Oregon Football: Don’t Count The Oregon Ducks Out Of The National Title Hunt Quite Yet


The Oregon Ducks are a different team without Marcus Mariota, but to count them out of the national title hunt before the first official snap of 2015 is a little much, don’t you think?

Yet that’s precisely what Comcast Sportsnet Northwest columnist Aaron Fentress has done, saying that the Ducks “are not national championship material.”

More from Oregon Ducks Football

He points out that Mariota was responsible for most of the Oregon Ducks offense (he was) and was a truly unique college talent (winning the Heisman Trophy is a pretty good indicator) and that Oregon will have a remarkably tough time replacing all that Mariota brought to the table. And that’s true.

But to counter, top quarterbacks and national-championship winning talent can come out of nowhere, and there are no better examples than the two teams Oregon has faced in the national title game.

How many times was Ohio State counted out of the national title race last year? I’d say at least every time a quarterback of theirs went down. When Braxton Miller went down in fall camp, they were done. When J.T Barrett went down during the Michigan game and Cardale Jones came in for the rest of that game, there was no chance that the Buckeyes would beat Wisconsin in the Big “10” title game. But they did. Then of course with a new QB there was no chance they would make the first-ever college football Final Four. But they did. Then there was no chance a freshman QB starting his second game would be able to beat the juggernaut known as Alabama.

But it didn’t exactly happen like that, did it?

Fentress: 2015 Ducks “are not national championship material.”

On the other hand, the 2010 Auburn Tigers weren’t measured as preseason title contenders by anybody’s yardstick. They came into the season ranked 22nd with their crazy offense installed by 2nd-year head coach Gene Chizik and a new junior college transfer quarterback…. What was his name again? Cam somebody? Newton and company ripped through the regular season, he won the Heisman going away, and the Tigers barely beat Oregon in the BCS Title Game.

Now of course there are many teams that have lost major cogs of their offense to injury, graduation or the draft and headed south. And of course the Pac-12 has plenty of talented teams that could very well be national title contenders that Oregon will have to deal with (USC being the most likely contender).

But to count the Oregon Ducks out already? A team that lives by the mantra “next man up?” A team that has had incredible, unmatched success in the last decade?

One guy leaves and all of a sudden the dream is over? That doesn’t make a lot of sense.

To paraphrase a certain college movie filmed in Eugene, nothing is over until the Ducks decide it is.

It’ll be a challenge, that’s for sure, especially as the Vernon Adams saga continues to stretch out.

But I’m also certain that Mark “Bluto NFSW Blutarsky” Helfrich is rallying the troops, using the standard “nobody believes in us” line.

Or he just printed out Fentress’ column and tacked it to the bulletin board. Same idea.

Next: Pac-12 Schedule Breakdown: Cal Bears