Last summer, USC and UCLA announced their planned exit from the Pac-12 conference to join the Big Ten. They are not the only ones. On Friday, the Washington Huskies and the Oregon Ducks informed the Pac-12 president that they accepted an offer from the Big Ten.
The Big Ten is now a conference with eighteen teams. This makes it the largest conference in football history. If the conference adds more teams, it will be hard to justify calling it the Big Ten.
Given that the Oregon Ducks have been a member of the Pac-12 since 1915, this is quite a historic move. Of course, this move will have Oregon Ducks fans questioning how this school will measure up as a member of the Big Ten conference. We will examine that more in this piece.
When you think of the Big Ten, you think of schools such as Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, and Michigan St. Based on how Oregon measures up statistically, Ducks fans should have no reasons to believe that Oregon will not measure up to their new division rivals.
Last year, the Oregon Ducks were 17th in the FBS in passing yards per game. By comparison, Ohio State was ranked 14th. Yet, the Oregon Duck’s passing offense outpaced the Big Ten West Champion Purdue Boilermakers. Purdue was ranked 21st. Maryland was ranked 40th in the FBS in passing yards per game, while Penn State is ranked 46th. In terms of passing offense, they would be in the upper echelon of the conference.
Regarding rushing offense, the Oregon Ducks would also be in the upper echelon of the Big Ten conference. With regards to the running game, it is no secret that Michigan’s running game primarily fueled their offense and led them to the top of the Big Ten. They were ranked 5th in the FBS.
Last year, the Oregon Ducks were ranked 12th in the FBS in rushing yards per game at 215.8. This outpaced the rushing offenses of Ohio State and Penn State. Ohio State was ranked 32nd, while Penn State was ranked 45th in the FBS.
Because the Oregon Ducks are a dual threat on the offensive end, it is no secret that they had one of the top offenses in the nation. Oregon was 6th in the FBS in total offense at 500.5 yards per game. Over the past 10+ years, the Oregon Ducks’ offense has defined this football team. It’s been why they have come within striking distance of winning the national championship multiple times in recent years. There is no doubt that they will be able to hold their own in the Big Ten on the offensive end.
Another reason that the Oregon Ducks stand to succeed in this conference is that they have an excellent non-conference record against the Big Ten historically. The Oregon Ducks have a 13-8 record overall against the Big Ten in school history. As a matter of fact, the school’s last win over the Big Ten was a 35-28 win over the Ohio State Buckeyes in 2021.
Another reason for optimism about the Oregon Ducks in the Big Ten could be that the team will definitely be placed in the Big Ten West due to their geographic locale. I do not doubt that Oregon can hold its own with teams in the Big Ten West. I believe that Oregon could go straight to the top of the Big Ten West very quickly.
It is no secret to avid fans of the Big Ten that there is a major divergence between the Big Ten East and Big Ten West regarding quality. The Big Ten West has not measured up to the Big Ten East overall. Michigan’s 43-22 win over Purdue in the Big Ten Championship last year was a continuation of the dominance of the Big Ten East over the Big Ten West. Ever since the Big Ten was realigned in 2014, Big Ten East teams have won every single Big Ten Championship game over the Big Ten West.
The Big Ten did not accidentally go after Pac-12 teams such as Oregon. I believe Oregon and the other Pac-12 teams will significantly boost the Big Ten West. This will increase the competitiveness of the Big Ten West vs. the Big Ten East. Ultimately, Oregon could help improve its competitiveness in the Big Ten conference.
The Oregon Ducks don’t need to worry; they will be just fine in the Big Ten.