Oregon Ducks Have Re-Joined College Football’s Mortal Majority with Conference Title as Newest Goal
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
With Oregon now unranked for the first time since 2009 and outside the College Football Playoffs picture, it’s time to accept that this program is no longer going to strike fear in the hearts of opponents the way it has the last six seasons. It’s time to accept that this will not be the year the Ducks win their first National Championship Trophy.
It’s time to accept that it’s the end of an era, but not the end of a season.
For the Ducks, success no longer means competing in January. That Alabama-Oregon contest everyone has wanted to see? That will only happen if the two programs underachieve together and land in a bowl that neither truly wants to play in based on preseason expectations.
Oregon is now where most other programs are: preparing to compete for a division title with the hopes that a conference championship is on the horizon.
At this point in the process, Oregon has yet to face off against a single Pac-12 North opponent. Stanford has looked both good and awful at different times this year, but there won’t be much outside the Cardinal when it comes to Oregon competing for the division and finding itself in the conference title game.
That’s not a bad place to be for any team in the country. It’s not where the Ducks are used to sitting, but the truth is that being ranked 27th, while still outside the ever-sought-after Top 25, is still a strong place to be when it comes to winning on a second-tier scale.
So I'm guessing Oregon's ranking by reputation is coming to an end? # rude awakening— Samuel L. Jackson (@SamuelLJackson) September 27, 2015
In today’s day and age of social media and hot takes, you’d think the world is coming to an end in Eugene. This program has a lot of questions to answer, but there’s plenty of football to play with a conference championship still very much on the line.
If the Ducks can put together a strong showing the rest of the year, you’re looking at a group that could realistically win its second-straight Pac-12 title.
Revenge for this squad is no longer taking down the Ohio State Buckeyes in the national championship. But you know what just might be motivation enough for this squad to keep fighting? A revenge contest in the Pac-12 title game against a team that has looked like the best group in the south division up to this point.
A team that took down the Ducks at Autzen on Saturday in historic fashion.
There’s plenty to play for if you’re the Ducks entering Week 5. It’s time for everyone to recognize that, as this group can’t quit just because it’s no longer in the minority of true contenders.
Related Slideshow: 5 Noteworthy Performances to Watch for in Oregon Ducks Game
Will Vernon Adams Jr. play with his injury, and if so how will he play?
The Ducks starting quartberack broke his index finger in week one, but has decided to play through the injury. His performance was clearly affected by his bad finger in last weeks loss to Michigan State. His throwing just isn't up to speed. It will be a gametime decision that Adams will have to make. Keep in mind, they have a talented Jeff Lockie anxiously waiting just in case.
Oregon's Defensive Unit
As of recently, the Ducks defensive unit has become their greatest area of weakness. The Ducks have allowed 154 rushing yards in their first two games putting them at 63rd in the NCAA, and have given up 315 passing yards ranking them 97th in the NCAA. This young Oregon defense has a lot of areas that need improvement and this week will be the perfect opporunity to find and fix the chinks in the Ducks' armor.
Expect A Big Week from Royce Freeman
The Sophomore running back is already off to a great start this season. With just two games under his belt, Freeman has rushed for 273 yards on 45 carries, and tallied four touchdowns. This game will most likely be a blowout, which means Freeman will probably only see the field in the first half. However, something tells me this will be some of the most impressive two quarters of the season for Freeman. Can you say highlight reel?
Does Mark Helfrich's coaching style change following the loss to Michigan State?
The Oregon Ducks aren't accustomed to losing, and certainly not losing early. You have to imagine coming off a season where they reached the National Championship, a loss in just the second game of the season is quite the wake-up call. Helfrich let his quarterback play with a significant injury, a decision that potentially lost the Ducks the game. Maybe this week Helfrich will take initiative and sit Adams for one game. Afterall Coach, this game isn't nearly important enough to risk further injuring your star quaterback.
The Oregon Ducks Weekly Wardrobe Choice
One of the perks of being an Oregon Ducks fan is getting to witness the immense amount of fashion sense they have as a college football team. The Ducks partnership with Nike and the amount of money Nike pours into the Ducks uniform are noteworthy enough to crack the top five. Last week the Ducks came out with a white on grey uniform that left fans unsatisfied, but worry not my fellow Ducks fans, Oregon has enough uniform combos to wear a different one every game until the year 3344.
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