Everything is lining up for Oregon to make a return trip to the playoff. Despite losing Justin Herbert, they have the coach, the talent and the schedule. Now Oregon just has to do something they haven’t done in a while, be great every week.
Oregon Owns The Pac-12
I say almost perfect because Oregon can afford one slip up. While they catch them at home, Ohio State is going to be one of the best teams in the nation in 2020. Similar to Auburn last year, Oregon can lose this game. However it needs to be kept close and competitive so it isn’t a major knock at the end of the year.
Looking ahead to their conference schedule shows how good Oregon has it.
- Washington @ home
- USC @ home
- Arizona State @ home
- Stanford @ home
Washington should have a solid team but questions still surround first year HC, Jimmy Lake. USC had a recruiting class in the mid 50’s and seem to be stuck in neutral under Clay Helton. Arizona State is getting good in a hurry and could be a legitimate threat in 2020. Stanford is coming off a terrible year and it seems like half their team transferred.
Oregon has the averaged the best recruiting class in the Pac-12 over the last four seasons. They have the most talent and USC has been the only other team top pull a top class in the four years. USC will have a ton of talent but clearly that isn’t enough. A rebound is possible for the Trojans, but they feel like they could fall apart at any second. This is Oregon’s conference to lose.
Road To The Playoff
As I mentioned above, Oregon could likely lose one game and still make the playoff. A close loss to Ohio State probably wouldn’t be enough to knock them out. However they can’t afford another late season slip up.
Oregon was likely a better team than Oklahoma. They should have been the fourth seed that would eventually lose to LSU. Arizona State would eventually take down Oregon, but that wasn’t the only issue.
While the Pac-12 did bounce back a bit in 2019, they still don’t get the attention or respect of the SEC or Big Ten. Even the Big 12 is more respected in many circles around the country. Maybe some bias and some of it is deserved. Either way, Oregon beating Washington State by two points or Cal by 10 won’t move the needle in the polls. It doesn’t matter that Cal quietly had one of the best defenses in the country or Mike Leach can catch anyone slipping. The Pac-12 doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt.
Oregon needs to dismantle the weaker teams to put a statement out to the counrty. Beating Ohio State would be a great start and running through the Pac-12 is a must. However if Oregon falls short of a playoff in 2020, it would be a major disappointment and further push a narrative on Mario Cristobal
Started Saturday Tailgate in 2018. I have covered college football since 2017, wrote for Saturday Tailgate and Fansided. Covering all things Big 12 from recruiting to opinions on the best conference in college football.