Bo Nix is Back. The star quarterback of the Oregon Ducks announced this past weekend that he would return to Eugene for his final year of eligibility. Nix led the Ducks to a 9-3 season where he accounted for nearly 3,400 yards passing, 504 rushing yards, and 42 total touchdowns. The announcement surprised many after the signal caller’s excellent season and potential to be a draft pick in this spring’s NFL Draft.
While the stats suggest the impact, Nix returning to Eugene is monumental for many reasons but makes one thing undoubtedly clear, the Ducks will once again be one of the favorites for a Pac-12 Championship and potentially a berth in the College Football Playoff.
It’s not outlandish to suggest that if Nix hadn’t been banged up in the closing minutes of Oregon’s upset loss to Washington, the Ducks could have eventually punched a ticket to the College Football Playoff. Before the injury, which hampered Nix throughout the rest of the regular season, an argument could have been made that Oregon was playing like one of the best four teams in the country.
But as we know, that didn’t happen. The Ducks had a bumpy landing in the regular season, losing two of their final three games in the regular season. It left a sour taste around the program and left fans wanting more.
Well now, Oregon fans will get more. And in this era of college football, continuity between coach and quarterback is becoming exceedingly rare from one season to the next, so Nix’s return truly cannot be overstated. We saw what happened in year one with Nix and head coach Dan Lanning, expect more fireworks next season in Eugene as well. Additionally, the Pac-12 has all the makings of a deep and talented conference next season.
USC will return Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams making them the beasts to slay. But it’s not just USC that will be strong. Washington is also returning a talented signal caller in Michael Penix Jr., Utah is the back-to-back conference champion, and even Oregon State will have a lot of buzz coming off a 10-win season.
If nothing else, Oregon getting Nix back is just keeping up with the arm’s race that is suddenly Pac-12 football. While the Ducks welcome their quarterback back, they will hand the offensive play-calling duties over to a new coordinator. After the departure of Ducks offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham, who took the head coaching job at Arizona State, Oregon pulled the trigger on the hiring of another young and dynamic offensive mind, Will Stein, who comes in from UTSA.
Only Nix knows the actual reason behind his decision to stay in Eugene for one more season, but the impacts will be felt much broader than just UO. The quarterback’s decision makes Oregon a frontrunner in the conference and gives the Ducks every chance to compete for that elusive national title that still eludes the program that has accomplished nearly everything else the sport has to offer.