What a start to the Dan Lanning era it's been for Oregon football. The Ducks have seen far more success than their former head coach Mario Cristobal who spurned the program for what he thought to be greener pastures down at his alma mater in Miami.
Oregon clearly won that coaching carousel.
There have been plenty of obstacles for Lanning so far at Oregon, however, and he's going to face another major one in 2024: joining a new conference.
Usually when a team joins a new conference, it's a level-up situation from the Group of Five to the Power Five, but in this new age of super-conferences, major programs are joining already-powerful leagues. The Pac-12 completely dissolved because of this and Oregon is joining Washington, USC, and UCLA in the move to the Big Ten starting in 2024.
But with the move comes new obstacles for one of the big dogs from the Pac-12: contending with the likes of Ohio State, Penn State, and Michigan.
Fortunately for Lanning and Oregon, Michigan is going to take a healthy step back this season because Jim Harbaugh, JJ McCarthy, Blake Corum, and Mike Sainristil are all moving on. The team is going to look a lot different next season with Sherrone Moore leading the way. Unfortunately for the Ducks, Ohio State is only getting better.
Can Lanning run the new-look Big Ten? I would say the conference is going to be Ohio State's and Oregon's for the next few years and as long as Lanning continues his current trajectory, I expect to see him coaching in Big Ten title games for the foreseeable future.
Lanning won't dominate right away, but this is a conference in which his Ducks could become that next powerhouse.