as the seventh overall pick.

Eric Evans UO Athletics

Bryan Addison could make some noise on defense in 2021.

Ducks’ Defense has Potential Despite 2021 NFL Draft Seeing Key Names Depart

When taking a look at the Ducks’ overall program, it is clear that a number of NFL franchises were interested in what Oregon were able to produce defensively. Safeties Jevon Holland and Brady Breeze were drafted, as were cornerbacks Deommodore Lenoir and Thomas Graham Jr. to complete an entire defensive backfield being drafted for the first time in Oregon’s long history.

However, whilst the Ducks may feel depleted, there are still some top players available on this side of the ball that will make them a force in the upcoming Pac-12 Championships. Edge-rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux shone in his sophomore year for the organization and was voted the Pac-12’s best defensive linemen, (by the conference’s offensive linemen) whilst inside linebacker, Noah Sewell, was named the conference’s best freshman on defense after tying the top spot in the team with 45 tackles.

Furthermore, cornerback Mykael Wright was arguably one of the best defensive standouts last season, whilst defensive lineman Brandon Dorlus, outside linebacker Mase Funa and linebacker Justin Flowe all have the potential to be among the next crop of best defensive players within the conference.

Oregon Football Twitter

People have a tendency to overlook the punter as a weapon.

Dangerous Special Team Players Returning as Well

Henry Katleman has become a favorite with fans at the Oregon Ducks, despite having only recently entered the fray. He made all four of his field-goal attempts including a 47-yarder even though the team had a poor showing against the Iowa State Cyclones in the Fiesta Bowl.

For field positioning, an experienced and dangerous weapon will return in punter Tom Snee, in addition to Mykael Wright on kick-off returns.


The Oregon Ducks are stacked in terms of talent on both sides of the ball, (and on special teams) which is why they are considered to be a favorite amongst many to win the Pac-12 Conference title this season. Of course with two of the best coordinators in the nation, (OC Joe Moorhead and DC Tim DeRuyter) and a supreme motivator in Coach Cristobal–there is no reason as to why they cannot go the distance!

Dracula Duck
Iancu Jianu, Olt, Romania
Top Photo by UO Athletics

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Jon Joseph



Barring major injuries if Oregon doesn’t win the P12 it will be a huge disappointment.


Agree the schedule doesn’t do us any favors.


I very much appreciate Dracula Duck’s article today, and find myself in agreement. I also think that the 2021 edition of the Ducks are poised to threepeat.

The Ducks have the weapons and the talent, I think they have the depth, and they have the coaching. I think Dracula Duck’s conclusion was spot on.

To me, in my green and yellow tinted spectacles, the PAC is ripe for the picking. A win at the.Horseshoe is not the tall order it has been in the past. It is doable for this team, and starting this season 2 and 0 would go a long way toward a run to the Natty.

Isn’t the Rose Bowl a playoff game this year? Go Ducks!


I totally agree Charles. Yet, when I look at the roster, and see all that talent, and think of how good the coordinators are, it’s very hard not to get overly twiterpated!!


The playoff bowls are the Cotton and the Orange. The championship game is at Indianapolis. FYI

Santa Rosa Duck

Welcome Dracula Duck! Charles generally blocks all commentators from Romania so it is good to get your perspective. GO DUCKS!


Good article, Charles! All things considered, we should win the Pac-12, the championship game, and go to the Rose Bowl. That’s the bar I have set for this team.

The 2019 team is a good measuring stick for this team. It’s going to be hard to surpass what they did because they had a better OL, QB, and D. The D really needs to step up this year and AB must not make mistakes and rise to the occasion in the 4th quarter in close games. The Pac-12 is not very good, especially the North, so really no excuses if we don’t make it to the Rose Bowl.


Not a fan of Anthony Brown but a big fan of the Ducks…..hope I’m wrong…..they’ll be better next year but they’ll be hampered by having to go with an inexperienced QB which may wind up costing them a shot at the BCS Championship game.


I too am not impressed with A Brown.
I’m pulling for Butterfield or Ashford to win that starting spot in the fall.
But I also am the most excited about our receivers! They have potential to be so good that they help open up the run game and make our offense explosive.
Wouldn’t that be awesome.


AB has got a 123 career rating and thrown/scored 42 touchdowns in college and had a weak supporting cast at BC. He got better every year and forced his way on to the field last year during a Covid season where he had no spring and had to beat out a guy here three years. He eventually did.

Where do you get the idea AB is inexperienced, and the Ducks will be hampered by said inexperienced ?

The only reason he didn’t finish seasons at BC was knee injuries. I don’t get why people don’t think he won’t be legit.


vdbtrDuck, I am basing my opinion based only on the “eyetest” of what little I saw of him last year and in spring game.
He got most of the reps but still seems hesitant and unsure to me.
Also, I read a comment that receivers like Butterfields ball best.

Lastly, I worry that if AB plays the whole season, or even starts, we could lose someone to the portal. Both at the start and end of season. But if AB was a backup, his experience would be a big help in the qb room.


Good points. But don’t forget that Joe Montana threw three interceptions against Dallas in 1981 championship game and a should have been fourth was dropped by Everson Walls in the end zone right before “the catch”. My point is QBs progress. QBs need to make progress and all statistical indicators indicate AB is the Ducks best option until he falters and /or regresses like Tyler did or one of the other QBs practices or plays so well they force the coaches hands like AB did last year.
That combination put him in the Pac 12 title game and bowl game. Cant believe it was only Tyler’s regression that got AB the reps. Time will tell. It always does.


I didn’t say AB was inexperienced….I said that the team will be better next year but will be hampered with an inexperienced QB if AB plays this year…..as for beating out Shough not sure that’s a big deal and I suspect that of the top four QB’s on the roster AB’s the least talented…….and as I’ve mentioned in other posts I fear the RPO system doesn’t fit Butterfield and that he’ll transfer and if Ashford turns out to be a better RPO QB than Thompson he too will go…..really wish Mario would call Saban and ask if he’s installed a pro-style throwing down the field offense that I suspect young QB’s with the NFL on their mind want because that’s sure what it looks like to me.


Great article, but let me start with a little a couple items which bothered me.

I have a hard time reading about how the huskies should have gone to the championship game, in any article. They didn’t play the Ducks, they didn’t play the Bears, they lost to the Cardinal, while only winning games at home. If an Oregon fan is going to spin the championship game, don’t leave out the fact that the dawgs skated through the season.

It is also a stretch to say we lost a bunch of players who actually didn’t play last year. Penei last played with Justin and so did Graham, Breeze and Holland. We have moved on from these players.

I agree with the fact that we have the players and coaches to make a run. I also like the highlight on Katleman, as special teams will be critical next season.

You might have missed the freshman, other than Ty, who may just be the difference makers on the offensive side of the ball. We owe a green debt to the seniors who have carried this program through the last few years. The question is who just might take over before these seniors are done leading?

Jon Sousa

Yes! The only reason that Washington won the north is because they got COVID and could not play the Ducks. If they would have played their scheduled game at Autzen Stadium and beat the Ducks… and THEN couldn’t go to the Championship game because of COVID, I am all in with saying Washington and not the Ducks deserved the trip to LA.


Something that I see stated frequently that only gives half the story…Washington was in first place at the end of the season, yes. But it was because it also failed to field enough players to PLAY THE DUCKS. Washington essentially forfeited that game. And had the Ducks won that game, the Ducks would have won the division.