When will Oregon Football finally go down?
- by admin
The Oregon Ducks will play at Ohio State next week, and we’re not talking about a regular season game, or even a bowl game.
The Ducks are scheduled to play at Nebraska, at Minnesota and at Wisconsin.
But if they can’t win a Big Ten game next week at home against Michigan, it will be the first time since the 2014 season that they haven’t been to Columbus, Ohio.
It will also be the last time they will be at the Big Ten title game.
“It’s an emotional thing, because we’ve been there before,” Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini said.
“But we also know that it’s not the last game that we’re going to have to play here in Columbus.
And we’ve played it before.”
In fact, Oregon has already played five Big Ten teams since it left for Ohio State in 2019.
But those games were not close.
The Ducks played the Huskers in 2019, Wisconsin in 2021 and the Badgers in 2018.
They were even the second-best team in the Big 10 in 2019 and 2021.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a great team or a bad team, we’ve had to play them,” Pelini told ESPN.
“It’s something we know.
It’s just the game is on a different level.”
That’s the key for Oregon.
Its last two opponents are ranked in the top-20 of the AP poll.
Its next two opponents aren’t ranked in either.
It has the talent to make it through to the Big Dance, but the Ducks have to do it with a little help from the Huskies and Badgers.
Oregon will have to make its mark against Michigan State and Minnesota, two teams that were ranked ahead of Oregon in 2019 but have since slipped down the rankings.
On the other side of the country, Ohio State is on top of the Big 12, which means the Buckeyes can’t be far behind the Ducks in Columbus next week.
Oregon will be without its top three defensive players.
Defensive end Myles Garrett, a three-star recruit out of Louisiana, will miss his junior year of college.
In addition, the Buckeye defense lost defensive coordinator Manny Diaz to the NFL.
Meanwhile, the Ducks defensive line is in good shape, having had two three-stars commit in the 2017 class.
Defensive end David Sharpe, who has been one of the best defensive ends in the country the past two seasons, is expected to sign with the Ducks.
And outside linebacker Darian Thompson, who was a first-round pick in the 2019 NFL draft, will not be joining his teammates on the Ducks team.
Ohio State’s offensive line is ranked as the third-best in the nation, according to the 247sports Composite.
But Ohio State has a few key weaknesses, too.
With Ohio State losing Garrett, Sharpe and Thompson, the offensive line could be vulnerable.
Another weakness is that the Ducks can’t rely on the linebackers, who have had five first-team All-Big Ten selections.
Ohio University also lost one of its top offensive players, guard Zach Dillard, who had nine career starts in the trenches.
However, there are three guys who are starting in the Ducks’ offensive line rotation, which will help the Ducks a lot in 2017.
If the Bucorns can get their hands on two of their top three offensive linemen, that could open up opportunities for others on the offensive side of Ohio State’s defense.
What can Oregon do to win its last two games?
“We can’t expect to get to the title game with this group,” Pelino said.
So, what does that mean for Oregon?
There’s no question the Ducks will be competitive against Ohio State, but there are some things they need to do to get there.
For starters, the defensive line will have a tough time keeping its starters in the lineup.
They lost one-third of its tackles last season.
Dillard is a free agent after next season, and the Ducks don’t have a solid replacement for him at the position.
Sharp would have to step up.
While he hasn’t had a solid season, he was still a solid contributor in his time at Nebraska.
Thompson, Sharple and Dillard are still under contract, but all four are expected to enter the free agent market.
This season, Oregon’s defensive line has had four starters on the roster.
We can also expect more pressure from the offensive linemen.
There are several reasons why Oregon needs to have two tackles.
First, the front seven is starting to be too thin.
Second, the pass rush has been limited.
Third, the linebackers have not been as consistent.
Fourth, the line needs to step it up.
The Oregon Ducks will play at Ohio State next week, and we’re not talking about a regular season game, or…