Rose Bowl or Las Vegas Bowl: What’s in Oregon’s Future?

Ted Miller posted his best case-worst case for Oregon yesterday — and despite the scary thought of a worst case five loss season, Miller was spot on.

It all comes down to quarterback play for the Ducks this season. Is Costa the man?

The ESPN blogger imaginatively looked into his crystal ball crafting an “anecdotal review from the future” of Oregon’s 2010 season. His two scenarios shouldn’t come as a surprise to Duck fans. Basically, Miller writes, Oregon will get great play from the quarterback position — leadership and accuracy from Nate Costa and explosiveness from Darron Thomas — and return to the Rose Bowl, or the duo will crumble under the lofty expectations, clash egos in a struggle to become the alpha dog and end the season with a loss to Utah in the Las Vegas Bowl.

The best case season ends as such, “The Ducks bludgeon Boise State 42-14 in the Rose Bowl and split the national title with Ohio State.”

The worst case: “Phil Knight converts to Buddhism, gives his fortune to the United Way and moves to Tibet. Chip Kelly goes with him. Tyrone Willingham comes out of retirement to become the Ducks head coach.”

I think you get the idea — these are obviously the extremes.

The good news is — and this is looking at this as objectively as possible (well, for me) — is that the best case scenario is much more likely than the worst (mostly because I’ve heard Uncle Phil hates Buddhism. Kidding, of course).

Chip Kelly has a well-earned reputation as an excellent offensive strategist who gets the most out of his players. Dennis Dixon came into his own in Kelly’s first year, Justin Roper led the Ducks to a 56-point explosion in the Sun Bowl, and Jeremiah Masoli went from a fifth string JC transfer to the best player on the best team in the Pac-10.

That said, I don’t buy into the thinking that Costa or DT will effectively replace Masoli right away. Sure, it could happen, and if it did Oregon has the surrounding pieces in place for a potentially great run – in line with Miller’s best case. Realistically, I expect a season similar to 2008, with better defense. That means a few losses that will come directly at the hands of the lack of quarterbacking experience.

As it stands right now, without getting into too much detail (which I will later), my guess is that the Ducks go 10-2 and once again sneak past OSU into the Rose Bowl.


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