Ducks prominently featured in USA TODAY’s Misery Index following loss to Georgia

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Miserable is probably a pretty good way to describe how the Oregon Ducks football fan base is feeling on Sunday. After the anticipation an enthralling offseason built over the last nine months, the air was let out of the balloon on Saturday afternoon.

No longer was there excitement about Dan Lanning and the new coaching staff. Impressive 2022 and 2023 recruiting classes couldn’t ease the pain of getting shellacked by the defending national champions, 49-3. It’s back to the drawing board for the Ducks, who likely entered the game knowing they weren’t as good as the team lining up across from them, but were completely unaware how big that gap really is.

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After every college football weekend, USA TODAY puts out a misery index to identify which fan bases are down bad. While the No. 1 contender is former Oregon coach Scott Frost and the Nebraska Cornhuskers — oof — the Ducks are No. 2:

Ever since the shocking news that Southern Cal and UCLA are going to the Big Ten, the Ducks have been adrift. Are they stuck in a diminished Pac-12 forever? Does Phil Knight, the Nike co-founder and main Oregon benefactor, have enough juice to get the Ducks into a better conference? And where does the first-year football coach Dan Lanning fit into all this as he tries to recruit well enough to life Oregon from good to great? With all of these major questions surrounding the future of the program, it wasn’t an ideal time to take on the Georgia machine. Oregon couldn’t exactly back out of a game that paid the school a $4.5 million appearance fee, but maybe they wish they could have after a 49-3 beat down that exposed how big the talent gap really is with the best in the country. It doesn’t matter what conference you play in — if that’s the best you can do against a team like Georgia, a national championship is a long way off.

Dreams of Oregon contending for a spot in the College Football Playoff during Lanning’s first season in Eugene weren’t based in reality, and expectations that the Ducks could upset the Bulldogs were far-fetched, at best. However, nobody thought that Oregon would be this mismatched against a team ranked only eight spots ahead of them in the preseason polls.

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For Duck fans, realizing Oregon may not be even close to as good as they thought is a pretty miserable feeling.

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Story originally appeared on Ducks Wire