Ducks, Beavers in Battle for Holiday Bowl Bid

Jordan Ingram Analysis

Between long periods of silent reflection, handwringing, bargaining with the football gods and frequent public outbursts in a nightgown and slippers, Oregon Ducks fans are likely spending the weekend unshaven and waiting for the College Football Playoff to announce its top four teams and (yawn) the rest of the bowl games. All joking aside, the Ducks are likely headed to the Holiday Bowl against a team from the ACC, including a possible matchup with Notre Dame, or the Las Vegas Bowl, facing a team from the SEC or Big Ten.

But Oregon’s loss to the Oregon State Beavers in a season-ending implosion may continue to haunt the Ducks in the postseason. If the Beavers get the nod to the Holiday Bowl (both teams are 9-3 and the Beavs hold a potential tiebreaker), Oregon could plummet to the Sun Bowl, playing against God only knows. ITT Technical Institute? Berklee College of Music? Juilliard? Ugh. Pass the Pepto. If there are any judges still on the fence, here’s a little inside juice: The only thing worse than losing to the Beavers is watching Oregon State play in a bowl game.

…The transfer portal taketh away: Seven McGee, Dont’e Thornton, Jay Butterfield, Byron Cardwell Jr., Bradyn Swinson and Bram Walden have entered the transfer portal. Players who have completed their eligibility are automatically entered into the 2023 NFL Draft. Currently, no Ducks players have publicly announced if they’ll stay in the draft or return for another year, according to The Oregonian. Tight end Cam McCormick has another year of eligibility and defensive tackle Popo Aumavae is seeking a waiver for an additional year.

Bo Nix has another year of eligibility. Will he opt out of the 2023 NFL Draft and return to Eugene?

…What about Bo Nix? The fourth-year junior has another year of eligibility left in the NCAA, which means it’s still entirely possible he could play another year for Dan Lanning and Co. When asked last week about his decision, Nix left the door slightly ajar: “I think it depends on each individual’s personal goals. Some guys are ready to go off and leave college. Some guys enjoy college football and like to stay. In my opinion, there’s no right or wrong answer, it’s based off each individual guy. Some guys are comfortable leaving, some guys would rather stay…Just trying to finish out the season and whatever’s next, go out there and perform at a high level.” This season, Nix has thrown for 3,388 yards, 27 touchdowns and six interceptions, rushed for 504 yards and 14 touchdowns, and had a touchdown reception.

…Defensive line standout Brandon Dorlus could be leaving Eugene after a monster year for the Ducks, according to his Twitter account and other media sources. This season, Dorlus was a dynamic edge rusher who filled a massive hole following the departure of DE Kayvon Thibodeaux, racking up 34 total tackles (16 solo tackles) and 2.5 sacks. However, no official decision has been announced.

…After Ducks’ offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham‘s recently accepted the head coaching job at Arizona State, fans grew concerned about five-star Martin Luther King High School quarterback Dante Moore‘s verbal commitment to Oregon in July. However, Moore, the nation’s No. 2 overall player in the 2023 recruiting class and the highest-rated quarterback commit in Oregon history, is reportedly “locked in” with the Ducks, according to 247Sports’ Steve Wiltfong. Lanning visited Moore in Michigan on Friday night. Moore later shared a photo on his Twitter account holding up the “O” sign next to Lanning. Merry Christmas, Ducks fans!
Dante Moore State Championship - Oregon Ducks Football De Commitment - in Eugene, OR

Dante Moore remains “locked in” to playing at Oregon next year.

Just in case you weren’t aware of the Detroit play caller’s talents, here’s the scouting summary on Moore from On3: “Pocket passer who is one of the more accurate and efficient quarterbacks in the 2023 cycle. Skilled as a touch passer with the ability to layer throws and deliver with accuracy and nuance. Has a quick, natural release that aids in the short passing and RPO game. Shows a good arm both on video and in camp settings. Capable of hitting on deep shots off of play action. 

…Speaking of Dillingham, Lanning is undoubtedly scouring for the Ducks’ next offensive coordinator. Oregon wide receivers coach and co-offensive coordinator Junior Adams is certainly a possible candidate for the job. Adams is familiar with Dillingham’s system and is considered one of the program’s strongest recruiters. Some of the outside names on the hot board include Ohio State wide receivers coach Brian Hartline, Buffalo Bills quarterback coach Joe Brady, Texas wide receivers coach Brennan Marion, TCU offensive coordinator Garrett Riley (younger brother of USC head coach Lincoln Riley

Jordan Ingram
San Diego, California
Top photo by Craig Strobeck

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