October 30, 2012 by kujhawk
Oregon, Oregon, Oregon. It’s all I hear when I watch a show related to college football on ESPN. They should be number two, the experts say. They have the best shot at beating Alabama, the experts say. If it was a costume contest? Maybe. A football game? Not hardly. I am here to say what many people already think.
No they should not be number two, and no they do not have the best chance of beating Alabama.
It’s their defense, the experts say. They are not only running over teams, but they are shutting them down on defense too. Why don’t we take a look inside the numbers and check the facts about Oregon’s defense and who they have played this season.
The Ducks have played only two ranked teams this season. The catch to that statement? Arizona and Washington were ranked 22 and 23 respectively at that time, which is not much of a ranking anyway, and neither team is ranked now. Both were overrated. The combined win-loss record of the teams Oregon has played thus far? 30-35. With such a loaded schedule, including the likes of Tennessee Tech, Colorado and Arkansas State, it is hard to believe that Oregon could make it through that gauntlet unscathed. (If you don’t see the sarcasm there, please go somewhere else.)
The defensive numbers look good for Oregon, but the quality of competition is what has given them such eye-popping statistics. They have allowed 18.7 points per game, while scoring 47 per game, including the 70-14 shelling of 1-7 Colorado last week, a big statement win for the Ducks. (Again, sarcasm.) They only give up 351.5 yards per game, which ranks them in the top 35 for total defense in the FBS. They have intercepted 14 passes and average almost three sacks per game, tied for the 10th best rate in the FBS.
But again, who have they played? No one worth mentioning. There is a reason the Ducks find themselves 4th in the BCS standings this week. They have no strength in their schedule or their conference. The Pac-12 has been down for a few years now. Gone are the days of USC domination. Arizona State, Washington and UCLA – all of whom are usually formidable teams – have had bad teams in recent years. None of this helps Oregon. When your best ‘resume’ game is this week against a USC team that is ranked 17th and coming off a loss to Arizona? Yeah, things are not looking too good. They still have Stanford and Oregon State, people say. Well Stanford was beaten by a mediocre Washington team, and Oregon State – whom everyone thought was a dark-horse team after wins over Wisconsin and UCLA (again, overrated teams) – was just beaten by Washington as well. Washington is tough at home, but still, if Stanford and Oregon State are ‘elite’ teams, they should beat Washington home or away.
I hear people say, well what about the ‘eye test’, that has to mean something. Sure it does. How about we do an ‘eye test’ of some of the defenses Oregon has played this season:
- Arkansas State total defense: 55th in the FBS
- Colorado total defense: 117th in the FBS
- Washington total defense: 57th in the FBS
- Washington State total defense: 91st in the FBS
- Arizona total defense: 110th in the FBS
- Tennessee Tech is not even in the FBS
Now it is all starting to come together. Am I opening your eyes Oregon homers? Could De’Anthony Thomas and Kenjon Barner run rampant on an SEC defense? Maybe Arkansas or Tennessee, but that is not who they will be playing come bowl season. If they had their chance against Alabama, LSU, Georgia, Florida or South Carolina, what do you think would happen? I think you only need to see the national championship game against Auburn two years ago. They could do nothing offensively. Yes they did a better job than most people expected shutting down Cam Newton, but they were even more stagnant on offense than the Tigers were.
The bottom line is this, Oregon needs to beef up its schedule in the non-conference and start showing voters and the computers that it is willing to play top-notch competition from day one. Oregon played LSU in its first game last season and took a beating. It is okay to schedule good teams Chip Kelly. Yes, you might lose some games, but at least you will have earned respect of other coaches and voters and your players will gain valuable experience from playing the best. And maybe, just maybe we as fans will be able to look at your team’s statistics and actually get something out of them that shows us you truly are a ‘complete’ team. Sorry Oregon fans, but we won’t be seeing you in Miami this January. Don’t blame the voters, the computers, the SEC or Kansas State. Blame your competition.