Small quick players and gimmick offenses may work in the Pac-10 and throughout the regular season, but they do not seem to work on the national stage when the lights are brightest.
When the Auburn Tigers defeated the Oregon Ducks for the BCS National Championship, Oregon fans may have realized something terrible: their beloved Ducks are becoming the new Ohio State.
Just a few years ago everyone was mocking the Buckeyes who were always dominant in the regular season, but could not finish the job as they lost three straight BCS Bowls; well, the Ducks have lost two straight BCS games and have not looked like themselves in either one.
There are multiple factors that fans can point to as reasons for the Ducks’ struggles.
The Ducks offense relies on speed and tiring out opponents. Some have argued that the extended commercial breaks during major games hurt the Ducks because the defenses get to rest.
Others feel that Chip Kelly may outcoach himself. Kelly is an offensive genius who can come up with a way to beat almost any defensive scheme. However, in BCS games the teams get multiple weeks to prepare for a single game and too much time may be a bad thing for Kelly. Critics have said that Kelly often gets “too cute” and thinks too much rather than just sticking with what works.
Whether it is the commercials, size of players, or simply lack of execution, the Ducks need to correct their mistakes soon.
Oregon has the talent and the depth to be in BCS bowl games the next few years, but it will only take one or two more losses for the Ducks to become known as the team that fails to show up on the biggest stages.
Thanks to the facilities, uniforms, and partnership with Nike, Oregon has become a trendy school for elite high school athletes on the west coast. There are plenty of reasons for an athlete to want to play football at Oregon, but if Chip Kelly and the Ducks continue to come up short in the big games, the Ducks will lose some of their appeal.