The 2018 spring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Oregon Ducks.
No. 24: Oregon Ducks
Spring Practice Starts: March 7
Spring Game: April 21
Oregon Ducks Spring Status
It was a strange season. When the Ducks got to play the easy teams, they won. When they played the tougher teams, they didn’t. When QB Justin Herbert was hurt, there was a problem. When he was healthy – at least until the bowl game – the O worked.
Willie Taggart was able to parlay the success into the Florida State gig, and in stepped Mario Cristobal after the players lobbied for him – and the team clunked in the Las Vegas Bowl loss to Boise State.
Now it’s up to Cristobal to take the Ducks to another level with the talent in place to quickly rise up and be a true factor again in the Pac-12 North.
RB Royce Freeman and OT Tyrell Crosby are done, but the offense is loaded with talent, starting with Herbert. There’s no excuse to not be more consistent and even more explosive.
The defensive side has just enough losses to be annoying. Five starters have to be replaced, but other than safety Tyree Robinson and corner Arrion Springs, there aren’t many concerns.
Oregon Biggest Depth Chart Battle
Wide receiver. The situation isn’t bad, but the Ducks need to be better – they need more playmakers. Dillon Mitchell was fine, but he led the team with just 42 catches for 517 yards and four scores. Four of the top five pass catchers are back, but there’s a fight among several young options for spots.
Oregon Biggest Issue
Penalties … and punting. The Ducks had a rough year from now-sophomore Adam Stack, averaging just 38.4 yards per punt, but that was nothing compared to the penalty problem. Oregon was last in the nation, getting flagged a whopping 122 times with 35 in the last three games. On the year, they were hit with double-digit transgressions eight times – they’re not good enough to lose that many yards.
Oregon Biggest Positive
Quarterback. It’s a great situation, starting with Herbert – who threw for almost 2,000 yards with 15 touchdown passes and just five picks in just eight games – and with a nice backup in Braxton Burmeister. Okay, so Burmeister struggled when he was in – throwing six picks – but at least the Ducks have a good insurance policy.
Really, Why Are The Oregon Ducks Ranked Here?
It’s an interesting team in a season that could go either way. Are the Ducks able to start beating good teams again, or are they going to be just talented enough to go bowling, and be occasionally dangerous, and then watch Washington take the North? The experience is there, but there are a whole lot of question marks.