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Oregon Football: Does Preseason Ranking Really Matter?

Chris AndersonCorrespondent IIIOctober 27, 2016

Oregon Football: Does Preseason Ranking Really Matter?

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    The AP preseason college football poll was recently released, giving many fans across the nation just a little bit more to hold them over until games start in just under two weeks. 

    Occupying the top five spots were the USC Trojans, Alabama Crimson Tide, LSU Tigers, Oklahoma Sooners and Oregon Ducks.

    While the poll will see drastic changes within the coming weeks, many fans have already begun the debate as to whether or not the AP voters got the poll right. 

    Whether or not the voters were right, however, will depend on every teams' final rankings at the end of the year. 

    One of the teams that many people are anticipating to have a stellar season are the Oregon Ducks. As mentioned above, the Ducks are ranked number five in the first preseason poll and have the firepower on offense and defense to make a run at a fourth straight Pac-10/12 title. 

    Though head coach Chip Kelly and the team have vehemently denied concerning themselves with rankings (especially those prior to the start of the season), there is no doubting the fact that many fans across the nation use these polls to demand a certain level of respect and hope for their teams coming season. 

    So, for those sensationalist fans who are looking for something else to hold themselves over until the start of the season, here is what you need to know about Oregon's AP preseason poll ranking. 

Argument for Being Too High

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    For every ranking there are those that say it is too high and those that say it is too low. 

    Those that say Oregon's ranking at No. 5 in the first AP Poll mainly look to the fact that LaMichael James and Darron Thomas are both gone.

    There is no doubting the fact that these two players were crucial to Oregon's recent success in college football. They effectively took Oregon from being a nice story to talk about to perennial college football powerhouse.

    Without these two, some may argue, Oregon will not be as good as they were in recent years. 

    While the Ducks do have returning stars such as De'Anthony Thomas, Kenjon Barner and Josh Huff, those that think Oregon should not be ranked too high don't see as much potential in an Oregon team that will have a fair amount of challenges within the Pac-12 this season. 

    Uncertainty at the quarterback and wide receiver positions aid the argument of these people who just don't see the firepower Oregon has had in recent years. 

Argument for Being Too Low

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    Those who see the Ducks as being too low in the AP poll rankings reference the returning stars on offense, big potential for their defense to be one of the best in school history, and the fact that the teams in front of them may be overrated. 

    Returners on offense such as De'Anthony Thomas and Kenjon Barner, some would argue, will maximize the production that Oregon has seen in recent years. No matter who turns out to be the quarterback, Duck fans all around the nation can feel rest assured that Thomas and Barner will be two of the most exciting players to watch on the offensive side of the ball. 

    Oregon's defense also looks to be one of the best units in school history. Led by anchors such as John Boyett, Michael Clay and Dion Jordan, the Duck defense is primed to put up some stellar numbers. 

    Fans who believe Oregon is ranked too low also point to the teams in front of them—Oklahoma and USC to be more precise.

    While USC did beat Oregon 38-35 at home, many reference that the second half of the game was dominated by an Oregon team that seemed to out-power the Trojans on both offense and defense. There is no denying the fact that USC will be very good this year with players such as Matt Barkley, Robert Woods and Marqise Lee, but to place them ahead of the three-time Pac-10/12 Champions is a little bit much; especially when you consider the fact USC was hit pretty hard by an Arizona State team the Ducks clobbered last season. 

Where Should the Ducks Stand?

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    Though there are good supporting arguments on whether the Ducks are ranked too high or too low, Oregon seems to be in the perfect spot for the team they have so far put together.

    There is no denying the fact that Oregon has a bevy of returning starters that will help to contribute to a very good season. These players will give Oregon the upper edge in many games and should create for an exciting atmosphere ever game the Ducks play.

    However, one cannot point to these players without also addressing the concerns surrounding a very good Oregon team, the main one being the quarterback competition that is evolving at the university. 

    While Bryan Bennett and Marcus Mariota have been hyped up to be the next great things to come out of Oregon, one cannot elevate the Ducks into the top three of the polls until one has witnessed the actual play of either Oregon quarterback in game action. 

    So, as for right now, the Ducks seem to be in the perfect spot. They are still an elite team but definitely have some things to prove before they are considered to be part of the top three teams in the nation. 

Does the Ranking Matter?

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    Oregon's famous mantra is "Win the Day."

    This is an essential phrase part of Chip Kelly's style of play and makes the team focus on each and every game as if every game was the BCS National Championship. 

    Going along with this mantra is the fact that Oregon never really concerns themselves with rankings. Sure, it may look good on paper and attract more people to watch your games, but it does not matter when you are slugging it out on the field. 

    Rankings, as Chip Kelly believes, only matter at the end of the season. 

    So, while many fans like to flex their "rankings muscles" from time to time, Oregon fans can feel rest assured that the Ducks will play their best no matter its ranking.

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