The Temporary Nature of 2022 College Football

Alex Heining Editorials

The world of football is in a position unlike anything we’ve seen before. Players have grown with star power over their respective team’s coaching staffs and management to an unprecedented point, and the fallout is beginning to culminate with both coaches and players. Even middling talent has begun a movement to jump ship with higher and higher volume, leaving their promised role to pursue greener pastures with other teams across the nation. The 2023 college football offseason will likely emulate this past NFL’s offseason, and as for Our Beloved Ducks, here are a few points to consider.

Which events in college football illustrate this notion?

I think Brian Kelly’s exit from Notre Dame is a perfect example. It isn’t a player example, but it is a perfect illustration of how this can go both ways for coaching staff and players. Kelly left in the dead of night with an after-hours text... I mean really? How does this set the standard for what we should expect as fans? Is his situation going to be the new norm?

Twitter

Cristobal’s shocking exit feels like a lifetime ago now.

Similarly, Mario Cristobal’s jump to the Miami Hurricanes sort of completes the spectrum of coaching changes. Not only did he begin the process during his current team’s season, but he also ignited an evacuation plan for the seemingly-sinking Ducks. Oregon lost out on recruits, transfers, and even star players. To me, Travis Dye was the biggest surprise. He had a massive role on the team, why even bother transferring? In any case, it doesn’t bode well for the player or the program, and I think this all comes back to the star empowerment we’ve seen in the NFL.

How has the superstar empowerment of the NFL impacted college football?

Russell Wilson NFL, Oregon Ducks Football

Via Twitter

Russell Wilson’s trade shocked the football world just a few weeks ago.

A culture of players and coaches working towards a common goal has changed forever. Players have more power than ever in both college and the pro level, almost rising to parallel the level of player power that NBA stars have. There’s a very transparent relationship that social media platforms have allowed us to have with these stars, as players can voice their frustrations and desire for change in a common space.

Unlike decades before, most of the stories we’ve seen this offseason would never have broken the news until a move was made by the team. Today, we see all the events unfold on social media and reports flood in from ESPN daily.

While this doesn’t necessarily force the narratives to become true, there are of course a lot of false reports out there still, it does reshape our perspective as fans for the future of college football.

Oregon Football New Quarterback Bo Nix Eugene, Oregon

Auburn Football Twitter

Bo Nix joins the Ducks in hope of finding a path to the NFL.

What does this mean for the future of college football?

Well see more transfers within college football than ever before, and quicker personnel turnover as well. You also will get a far more accurate sense of how to “read the room” today than ever before as a fan looking from the outside in.

Teams with untapped talent will no longer be able to convince players that they’ll get their chance eventually… 

My biggest takeaway for the Ducks’ future: rethinking recruiting

On top of many other factors this will change in the long run, I think this is going to be dangerous territory for recruiting. Getting players on campus in Eugene will now have less of an impact than in the past, as players will be fully aware of how recruits have been treated and a more transparent transfer trail than ever before that’ll be piling up in upcoming seasons. Granted, most staffs have a high turnover in college football today, and if any coach builds up a poor recruiting reputation, they likely won’t be with the team long enough to see the real damage.

However, it does open up a can of worms for player negotiations, and on top of NIL regulations, we will see a new form of college football recruiting take shape over the next decade.

What other factors do you feel have contributed to the new wave of players and coaches’ temporary contributions to their respective programs? Do you believe it’ll settle once the nation has grown accustomed to the new NIL regulations, or has the NFL’s superstar empowerment movement put us past the point of no return?

Alex Heining
Los Angeles, California
Top Photo By: Eugene Johnson

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