If you’re anything like me, your offseason consists of getting teased by the spring game and then shuffling through preseason magazines from May until the end of August.
Nothing gets me excited more than reading preview magazines because that just proves that the season is quickly approaching and while the summer seems to drag on, college football will be back soon.
Reading the preview magazines each year, it’s normal to catch mistakes or disagree with takes but sometimes there are massive oversights that leave you scratching your head.
In Phil Steele’s 2021 preview magazine which just hit the market last month, he did something unusual. He made a glaring mistake. He’s usually one of the best in the business when it comes to college football knowledge, but he managed to somehow turn the entire Oregon football fanbase against him when he ranked the Ducks No. 19 in the country ahead of the 2021 season.
Most programs would kill for this type of ranking and respect from a college football expert, but Oregon will have arguably its most talented roster ever in 2021, and if that’s only good enough for No. 19, that’s disappointing. But that’s not the case.
Oregon should be considered a top-10 caliber team entering the season, fresh off yet another conference title and bringing in its third consecutive No. 1 recruiting class in the Pac-12.
To make matters worse, the Ducks were the third-highest ranked Pac-12 team in Steele’s rankings behind Washington (No. 9), USC (No. 13), and Utah (No. 15). It honestly doesn’t make a ton of sense to list them this low when they have more talent and experience than the rest of the conference.
The blatant disrespect is almost offensive.
Oregon football is in national title or bust mode
Sure, Steele still gave the Ducks praise and said that they could have the most talent in the Pac-12 (which they do), but ranking them No. 19 is a slap in the face. Ranking them behind Washington, USC, and Utah is kicking the Ducks when they’re already down.
Oregon returns plenty of talent to both sides of the ball, including the projected No. 1 pick for the 2022 NFL Draft in Kayvon Thibodeaux, one of the best backfields in the nation, a solid offensive line, elite receiving corps, and top-tier defense. There aren’t many flaws on this roster and it currently has a good chunk of its top-30 all-time recruits on the roster.
The 2021 season will be ‘national title or bust’ for Oregon football and it has the talent to make the playoff. Apparently Steele disagrees.