Expectations For Oregon

Expectations for Oregon


Last year the Oregon Ducks just missed winning the BCS championship, dropping a heartbreaker to Auburn in the final seconds.

This year's team has dreams of running the table. Step One starts tonight with a nationally televised matchup against highly regarded LSU in a game that will be played on the Dallas Cowboys home turf in Arlington, TX. Yes, a heavyweight fight on a huge stage!

What are the best expectations for Oregon this season? Do national runner-ups typically come back strong the next year and make a run at the title? Or, do they fall back to earth because star players leave, luck turns the other way, and that big target on their backs becomes easier to hit from opponents wanting to make a name for themselves?

A look at the past several national runner-ups shows that Oregon is likely to be disappointed in 2011. Not because they'll play poorly. But, because they'll have trouble matching the very high standards that have just been set. Let's take a look at what happened the year after a team lost in the BCS Championship game

2004: Oklahoma
2005: The Sooners slumped to 8-4, and had to settle for a Holiday Bowl berth against Oregon. That's far from a disaster. But, it's a pretty big drop from playing for all the marbles.

2005: USC
2006: The Trojans had another strong season...but not quite strong enough to get back to the big one. They would earn a Rose bowl berth and beat Michigan in a very high profile game. Still important, but not a team that would play for the championship.

2006: Ohio State
2007: Ohio State DID return to the championship game the year after losing to Florida. They would just lose to LSU though. And, they were dominated in such obvious fashion that it became clear to the nation that the best in the Big 10 didn't really measure up to the best in the SEC. The Big Ten hasn't been back to the title tilt since that second Buckeyes loss.

2007: Ohio State
2008: The Buckeyes dropped to 10-3, good enough to face Texas in the Fiesta Bowl. Note that the runner ups are still putting up good records and playing in marquee games as a general rule. Only Oklahoma dropped below the rung of BCS bowls so far on this list. Not a bad "consolation" if you're still playing in the Rose or Fiesta Bowls.

2008: Oklahoma
2009: The Sooners are back on the list...and the Sooners once again fall below the upper tier. The 2009 squad slumped all the way to 8-5, and had to settle for a Sun Bowl invitation to face Stanford.

2009: Texas
2010: The saddest story on the list. Texas fell so far that they didn't even post a winning record! The Longhorns went 5-7, failing to qualify for a bowl appearance.

Quite a range of expectations. Nobody expects Oregon to fall all the way off the map like Texas did. But, nobody thought that would happen to Texas a year ago at this time either! You'll note that none of the runner ups on that list would come back and win the BCS title later. Oklahoma and Ohio State did at least get second chances.

I'd say the best likelihood is that Oregon will again be a prominent player in college football in 2011, but the odds favor a high quality bowl appearance rather than a return to the championship game. Tonight's game with LSU will obviously loom very large in that process. It's hard to recover from a season-opening loss on national television (though, if you're going to lose once, it might as well be early!). A win would help give Oregon the benefit of the doubt in any close call decisions from pollsters down the road.

That Oregon-LSU game is part of my selection mix Saturday...so I'm not going to give you any hints as to which side I'm playing. I can tell you that my OPENING WEEK GAME OF THE YEAR is in a Saturday Night matchup that you'll be watching on TV. You can purchase it for just $50 before kickoff right here at the website.

And, don't forget that my Labor Day Weekend Extravaganza will continue Sunday and Monday with more college football action. Game day releases are always available online for credit card purchase. If you have any questions about which package best suits your individual needs, call my handicapping office at 1-877-766-8946.

The 2011 season is already going strong. That means it's time for YOU to go to W.A.R. alongside WAYNE ALLYN ROOT!


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