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Depending on whom you ask, expectations for the Oregon Ducks’ 2022 football season vary quite a bit.
If you were to ask a fan who has been dialed into the spring football season and watching as new head coach Dan Lanning racks up highly rated recruits, the feeling is that the Ducks should get back to the top of the mountain out west and contend for a Pac-12 championship this coming season.
However, national pundits may be a bit cooler on the Ducks, waiting first to see how Lanning — a first-year head coach — acquits himself and is able to handle the pressure of calling the shots. That’s not to say that there are swaths of people predicting that Oregon will be bad in 2022, but they may not be as bullish on the Ducks as the Eugene faithful.
You can count the ESPN Football Power Index in the latter group.
The FPI measures a team’s true strength on a net point scale; expected point margin vs. opponent on a neutral field, while giving a percent chance to go undefeated, win the Pac-12, make the CFP, and ultimately win the national championship.
Here is how the FPI predicts Oregon’s season will play out:
Preseason Ranking: No. 23
Zachary Neel | USA Today Sports
FPI Rating: 10.2
The Ducks are the second-highest rated Pac-12 team. The Utah Utes come in at No. 15 in the ranking (FPI:12.7.) They are behind the North Carolina Tar Heels and ahead of the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
Projected Record: 8.6-4.1
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I would bet a majority of Oregon fans would tell you an 8-4 finish to the 2022 season would feel like a disappointment. My current thought is 9-3 would be a success, with potential losses vs. Georgia, BYU and Utah. ESPN projects one more loss on the schedule.
Chances of going undefeated: 0.1%
Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
Taking a quick look at the schedule, it seems more likely than not that the Oregon Ducks will not be undefeated after the first week of the season. That’s no knock on the current team and coaching staff, but rather an acknowledgement that playing the defending champion Georgia Bulldogs on a “neutral site” in Atlanta is going to be an uphill battle.
Chances to win the Pac-12 North: 65.0%
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The Ducks are certainly in the more favorable half of the Pac-12, only contending with Washington, Oregon State, Washington State, California, and Stanford in the north. Should the season go how we expect it to, Oregon should certainly make it to the Pac-12 championship game.
Chances to win the Pac-12: 33.3%
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Winning the Pac-12 championship game, on the other hand, is going to be a much bigger ask. It seems more likely than not that Oregon would face either Utah or USC down in the conference championship game in Las Vegas, and neither of those teams will roll over easily.
Chances to make the College Football Playoff: 0.8%
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
This is where some realism needs to be practiced by Oregon fans. Yes, under Dan Lanning, the Ducks certainly can make it back to the playoffs. I don’t think it will be this season. Neither does ESPN.
Chances to make the National Championship Game: 0.1%
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Can’t make the championship if you don’t make the playoff. Neither is likely to happen.
Chances to win the National Championship: 0.0%
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
There will not be confetti for the Ducks this season, per the Football Power Index. A 0.0% chance says all you need to know.