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Oregon Ducks Have Re-Joined College Football’s Mortal Majority with Conference Title as Newest Goal

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

 

When Chip Kelly took over the Oregon Ducks program in 2009, something special happened. It didn’t look like it in Week 1 when the team laid a nationally televised egg on the road against Boise State, but a new era had begun—an era that came to a crashing end on Saturday in a 62-20 loss to the then-ranked No. 18 Utah Utes.

With Oregon now unranked for the first time since 2009 and outside the College Football Playoffs picture, it’s time to accept that this program is no longer going to strike fear in the hearts of opponents the way it has the last six seasons. It’s time to accept that this will not be the year the Ducks win their first National Championship Trophy.

It’s time to accept that it’s the end of an era, but not the end of a season.

For the Ducks, success no longer means competing in January. That Alabama-Oregon contest everyone has wanted to see? That will only happen if the two programs underachieve together and land in a bowl that neither truly wants to play in based on preseason expectations.

Oregon is now where most other programs are: preparing to compete for a division title with the hopes that a conference championship is on the horizon.

At this point in the process, Oregon has yet to face off against a single Pac-12 North opponent. Stanford has looked both good and awful at different times this year, but there won’t be much outside the Cardinal when it comes to Oregon competing for the division and finding itself in the conference title game.

That’s not a bad place to be for any team in the country. It’s not where the Ducks are used to sitting, but the truth is that being ranked 27th, while still outside the ever-sought-after Top 25, is still a strong place to be when it comes to winning on a second-tier scale.

In today’s day and age of social media and hot takes, you’d think the world is coming to an end in Eugene. This program has a lot of questions to answer, but there’s plenty of football to play with a conference championship still very much on the line.

If the Ducks can put together a strong showing the rest of the year, you’re looking at a group that could realistically win its second-straight Pac-12 title.

Revenge for this squad is no longer taking down the Ohio State Buckeyes in the national championship. But you know what just might be motivation enough for this squad to keep fighting? A revenge contest in the Pac-12 title game against a team that has looked like the best group in the south division up to this point.

A team that took down the Ducks at Autzen on Saturday in historic fashion.

There’s plenty to play for if you’re the Ducks entering Week 5. It’s time for everyone to recognize that, as this group can’t quit just because it’s no longer in the minority of true contenders.

GoLocalPDX partner Oregon Sports News: Since 2011, Oregon Sports News has provided entertaining, hard-hitting local sports news & commentary every weekday. To read more from this author, check out Oregon Sports News by clicking here.

 

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