Don’t look now, but the Oregon Ducks still have a chance to make the College Football Playoff. The Ducks have won five straight games, including their two last in comfortable fashion. It may have proven common to write off Oregon after their escape victory against Washington State and after their blowout loss to Georgia, but the Ducks are here to stay. Here are three takeaways from the first half of Oregon’s season.
Whether Bo Nix is liked off the field has proven debatable, but on, Nix’s been that guy.
In his last outing against Arizona, he was 20-25 and threw for 265 yards. He also added 70 yards on the ground and three touchdowns. Ya, that’s a big three-piece.
If it weren’t for Zach Charbonnet and Dorian Thompson-Robinson down at UCLA, Nix probably would’ve been selected as the Pac-12 Player of the Week.
In the game prior, he did more of the same.
Against Stanford, he was 16-29 for 161 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 141 yards on the ground and two TDs.
His dual-threat ability is real, particularly in goalline sneak situations. He’s got a seventh sense for the endzone.
But more impressive was his comeback against WSU; Oregon’s season was dead, but he brought it back.
He made every right throw, managed the clock efficiently, and found a way to win the game.
He found a way to win the game; he found a way to win the game.
Because of this comeback, UO’s season is still alive, and Ducks fans may consider forgiving him for his Georgia performance.
Sometimes first impressions aren’t everything.
The Skill Positions
Oregon’s long been known for talented skill-position players. UO’s program has sent the likes of LaMichael James, Jonathan Stewart, and Royce Freeman to the NFL.
And on a lesser scale, they’ve sent some wideouts, including Jordan Kent, Josh Huff, and Dillon Mitchell.
Unfortunately, for this year’s squad, they still don’t have a stand-out skill position player.
Bucky Irving’s close but still a leap year away. Irving’s a talented player but hasn’t shown the “it” just yet.
Noah Whittington’s also a solid addition in the backfield.
At receiver, Troy Franklin struggles to create separation against elite covermen. Franklin’s proven he can make catches in gridlock but doesn’t create consistent throwing lanes for Nix.
Chase Cota’s also proven an option.
The good news is, altogether, this group’s pretty dirty. They’ve scored more than 40-plus points in their last five contests, including 70 against Eastern Washington.
The skill position units are good enough to handle most teams in the Pac-12, but someone will need to be the guy against elite competition.
The Ducks still have everything ahead of them. Except for missing USC, Oregon’s schedule is heavily backloaded.
UO still has to face Oregon State, Utah, and Washington. But before that, they have a showdown in Eugene against UCLA with serious Pac-12 implications.
They also still need to travel to Berkeley and Boulder.
For Oregon, they should be singing their ye-haws for that win over WSU.
While a second loss likely knocks them out of CFP contention, they’d still be in the fight for the Pac-12.
But the Ducks only have one loss, so every matchup should prove vital.
A team that started off the year with a humiliating loss to the defending National Champions could be the first team to bring a National Championship to Eugene.
How do you like them apples?