by DSH contributing writer Eric Sloat
Last season ended with a sigh of relief, National Signing Day delivered some news, but overall was underwhelming. There were big questions about head coach, Mark Helfrich, and now, new DC, Don Pellum is under the microscope as he sets to energize the defense. A lot of questions are around to fill up the space until the games start, but generally, nobody is forecasting doom. A big deal is being made of the game against Michigan State, where a win or loss will decide the trajectory next season will take.
But, according to this ESPN Insider, there is no doubt what Oregon football will be in 2014:
Oregon still has supporters at the betting window, but the Ducks are no longer a contender. This coaching staff is unlikely ever to win even a division crown, and our bet is that this team ends the season unranked. The Pac-12 North is still the stronger division, but Stanford and Washington will be the league's top powers for the next few years and the biggest challenge from the Pac-12 South may eventually come from Arizona. The whole league is improving rapidly, and Oregon won't be regaining its dominant status any time soon.
Quacked up: The Duck on the sideline in his "Are you kiddin' me?" pose (Ron Chenoy, USA Today Sports images) One ESPN insider says the Duckade of Dominance is over.
According to Will Harris, the Ducks are dead, destined for 3rd place in the North, behind Stanford and Washington, and out of the Top 25 by season’s end. Fans around here weren’t thrilled about the Alamo Bowl , how about the Kraft Hunger Bowl, to wrap up next season? The way too early lists have Oregon in the top 5. Mariota is back to lead the offense. Stanford loses quality players on both sides, Washington loses its starting quarterback, tight end, running back, and has to adjust to a new coach, but Will Harris sees much brighter seasons for them than he does for Oregon. What kind of tally sheet adds up to such a conclusion?