ESPN published their big predictions for every Power 5 conference in college football this season and when it came to the Pac-12, it definitely had some interesting takes.
In the “Three bold predictions for the Pac-12” portion of the article, writer Mark Schlabach said USC would miss out on a New Year’s 6 bowl, UCLA would begin the season 5-0, and then had this to say about the Ducks:
Oregon’s Dan Lanning is the best first-year coach: Lanning helped Georgia end its 41-year national title drought as its defensive coordinator. He’s a first-time head coach, and the Ducks will have some early hiccups against the Bulldogs in Atlanta on Sept. 3 and at Washington State three weeks later. After a 2-2 start, the Ducks will get it rolling to finish 8-4. Auburn transfer Bo Nix is going to send Oregon fans on another roller-coaster ride, but Oregon’s defense and its veteran and talented offensive line will carry the load.
If the Ducks go 8-4 which features a loss at Washington State, we’re fairly sure that won’t constitute a successful season in Eugene. Lanning didn’t walk into a program that’s rebuilding. Instead, he came here to take Oregon to the next level. Lanning, the Duck players, and their fans aren’t going to be thrilled with a mid-tier bowl game in 2022.
Luckily, we all get to find out how right or wrong we are about how things will shake out in just under a week.