Cristobal Must Achieve the PLAYOFFS in Two Years….or ELSE?

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck Editorials 70 Comments

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There are many fans who look on this year as a “crossroads” point for Oregon Football. Are the Ducks going to begin showing the impact of three prize recruiting classes? Will Coach Mario Cristobal prepare his team to beat all opponents with less talent? Will the offensive attack be truly turned over to Offensive Coordinator Joe Moorhead? Can Oregon improve upon the NCAAF odds projected for the Ducks?

Big questions to answer and incredible drama to watch unfold over the football season, yet some have hinted at an impatience among some fans, an undercurrent of “the natives getting restless” if the answers to the above questions are to the negative?

I’ve written a ton of articles that are critical of how Coach Cristobal has managed the offense, and sure enough I’ve been labeled as a “Cristobal-Hater” from some quarters. No matter how many articles I write about the wonderful growth of Oregon football, the recruiting, his leadership and representation of Oregon football to the world … if I do not suck up to Cristobal in everything, then I am a hater.

Pac-12 Video

Are the next two years really the Crossroad years that some speak of?

I do Critical Analysis that gives both credit and scorn where deserved, and some fans find it refreshing as they know my feelings are genuine. Yet I am not the only one who does Critical Analysis, as some in the FishDuck comments have stated that it will be “put-up, or shut-up” time over the next two years for Coach Cristobal (even if the Playoffs are not achieved–some Duck fans want to see reasonable progress toward that goal).

GODUCKS15, a reader/commenter on FishDuck made a reference to the Game of Thrones when he stated that Mario needed these recruiting classes to yield success or he would be declared…

“The Helton of the North!”

Ouch, ouch, OUCH!

Of course with success Mario won’t just be “The King of the North,” but he will deserve to be called, “The King of the West!”

And I would love that result for all of us.

When any discussion about the future of Cristobal at Oregon takes place….you have to consider the alternative. Is there any head coach out there you would want in place of Cristobal, who would actually leave his current job? The great ones won’t, and thus you are left with experimenting with a former assistant and crossing your fingers.

Gary Breedlove

Hiring an assistant doesn’t always work out…

We have already done that with Cristobal, and with his recruiting of players and coaches–he will usually have the Ducks in the Top-25, so please know that I do NOT want him gone–ever. I love what he is doing, and if he brings the Ducks a high scoring offense he will become a legendary coach at Oregon. We all win in that scenario, and thus I would hope he remains here for the long term.

Your thoughts on the above?

“Oh, how we love to ponder about Our Beloved Ducks!

Charles Fischer   (Mr. FishDuck)
Eugene, Oregon
Top Photo by Pac-12 Video 

Please post your thoughts about this article here on FishDuck, (in the comments) as I need to keep things a bit active for web rankings. Thank you!

If you would like to be placed on the list to receive a quick notification email when I publish an article, do sign-up right here, and thus we can gather in the comments and discuss the topic like the old-days. (If you have ever posted a comment on this FishDuck site, I have your email on that list)

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For Football Season: FishDuck Back to Seven Days a Week!

I had to shut down the daily articles on July 20th because I could no longer work the extra 3 to 12 hours per week of certain managerial/editorial duties. (beyond the usual ones with FishDuck)

I’ve had a blast writing without those duties, and now, due to a new agreement with the writers, I can announce that we will have articles seven days a week again. I wish to thank the writers publicly for their graciousness in coming to a solution, as now I still do not have do those extra duties with our agreement, and meanwhile the writers are back having fun creating articles as I am.

Everybody is happy! So below is the new schedule through football season:

Monday: Mr. FishDuck
Tuesday: Darren Perkins
Wednesday: Joshua WhittedMr. FishDuck
Thursday: Coach Eric BolesAlex Heining
Friday: David Marsh
Saturday: Mr. FishDuck (GameDay Baby!)
Sunday: Jordan Ingram

A couple of writers could not join us as they have new projects in their lives, and cannot write for anyone at the moment–but perhaps we will see them back later.

Things rarely work out so well for all parties in agreements, but this time it has and truly….everyone wins!

Our 33 rules at FishDuck can be summarized to this: 1) be polite and respectful, 2) keep it clean, and 3) no reference of any kind to politics. Easy-peasy!

FishDuck members….we got your back.  No Trolls Allowed!

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Charles, I may not have been as vocal or obviously present on this site as many of your followers, but it has always been an informative breath of fresh air around here.
You have managed to provide a well organized site for all of us to share, while maintaining a level of dignity and integrity many sites will never approach.
Your regular presence will indeed be missed, and I applaud you for 10+ years of hard work and a successful foray into the Duck Media world!

Thank you, sir!

Enjoy the barbecue! :)

Dale Newton

I’ve always enjoyed the articles and comments on Fish Duck and it would be amazing to see it continue.
If you’re looking for some daily Duck content and an opportunity to comment on news, opinions and developments on Oregon football, perhaps in the meantime, I have some fresh content for you:

Duck fans: What can Brown do for you?
How you do anything is how you do everything
Into the great wide open

Name, Image and Likeness is going to transform college football, and we may not like all the changes.

Mario Cristobal enters the prove-it year

It’s all here at:

I don’t in anyway mean to infringe or detract on what Charles has achieved at Fish Duck. This has been an incredible collaboration of writers, editors and community, spearheaded by one of the most passionate and genuine people in sports.

Best wishes to all of you.

Dale Newton


Thanks for the forum. What I like are the fans here who are knowledgeable about the team. Other sites are largely just a bunch of drunks ranting.


Thank you Charles for all the sacrifices and time you put in to make this site one of the best forums for all of us Duck fans. This site has truly been a safe haven for us to come together to read, share ideas and comments to all of the insightful articles. I have thoroughly enjoyed everyone one of them! Blessings in all your future endeavors!!


Just wanted to put my 2 cents in with a huge thank you. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading these articles and occasionally commenting. I appreciate the professionalism as well as the passion and will truly miss this. Best of luck.


I’ll miss FishDuck, Charles. I’ll miss reading the discussion, for sure. But what I’ll miss most is the memories.

Last week, Ryan Robertson asked, “What is your fondest Oregon football memory?” 

1958. I was in 5th grade in Cleveland, OH, watching the Rose Bowl. Ohio State won, 10-7. I was happy, but that is not the fondest memory.

1965. First time I’d ever been west of the Mississippi. I was center on the Oregon Frosh. Our stars were Claxton Welch and Jerry Richards, a quarterback from San Bruno, CA. Jerry was my closest friend on the team, probably because I was the center … and you know where his hands went.

Jerry was a terrific athlete. I believe he was Oregon’s #1 recruit that year. He played linebacker, too. On a Friday afternoon, we played the Washington Pups at Hayward Field. 

Early in the game, playing defense, Jerry went down, his knee destroyed. He was in the hospital for several days. Never played football again. 

A few months later, on spring break, Jerry & I hitchhiked down to his parents’ home in San Bruno, CA. Terrific week. First time I saw palm trees. I knew I was never going to live in the midwest again.

That game, also, was not my fondest memory.

In fact, my fondest “football” memory was not actually a game. After freshman season, I was running sprints on my own one afternoon at Hayward. In between sets, I sat on a bench. A guy came over and sat down next to me. I knew who this guy was.

Actually, EVERYBODY knew who this guy was. Bill Bowerman. Championship track coach. And Bill Bowerman spent the next half-hour talking to me.

I was … what? “Stunned,” I guess is the word. I was not a track guy, at all. I was just a freshman football player, one who would have a very short career.

But Bowerman just sat there talking to me like he had all the time in the world for me. He talked to me more than any of the football coaches did. We talked about my homesickness, which was a real problem for me. 

Why on earth should he care? He had championship athletes on that field. But he sat there talking to me.

Absolutely amazing man. And THAT is my fondest football memory. 

I will miss this site. Incredible memories.

Alex Heining

What an opportunity it has been to share this great community with all of you. I hope that Charles’ work with the site and all the memories we’ve shared discussing the teams will remain fond memories through the foreseeable future with Cristobal at the helm.

You all made something truly special for Charles and the Duck faithful to be a part of, and I thank you deeply for that. Take care, stay in touch!

Santa Rosa Duck

So I just read an article where Nick Saban is discussing NIL and says that his new starting QB Bryce Young who has thrown a total of 22 passes has already lined up almost $1,000,000 in endorsements. How are we going to compete against this?


And thus we see the passing of amateur athletics. R.I.P. Perhaps it will re-animate as a Phoenix of sorts. Ah…an AFL for students.

I wonder when college football will begin holding drafts. It better, or it’s dead except for the 20 or so teams that can afford to compete.

Guys, if ‘student’ – athletes can earn their market value, why not?

After all, a piano player on academic scholly has no restriction on the money she can earn playing gigs or giving lessons.

Coaches are making millions and millions of dollars and college administrators are also making bank.

The ‘leader’ of the NCAA makes $2.9M a year for doing exactly what?

If you want to see amateur CFB, watch the D3 where I played ball.

D1 lost its amateur status a long time ago.

When the BCS/Playoff came on and CFB sold its soul to the media for a combined billions of dollars.

Where we witness 40+, everyone gets a trophy, bowl games. 38 of these games brought to you by Disney/ABC/ESPN.

Where we see kids waiting until close to 9 PM eastern time to play for a championship and the sorry, IMO, Pac-12 After Dark.

I’d rather see the money flow above board and not under the table.

If some guy is silly enough to pay a yet-to-prove-it kid 100K well; caveat emptor, buyer beware.

BTW: The deal Mr. T just signed with NIKE could rake-in well over a 100K? And I hope it does so.


Remember SMU and all the stuff that happened in the southwest conference?

Players getting free cars from boosters and all kinds of things?

Get ready for 5 star players to get 100k per year to ‘guard the stadium’ so nobody steals it.


I don’t think it will doom Olympic or Women’s sports, per se. It will, however, doom formal amateur competition in these and other sports. And those schools that can pay, will find themselves at the top of the heap in perpetuity. Sports and fan interest ($) in the ‘have-not’ schools will wither.

Championships will go to those teams with the most money…this beginning a formal, self-perpetuating cycle of the top athletes signing on. These 20 or so schools will be “The University Major League”. Jon thinks paying student athletes is okay. Beyond their education and living expenses, I do not.

The consequences are massive…and negative for more reasons than I have time to delineate. I foresee college football and other ‘revenue’ sports in most schools being relegated to ‘team’ sports. Think rugby, bowling, chess, and table tennis in nature.

By the way, high school NIL payoff is next. Perhaps junior college sports will ascend to national interest. ;-) Naw……


Charles, I am saddened that my partner in early morning computer coffee time will be missing. You have provided a wonderful place to visit and share all things Ducks with the community.

I’m certain that this project has worn you mighty thin over the years, taking much of your time, energy, and cash. A year’s effort has morphed into a decade of work for you. As you can see by the other posts, it, you, have been ever so much appreciated. Here is hoping a bit of time away will freshen your enthusiasm for our community’s morning huddles.

Best always.



“ Cristobal Must Achieve the PLAYOFFS in Two Years….or ELSE?”. Or else…..he doesn’t.


Cristobal achieved it in 2019… but the players let two games get by them. Players can and should be held accountable too.

I’m still giving Cristobal THIS season to ressurect the offense. But no more time afterward.


In Marios first full year we won the red box bowl with Justin Herbert, NFL rookie of the year by a score of ???
7 to 6
Greatness and weakness emerge early.
Thanks for all you have done for this Green Refuge Charles!!

Jon Joseph

If the players are not ready to ball out, I don’t believe it falls only on the players?


So true. Especially if they are out of shape, have poor technique or don’t know the playbook.

I think it was the 2012 season when DAT didn’t make a block for Mariota – and the Ducks could have went back to the national championship if said block had been made. That is the kind of thing that I was referring to.


Thanks for a great 10 year run!

We sure have enjoyed every bit of info and video and comments in this household.
Enjoy this next season Charles, it could be a great one.

I am one who thinks we are 1+ seasons away from the playoffs. By then it may be 12 teams anyway. I believe we won’t get over the hump until one of these young gun qb’s develops into his potential.

In the meantime, MC keeps recruiting blue bloods and we keep winning the Pac12.
And we do that by scoring some points!

To all you regular commenters, thanks for all your insights. I will miss that.
Go Ducks!!

Jon Joseph

DanL – the Playoff will go to 12, but 2023 looks like the 1st season this could happen?

For example, the current deal gives the Rose Bowl the prime 1/1 5 PM Eastern kick off time. Why would the RB move from this before 2026? This is only 1 of the existing deals with the NY6 bowls that could delay expansion.

2023 is the season when at Texas Tech replaces at Ohio State/ ‘at’ UGA on the schedule.

2023 is when I believe Oregon cannot only make the Playoff but make noise in the Playoff?

Then again, if the CFB powers-that-be want to put the Playoff out for open bid and not have to deal with Disney/ABC/ESPN exclusively, we may have to wait until 2026/27 for the PO to go to 12?

This will a billion dollar + deal. It would stink to have to wait so long (especially for a greybeard who might not make it to 2026/27) but having CBS, NBC and others in the bidding mix, Amazon, etc., may be too rich not to wait?

David Marsh


It has been a blast writing and commenting on FishDuck. Thank you so much for letting me write for this website and being apart of this community.

If you ever revive FishDuck please give me a call. I’m sure I’ll be able to brew up a few articles if that time comes.


-David Marsh


Charles, words cannot express the thanks to you for the creation, care, and nurturing you have poured into this site! You created a safe haven for Duck fans everywhere to come and share with their flock.

We may not always agree, but we are ALWAYS RESPECTFUL. I look forward to your game day articles, and to watching our Ducks take off!

It is my fondest hope that MC and the 2021 team give you (and us) a year that we never forget.

May you be blessed to watch Dominating Defensive Destruction Delivered with Dreadful Devastation Due to Duck Dominance!

Between masterful Defensive performances, may you be treated to Oregon’s Overpowering Offense Orchestrate Overwhelming Ownership of Outplayed and Overmatched Opponents!

Then Reload and Repeat! Go Ducks!

Jon Joseph

CFB Tidbit.

NCAA President Mark Emmert, he of the $2.9M annual salary, has recently pleaded for the P5 in particular, to take the regulatory and policing duties off of his back.

This is what happens when the Supreme Court takes you to the woodshed and gives you a 9-0 spanking.

Mark’s legal bill in 2020, a year when college sports took it in the shorts? $68,000,000.00.

$13.6M per P5 conference. @ $1.5M for every P5 school.


Thank you Charles for all you have done and continue to do!

I think one thing you do that isn’t accounted for enough is setting an example on how civil discussion can occur. Not only do you provide this, but you present a unique example to others.

Many people have never seen a disagreement end in agreeing to disagree. They may never have heard someone say I never thought of it that way, thanks for the insight.

In these times that type of discourse is priceless. Without examples of this, what seems like, the continual precipitous drop in respectful behavior will have no end. For that I am most grateful, you provide a beacon light in a dark time.

As for the Oregon Football Program I think this site reflects the nature of the Oregon Fan. We have high expectations, but are realistic in outcomes. Like I said yesterday I expect Oregon to win against tosu, but I know the odds aren’t great.

I think Cristobal may achieve the playoffs in two years, maybe less, but the important item is the program continues to grow and reflect the values we expect. Winning every game and becoming elite isn’t a value I find desirable.

I want the student athletes to grow into functioning adults, most importantly. The struggles and failures are often the most important part of that process. Hopefully we win it all, but my dream is we do it the right way, even if it is the long way.

Let me know when, the beers will be on me!

Jon Joseph

BUMMER about the terrific site going sporadically dark.

This site has been a refuge for those of us who want to discuss and debate Oregon sports with civility. A rare find in today’s fractious world.

Your takes Charles, during the football season and on game day are tremendous. Looking forward to these takes when it fits in with your busy schedule.

Thank you for taking the laboring oar (and wallet) for so many years.


Top 25, far too low a bench mark. Far too low.

Last season the Ducks won the conference title, finished 25, and would have been left out of a 12 team Playoff field in favor of AAC champ, Cincinnati, and Sun Belt champ, Coastal Carolina.

Anything less than a top 10 finish = winning on signing days and not having the players coached up to the level of recruiting.

And Oregon is not competing in the SEC W (or even in the SEC E, where you have to deal with UGA and UF) or in the B1G E.

Replacement for Mario? Which I certainly hope will not be required.

1st in line is Iowa State’s Matt Campbell. A guy who schooled Mario in the Fiesta Bowl and has brought a historically bad Iowa State program to B 12 champion and Playoff contention.

Campbell has accomplished this without ever having a recruiting class that finished higher than in the 40s. With adequate, but certainly not top-of-the-line, facilities. With a recruiting budget not close to that of Mario’s. And Ames, Iowa, is not going to be a mecca for NIL money, and it certainly is not the Paris of the Midwest (if there is such a town?)

Campbell is making no where close to Dabo + Nick-like, money. At Oregon, he would have no Oklahoma-like program to contend with for conference championships.

BTW: Before Campbell elevated Iowa State, he did the same at Toledo. A school that happened to be the site of Nick Saban’s 1st CFB, HC job.

2nd – Dave Clawson – Wake Forest. A guy competing at one of the smallest schools in the P5. A school with the smallest stadium in the P5. A guy who has delivered an ACC title and gone toe to toe with Clemson and other top ACC conference teams.

3rd – More proof has to be added to the pudding, but BC’s Jeff Hadley, a product of the Ohio State program, had an excellent 1st season in Chestnut Hill and is recruiting like BC has never seen before.

Oregon with its cache and financial backing is a top 10 destination for any coach. And Oregon in today’s Pac-12 should never finish outside the top 10; should be a legitimate Playoff contender every season.

Beginning in 2021, I, like you Charles, certainly hope that Mario starts checking ALL of the boxes that you so accurately described above?

Happy trails amigo!

Lou Farnsworth

I like the way you think JJ…..hopefully MC will hand the keys to JM and we won’t have to go headhunting for Campbell, Clawson, or others.

Jon Joseph


Jon Joseph

One coach I missed: Mark Stoops, Kentucky. Another coach who has significantly improved recruiting and has done more with less against tough competition.

One ‘off-the-radar’ but important OOC game in 2021 that I previously missed – Minnesota at CU (+ CU plays A+M! That IMO is over-aggressive, counter-productive, OOC scheduling.)


Great post, JJ. MC has a ton to prove this year. The talent is in place along with the coordinators. The PAC12 is weak. No excuses if we don’t go to the Rose Bowl. 2022 could be a slight hiccup with a new QB but we still should be playing at a high level, year in and year out we should have a real shot at winning the PAC12.

Jon Joseph

A team ranked preseason #5 by the very accurate SP+, should at least go 11-2 and trip to the Rose Bowl.

This is what I see as the best 2021 case? L at Ohio State and an L at one of at Stanford, UW, Utah (in November in SLC,) or, UCLA?

Then hopefully, a Rose Bowl W against a likely slight underdog B1G team.

12-2 in 2021 would be most fine with me. This is a young team with a daunting schedule.


Thanks, Charles. I’ve been a big fan of yours going back to your awesome practice reports on Educk.

You are too kind. I am only allowed to render my opinions/comments because of your efforts.

Lou Farnsworth


After countless hours on the phone with each other, you know quite well my thoughts and feelings regarding both you and this amazing site.
What has been built here, both the website and the community that it has generated, is unique. It is marvelous, enriching, educational, and just plain fun. The loss of this cozy little DuckNest is huge. We all love being able to learn and debate about Duck Sports without having to put up with tedious turdbombs tossed at us by snarky thirty year olds, who are going on thirteen, who happen to disagree with us.

Without an iota of doubt, I am confident that I speak for the majority of this community, when I say that we hope that somehow in the future, after all the dust and ashes have settled, that a PhoenixDuck hybrid will emerge, in some form, where we can pick up the pieces and continue on. (How’s THAT for a run on sentence eh?)

My heart is heavy. But I am optimistic.




I will miss the daily articles and safe, polite atmosphere! :'(

Santa Rosa Duck

Charles, you will be missed. Where to go now? We lost “The Duck Stops Here”, then we lost “Whole Flock of Ducks” and now we lose the best of all, “FishDuck”. I will check back occasionally and let you know when I am in Eugene.

Jon Joseph

I guess we all have to duck? BUMMER!


Thank you for all your time and energy. It was fun to share in part of the journey.

Go Ducks.


Thank you Charles for all the great reads and your service in creating this great and unique forum.


Thank you Charles. This community is very unique. I have not been part of it for very long but enjoyed all of it. We’ll have to meet before a game for a beer or three at the O Bar. My treat!


Hey Charles, aka Mr. FishDuck,
It’s been a long and winding road. If ducks in flight left vapor trails, yours would be a long one.

Thanks for the memories of banter, deep dives into the specifics of plays, formations and run blocking, and dialogues about staff among everything brought by

I hope that you will enjoy the coming season as a fan. Meanwhile thanks for the grace you gave me as an occasional writer and contributor.

Go Ducks!



Thank you kindly for the best Duck articles on the internet for the past 10 plus years. They were/are all a pleasure to read, and your web site has been nothing but an amazing place to visit and read what others have to say about current Duck events.

Take that much needed time off, and be sure to enjoy that wonderful looking BBQ chicken!

When the world opens up and my kids (twin boys 6, daughter 4) get a tad older, I will make my way out west and watch a game live at Autzen. Of course, I will let you know when that will be!!! I will definitely need pointers on where to stay, where to eat, and most of all where the good beers are found!!!


Dr Paddy A aka Quackanadian

Jon Joseph

Quack, but if you come west for a game now, you won’t have to buy tickets for the kids, eh?


Sounds fantastic!!!