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FishDuck Article

Believe it, Duck Fans: USC Is for Real

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Two years ago, after the Ducks blew out USC in the Coliseum, I wrote an article warning Oregon fans to enjoy it while they could, because, at some point in the near future, the Trojans would correct course and once again become dominant. At the time I wrote that, it was widely expected that Clay Helton would be fired after ...

 

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I still need to see him have a defense before I will be bought in on them being the best of the West.

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Offense wins championships now.

 

@Darren Perkins thank you for discussing this topic and mentioning how USC becomes a BIG hurdle for Oregon success. I’ve yet to hear an argument that convinces me that a powerful USC is good for the Ducks . . . it’s just not.

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My skepticism comes from one statistic which both Riley and Lanning will have to address if each program is to rise to the championship level. Oregon ranked 111th and USC ranked 126th in penalties yardage last season. Georgia ranked #21 while playing big boy football. Riley's team ranked 77th.

 

Interestingly Alabama ranked pretty high last season and lost the title to Georgia which had a more disciplined program. I think this will be an interesting stat to watch to see if Riley can gain control of a program that has had a pretty high talent level for many years. The problem has been the discipline and execution of plays. It has also been developing a team of players rather than just a group of amazing players. This is going to be job one of Riley at sc. It twill also be an important job for Lanning. Who will turn these programs around first. 

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USC is improving.......but.......to date during the Riley era they have yet to land a lineman on either front that would be considered elite. Next year all this talk of their dominance is nonsense. They will be substantially improved and probably will not be losing to the likes of Oregon State much. 

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Riley is the most overhyped coach in the history of college football.  He was a big fish in the small pond called the Southwest Conference.  0-3 in playoff games.  If not for the LA media market and the AD's goofball introductory press conference remarks, this would just be another hire.

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Yes the Ducks are working feverishly to compete with an SC team firing on all cylinders. But “not so fast” on the conclusion that SC is running on all cylinders just bc of its HC hire. There are other cylinders that are misfiring and in need of a tuneup and possibly an overhaul. 
 

Let’s see how the test drive goes this fall.

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Hate to keep beating the same drum but USC is going to be a tough out. Careful what you wish for. The Trojans will only make Oregon’s path harder to achieve. Oregon winning a natty is the goal. 

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I can’t help but think how we would have responded if Riley had been hired as the new Duck coach. 

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On 2/8/2022 at 5:48 AM, cartm25 said:

I’ve yet to hear an argument that convinces me that a powerful USC is good for the Ducks . . . it’s just not.

My argument would be that for now, what's good for the conference is good for Oregon. USC being good again doesn't mean that Oregon can't be good, or great, at the same time. In fact, I think it helps both. We may not like it, but while Alabama wins the titles, the SEC is full of good teams, and only play an 8 game schedule.

 

The Pac-12 of course plays 9, making it even more important that the schedule be competitive. It's hard enough for Oregon to get consideration for the Playoff without it looking like their schedule is full of cupcakes. Oregon will benefit greatly if they win the North and face 10-2, 11-1 USC, in the championship game. 

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The crowning of the King is what leaves a bad taste.  The Emperor's record at Okie was exceptional. But an honest look and you can punch holes in his success.  Will $C be really good again? For sure. Have they earned the crown yet? 

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Having a stronger conference in the eyes outside of the conference matters.  Everybody mentions SEC being the toughest conference and send the most kids to the NFL.  I'd say B1G TEN is next in line and for the last few years Big 12 is next. 

 

If USC, Utah and Oregon can be consistent top 15 teams, that helps with the eye test.  Maybe, Pac 12 would no longer be left out if they had a conference loss.

 

Having a strong USC and Utah does make it harder for Oregon to continually win the Pac 12, but it helps the conference not look like a 1 team conference.

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I think USC under Riley will be much tougher than a lot of folks on here do.  Not necessarily next year, because there are still a lot of holes in the talent there - but soon.

 

At the same time, if Oregon can't beat USC in a Pac-12 title game, why would anyone think that same Oregon team could beat Clemson, Ohio State, Georgia, Alabama, Michigan, Notre Dame, or any other playoff teams that year?  

 

We'll either be good enough to beat SC and then compete on a level playing field with the other playoff teams, or not good enough to beat SC, which means we also would have lost quickly (and probably badly) even if we had reached the playoffs.

 

Simple as that.

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Competing for a championship requires some luck. Injuries, and schedule can dictate a lot in any given year. However, I fully believe that a strong USC is good for the PAC 12 and Oregon. Doesn’t mean they are invincible.
 

We will go head to head with USC recruiting players and on the football field. Will they win every encounter…absolutely not. 
 

If we play for a championship then we might as well beat USC along the way. 

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SPOT ON!

 

3 Playoff appearances. Other Pac-12 coaches - 0 playoff appearances. A Blue Blood as so you so note Darren, has awakened. The wallet has been opened.

 

'But he coached blue bloods at Oklahoma!' Who was the man in charge who recruited these blue bloods and convinced Heisman winners to transfer to the Sooners? Lincoln Riley. Who implemented the O that led to all of the playoff appearances? Riley. In 2021, adding the recruits to the transfers from the portal, the Trojans would rank 9 in recruiting.

 

'He hasn't won a playoff game!' In 8 seasons the Pac-12 conference has won 1 such game. In the Rose Bowl Riley took UGA into 2 OTs before losing to a team that lost to Bama in OT in the champ game on a late Tua heave. 

 

Riley has brought in the top RBs from Stanford and Oregon. He has added an excellent group of WRs. His 2023 commits are all top drawer players. The SC D has a long way to go. But with the guys he has on O,  including QB Caleb Williams, and a decent OL, SC is going to put up a lot of points in 2022. SC will make a lot of noise in a down conference.

 

I agree that 10 wins for the Trojans in 2022 is doable and if he does not win the south in 2022, look out for 2023 when Utah plays in LA. CU, ASU, Arizona and UCLA (8 wins in 2021 but 0 wins against teams with a winning record) will have rosters nowhere near what Riley will bring to the field of play.  Riley is not breaking in an entirely new set of assistant coaches. Many of his guys from Oklahoma followed him to LA. 

 

With 1 hire SC is cool again. So correct you are Darren in noting that top California HS guys will no longer routinely be leaving the conference footprint for the SEC and the B1G and Clemson. And sad to say, Oregon.

 

And you know what? This could not be better for Oregon and for a conference that is on life support. This could not be better for the upcoming round of new media negotiations. The conference needs a 'player' in Los Angeles and UCLA with a stadium miles from campus and lukewarm administrative support and fan support is not the school that is going to come through in LA.

 

Thanks for the great article. Clay is gone and the 'life of Riley' is going to make a huge difference in LA.

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On 2/8/2022 at 7:27 AM, Duck 1972 said:

I still need to see him have a defense before I will be bought in on them being the best of the West.

Wait 1 to 2 years and you will see it. It's not like he has to have UGA's 2021 D to win games in the Pac-12.

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On 2/8/2022 at 9:20 AM, Haywarduck said:

My skepticism comes from one statistic which both Riley and Lanning will have to address if each program is to rise to the championship level. Oregon ranked 111th and USC ranked 126th in penalties yardage last season. Georgia ranked #21 while playing big boy football. Riley's team ranked 77th.

 

Interestingly Alabama ranked pretty high last season and lost the title to Georgia which had a more disciplined program. I think this will be an interesting stat to watch to see if Riley can gain control of a program that has had a pretty high talent level for many years. The problem has been the discipline and execution of plays. It has also been developing a team of players rather than just a group of amazing players. This is going to be job one of Riley at sc. It twill also be an important job for Lanning. Who will turn these programs around first. 

 

That was under Clay Helton who instilled NO discipline in his Trojans teams. It's rotten apples compared to fresh oranges.

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On 2/8/2022 at 7:42 AM, LB48 said:

I can’t help but think how we would have responded if Riley had been hired as the new Duck coach. 

We would of been ecstatic plus we would of had a Heisman candidate at Quarterback that already knew the offense.

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On 2/8/2022 at 10:55 AM, 30Duck said:

My argument would be that for now, what's good for the conference is good for Oregon. USC being good again doesn't mean that Oregon can't be good, or great, at the same time. In fact, I think it helps both. We may not like it, but while Alabama wins the titles, the SEC is full of good teams, and only play an 8 game schedule.

 

The Pac-12 of course plays 9, making it even more important that the schedule be competitive. It's hard enough for Oregon to get consideration for the Playoff without it looking like their schedule is full of cupcakes. Oregon will benefit greatly if they win the North and face 10-2, 11-1 USC, in the championship game. 

The conference, IMO, by 2024 latest will get rid of divisions, lose the Cali scheduling agreement and play 8 conference games. I also think the B1G will drop divisions and go to 8 conference games which will help facilitate B1G/Pac-12 OOC games.

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On 2/8/2022 at 11:18 AM, Kurt Rambis said:

I think USC under Riley will be much tougher than a lot of folks on here do.  Not necessarily next year, because there are still a lot of holes in the talent there - but soon.

 

At the same time, if Oregon can't beat USC in a Pac-12 title game, why would anyone think that same Oregon team could beat Clemson, Ohio State, Georgia, Alabama, Michigan, Notre Dame, or any other playoff teams that year?  

 

We'll either be good enough to beat SC and then compete on a level playing field with the other playoff teams, or not good enough to beat SC, which means we also would have lost quickly (and probably badly) even if we had reached the playoffs.

 

Simple as that.

Great take Kurt. Yes Riley is 0-3 in the playoff. But other than year 1 of the playoff only teams from the SE, Clemson and 3 SEC teams, have won a playoff title. Michigan had a very good team this season that UGA smothered. Notre Dame hasn't come close to winning a semi-final game. 

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Duck fans are giddy about Lanning who's never been an HC? I see no reason why USC won't be the fav pick to win the P12 in

 

2023. Heck I'd go as far to say that if the pieces fall right it's USC out of the south and maybe Oregon in the north this year.

 

Oregon was one game away from not making the P12 Champ game last year. 

 

Strange things always happen in the P12.

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You guys are almost making me excited that the PAC will rise again.

That excitement sure beats the Eeyore point of view that has reigned for much too long.

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On 2/8/2022 at 11:53 AM, GODUCKS15 said:

Duck fans are giddy about Lanning who's never been an HC? I see no reason why USC won't be the fav pick to win the P12 in

 

2023. Heck I'd go as far to say that if the pieces fall right it's USC out of the south and maybe Oregon in the north this year.

 

Oregon was one game away from not making the P12 Champ game last year. 

 

Strange things always happen in the P12.

2022 - I think it comes down to SC at Utah and Utah at Oregon as the 2 games that will decide the south and possibly the north? I for one do not underestimate SC's potential ability to outscore every Pac-12 team on its schedule, other than perhaps, Utah.

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On 2/8/2022 at 4:27 AM, Duck 1972 said:

I still need to see him have a defense before I will be bought in on them being the best of the West.

Defense will be their question mark, but a strong argument could be made that over the past 5 years, going west from the Texas/Oklahoma region to the Pacific ocean, that the Sooners have been the best out west. 

 

So, my thinking is, if he can do at Oklahoma,  I believe he can do it at USC (with most likely more talent). Oregon is the top program that can stop them. Should be exciting.  

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On 2/8/2022 at 5:48 AM, cartm25 said:

Offense wins championships now.

 

@Darren Perkins thank you for discussing this topic and mentioning how USC becomes a BIG hurdle for Oregon success. I’ve yet to hear an argument that convinces me that a powerful USC is good for the Ducks . . . it’s just not.

 

Thanks. I hear ya, the pros are that a good USC elevates the conference and the reveunue, the con is it make the life of Oregon a lot more difficult. 

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