Should Oregon Football Fear USC? - Oregon Ducks Football

Should Oregon Football Fear USC?

Alex Heining Editorials

This has been a turbulent offseason to say the least for Oregon. On top of the Mario Cristobal fiasco and a ton of talent jumping ship, there’s a new head honcho in Los Angeles. Lincoln Riley is set to stabilize the program with championship-contending culture after years of high turnover at head coach.

How does this impact the Oregon Ducks’ future of recruiting?

We should still have a ton of hope for recruiting. Even just this week, we were able to yank five-star offensive tackle Josh Conerly Jr. away from the rest of the PAC-12 and cement another starter for the future. However, it is going to be far more competitive now recruiting in the PAC-12. Head coach Dan Lanning is going to have to put on his A-game week in and week out during the offseason. Don’t get me wrong: after all this turbulence, I am THRILLED where the Ducks are headed. There’s just another more than competent foe in LA that joins Utah as giving Our Beloved Ducks a legitimate annual PAC-12 championship threat.

Increasing the Oregon Ducks’ opportunity at the College Football Playoff

With this extra talent though, you will see a massive uptick in the rankings. Lincoln Riley is a proven commodity as a coach, and the nation is fully aware of his ability. After producing a pair of Heisman-winning quarterbacks in the past few seasons, he is a dominant recruiter and teambuilder. Luckily for Lanning, they are both starting virtually from scratch in the PAC-12. I have high hopes for the Ducks under Lanning personally, but he needs to get off the blocks even faster because of the Riley hire. Without Riley this offseason, we’d be looking at Utah as our primary opposition, which still may be true for now, but is closer to being a shared position with the Trojans.

Who could forget Oregon’s magical run to the first CFP with Mariota?

With a five-star already under Lanning’s recruiting belt, I have full trust in his ability to compete with Riley for control of the west. However, it’s a tough road ahead for recruiting that’s going to require full throttle from our entire program. In terms of dominating the PAC-12, Lanning inherits momentum and a wealth of talent, but Riley also draws in the Heisman pedigree. You’d be hard pressed to find an offensive talent that wouldn’t want to join Riley in LA. Even if Lanning wins the offseason for Our Beloved Ducks, converting that talent to results will be even more difficult than it was for Cristobal in the PAC-12.

Do you believe USC will be able to turn around under Riley this year and really give Oregon a run? How will they compare to Utah in upcoming seasons? How high is Lanning’s recruiting ceiling in your eyes?

Alex Heining
Los Angeles, California
Top Photo By: Dennis Hammond

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