Oregon Football at a Crossroads

Jordan Ingram Editorials

The Oregon Ducks football program is teetering on the edge of total collapse. Nevermind the embarrassing and infuriating loss to the Utah Utes in the Pac-12 Championship game, led by Anthony Brown and one of the worst quarterback performances in recent memory. (Ahem. Why not play Ty Thompson in the second half? I’ll wait.)

If we can set that aside, the future looks exciting for the Ducks (10-3) if all the pieces stay together. Unfortunately, we already know that’s not the case.

Offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead is gone to Akron. But the coup de grace for the Oregon football program — Ducks head coach Mario Cristobal is getting a HEAVY pitch to return to his alma mater University of Miami to coach the Hurricanes. How heavy? The school is reportedly offering him the highest salary in program history.

Oregon may lose significant sway over blue chips in Southern California.

If Cristobal returns to Miami, the Ducks’ program will enter a tailspin. The former Canes’ offensive lineman will undoubtedly take some current Oregon players with him to Florida, not to mention flipping a significant number of top-rated recruits committed to play in Eugene.

Oregon will be the only kid at the table without a chair when the music stops — a headless snake with no leadership, stability, or game plan for the future. Enter the green-and-yellow death spiral.
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Making matters worse, after USC‘s recent hiring of former Oklahoma Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley, who is rumored to be receiving $110 million plus two homes in Los Angeles and unlimited personal use of a private jet, recruiting in SoCal will not be the cakewalk it’s been in recent years.

If Cristobal leaves Oregon after his incredible success luring top talent away from the Trojans’ backyard (Kayvon Thibodeaux, Mycah Pittman), the Ducks’ chances of recruiting blue chips away from Riley will vanish into near oblivion that will be difficult to escape from anytime soon. Even if Oregon manages to quickly hire a replacement, it will likely be too late. Players will be already looking to the shiny new kid on the block with two postal addresses.

Until recently, Riley was the worst possible scenario for the Ducks. Now, with Moorhead gone and the Canes courting Cristobal, suddenly the bottom is falling out. And if it all goes to dog patch in the next few weeks, the Ducks will be in questionable shape for their season opener on the road against the Georgia Bulldogs next year.

The Ducks are approaching a crossroads. What is the future of Oregon football?

Jordan Ingram
San Diego, California
Top Photo By Craig Strobeck

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