Oregon Ducks: Dynasty Over?


The real question is: Did it ever begin? Sure there were some Pac-10/Pac-12 Conference titles in all of that and an appearance in the title game, but other than that…there’s nothing to show for it. Nothing that 20 years from now you could go to Eugene, Oregon and look outside Autzen Stadium and see where they’ve got neon yellow stenciled in ‘National Champions-2010, 2011’ And sadly, that once mighty display of power, that wrecking ball of offense and domination, is coming to an end. Coming to an end the way most self proclaimed dynasties do: With nothing to show. Throw in a few All-Americans, a BCS Fiesta Bowl trophy to go with a Rose Bowl trophy but the true stated destination, a national title, has eluded them.

I have to admit I rarely caught an Oregon Ducks game in the past 5 years or so. I can count on my hand, how many times I was actually able to watch the Ducks on Saturdays or in bowl games. There was the title game in 2011, the Michigan State game a few weeks back, and then the Wyoming matchup just about a month ago. Sure there were the highlights on SportsCenter. Oregon 70, Whomever State 3, but for the most part, Oregon was shrouded in a mystery for me. And yet I always seemed to catch USC or UCLA cause they played their games at a reasonable time or it wasn’t exclusive to the Pac 12 Network.

So why is Oregon on the downslide? For starters, teams are figuring out their offensive schemes and are having success in a post Chip Kelly landscape. Simply put, the recruits that coach Kelly used to bring in are now going to places like Arizona State, UCLA, and Arizona. For any kid with speed Kelly knew how and where that kid would fit in with his Ducks offense. You couple that with ‘Hey check out that uniform. Gun metal black helmets with a fluorescent ‘O’ on the back of it. You come play with us and you can have the run in the Nike Store. And next week will be a different style.’ How would a recruit NOT pass that up? Because for how great a coach Chip Kelly was, he was an even better recruiter than above all else. The likes of LaMichael James, DeAnthony Thomas, and Marcus Mariota. The Spread Option would be defined by the likes of these. 4th and 4 from their own 35? It didn’t matter. The Ducks would just come to the line and snap the ball, 10 yards later, 1st down. Two plays later, end zone, 2 point conversion, 38-0. That blitzkrieg, lightning display was always the downfall of many a defense and won the Ducks a lot of games. Got them to the title game against Auburn for the 2010 season. It would be the water mark for Oregon and exposed exactly what you needed to do to win against them. They lost 22-19 in that game. They used to score 19 points in the 1st quarter in most games that season but Auburn had a month to plan. You give any football team a month to plan that has the right athletes and it’ll spell doom for any offense.

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  • I’ll keep this brief, like Oregon getting the ball on their own 9 yard line in 2010 and scoring by the time this paragraph is up. The bottom line is this: Mark Helfrich is 8-3 in the Pac 12 conference in just over a year at the helm, losing to Stanford and twice to Arizona. In his 4 years at the Oregon job, Chip Kelly was 33-3 in the Pac 12 and even he didn’t win a national championship. 33-3 Chip Kelly against 8-3 Mark Helfrich so far. You tell me they’re on an upswing and that they’re not notorious for losing games that they shouldn’t (-23 point favorite at home last Thursday against Arizona) and I’ll tell you I will still take Oregon’s opponent in a National Title game (if they ever return)…cause I have a month to plan, with or without the mystique.