How much are your predictions based on your gut feel versus the facts? I like to look at the factual stats and makeup of a team when making my predictions, but ultimately–when I pull the trigger–it is from my gut. Last year I never did make a prediction because I just did not have a feel for what to expect. I stated we needed to win 10 games to retain national respect, but I never did stick my neck out like I am this year. This year’s prediction is one I’ve never made, and while I can back up my reasoning with data–this is entirely a “gut” forecast.
Oregon will go 12-0 in the regular season.
This is based upon many factors, but the biggest concerns the amount of savvy, experienced players with the depth at defensive back, defensive line, running back and receivers like I’ve never witnessed at Oregon before. It is a tough road, with some close games expected, but I believe this veteran group can overcome the challenges to achieve an undefeated regular season.
In fact the schedule lays out perfectly for a Playoff run, with so many conference teams ranked and the toughest one at home in Oregon State. Yes, the Beavers will be the toughest game because of the “hate” factor associated with the Pac-12 demise, and their opportunity to put themselves in a good bowl position and knock us out at the same time. But Our Beloved Ducks will prevail…
The Difference is Defense
To me, the additions in the portal by Dan Lanning have been astounding, and it has been hard to believe he could attract this many in such a short time. The portal transfers transformed the Oregon offense in 2022, and we will see a similar jump in performance from our defense in 2023. By mid-season, the sportscasters on television will be stating, “I don’t recognize this defense compared to last year.” Yep, because between the portal transfers and the surprising amount of senior talent returning–we will see more experience at defensive back and defensive line than the Ducks will have for years.
It is quite possible that we will see four of the five starters in the secondary from the portal, and experienced former starters will be coming off the bench. This is depth that is unfathomable to me in prior years, as I see nine defensive backs with game experience between transfers, and those who have been on the roster prior to this year. (Tysheem Johnson, Khyree Jackson, Evan Williams, Nikko Reed, Bryan Addison, Trikwese Bridges, Steve Stephens, Dontae Manning and Jahlil Florence)
And don’t get me started about all the experience lining up on the defensive line for 2023!
The bottom line is that the jump in defense I expected to see over the next two years will primarily occur this year due to all savvy players who are now accustomed to what Dan Lanning wishes to achieve. We will see lots of Simulated Pressures this year, but I also expect to see many more overload blitzes because the confidence the coaches will have in the revamped Oregon secondary. The massive improvement with the three “freak” positions on the defense has been solved by the portal, and the result will be a ton of fun watching defense–the most since the 2010 to 2014 time span.
My predictions concerning scoring puts Oregon with 36 points a game, which is a drop from 39 points per game in 2022 because of fewer possessions with the rule changes, and due to the most challenging Pac-12 schedule in my memory. However I believe the Ducks will go from giving up 27 points a game in 2022, to allowing only 20 points per game in 2023. An average span of 16 points per game will include some difficult win-at-the-end type of games where Oregon’s experience will win the day.
Weaknesses of the 2023 Team
There are not many, as I challenge anyone to objectively look at this team and point out glaring weaknesses among the starters. However I look at two weaknesses which may not turn out to be as bad as feared. The first is backup quarterback, and the only way to overcome that issue is to make sure you do not put Bo Nix in situations where he has to run inside the tackles. This points to the second weakness, and that is the well-chronicled inexperience of the head coach and offensive coordinator last year. Coach Lanning is smart, and I believe he will not make the same errors in 2023.
The crisp tackling and tight pass coverage in the Spring Game was impressive; will it materialize the same during the season? If so, it will escalate the performance of the defense that much more rapidly, and thus will pave the way for my target of only giving up 20 points per game average.
Yes, I am the ultimate homer for Oregon, but the more I studied and gathered the data, the more my gut feeling towards twelve victories became greater than my fear of being disappointed again. Give me your reaction to my prediction in the only Oregon forum-with-decorum because…
“Oh, how we love to ponder about Our Beloved Ducks!”
Charles Fischer (Mr. FishDuck)
Top Photo by Nancy Paiva
Charles Fischer has been an intense fan of the Ducks, a season ticket holder at Autzen Stadium for 35 years and has written reports on football boards for over 23 years. Known as “FishDuck” on those boards, he is acknowledged for providing intense detail in his scrimmage reports and in his Xs and Os play analyses. He and his wife Lois, have a daughter Christine, reside in Eugene Oregon, where he was a Financial Advisor for 36 years and now focuses full-time on Charitable Planned Giving Workshops for churches and non-profit organizations.
He does not profess to be a coach or analyst, but simply a “hack” that enjoys sharing what he has learned and invites others to correct or add to this body of Oregon Football! See More…
FishDuck Going to Articles on Monday and Tuesday Only…
Our off-season schedule begins, and we move from publishing articles seven days a week to Mondays and Tuesdays only. Same great group of writers, and we will have an article on other days on occasion.
The Our Beloved Ducks Forum (OBD) is where we we discuss the article above and many more topics, as it is so much easier in a message board format over there. At the free OBD forum we will be posting Oregon Sports article links, the daily Press Releases from the Athletic Department and the news coming out every day.
Our 33 rules at the free OBD Forum can be summarized to this: 1) be polite and respectful, 2) do not tell anyone what to think, feel or write, and 3) no reference of any kind to politics. Easy-peasy!
OBD Forum members….we got your back. No Trolls Allowed!