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Matt's Monday Morning Musings, Week four: Duck Yeah!

Each week, our Executive Director, Matthew Redding (5’11, 185, 4.78 40-yard dash, $4.99 on Wish, 5.49 on TEMU) sits down with a cup of coffee and ponders life in the world of College Football and beyond. Ask him anything on Twitter (@TheBarningMan) and he may answer it next week over his breakfast. This week, he’s thinking about the chances of Bo Nix and Oregon crashing the Pac-12 and winning it all this year...

"Bo Nix will win a championship" - Former Auburn head coach Gus Malzhan.

While Gus may be right on the money when he said that, he was probably thinking of him winning one at Auburn, not at Oregon where Nix is currently dropping dimes on his way to New York. After a promising freshman campaign on the Plains in 2019, which included wins over Oregon and Alabama, there was hope that Auburn had found its next quarterback to lead them to the promised land.

Then came Chad Morris. Then went Gus. Then came Bryan Harsin. One offensive scheme after another, a maddening offensive line that couldn't block an Instagram follower if they tried, and a lack of weapons that could create separation eventually led to Nix deciding that his time as a Tiger was hindering his career, despite his dreams of winning a championship at Auburn. The potato gang ran him off, and he took the exit to begin again somewhere where all his talent could finally flow free, and he could stay focused. Have fun. Be a dark horse for the Heisman.

So he went to Oregon.

Kenny Dillingham was his QB coach at Auburn when he won SEC freshman of the year, so he went to Eugene to try and create some of that freshman magic. The way Nix is playing now, no magic is needed, after unleashing his ability to the tune of over 3,500 yards through the air and 29 touchdowns, everything he was promised to be on the Plains is now in full form, but in a green and yellow uniform instead of blue and orange, unfortunately.

But who can blame him? Behind THAT offensive line, allowing 0 sacks so far, and a future first-rounder in Troy Franklin to throw to, I can't help but be glad for the former five-star. Currently, his TD to INT ratio is 11-1, and he's already cracked the 1,000 yard mark for the year and we're only a third of the way through the season. At Auburn, the QB doesn't usually make 1,000 yards until game 8.

He will win a championship alright, but it won't be at Auburn.

And if they do win it all, it won't be because of Bo Nix. I know, I just heaped praises for the young man's play, but he's proven he can ball out before. He may be the one slinging the ole pigskin, but if Oregon makes it to the big game, then more credit should go to his recruiter and head coach, Dan Lanning.

The former right hand man to Kirby Smart may not have been the sexiest hire when the Ducks brought him on in 2022, but man does it look like the move of the century for a program that was in head coaching purgatory. After the firing of Mark Helfrich in 2016, then bringing Willie Taggert in for a brief stop on his way to Florida State, they then thought they had their man in Mario Cristobal from 2018 to 2021, but then Miami suddenly came calling.

Heck, it got to the point that Chip Kelly was a hot name for some Oregon faithful, the ones who remembered the days of running up the scoreboard under his offensive scheming, but the administration went for a bit of Southern flair with the next hire and kept it simple with the hot defensive coordinator who just won a national title for Georgia.

There were skeptics, even more so when Lanning was torched by his old boss in the 2022 opener. Now? Oregon is once again in the thick of every recruiting race, and Lanning has designed a unit that ranks 2nd in total offense and 11th in total defense. With a recruiting class that ranks 12th (via 247), the momentum isn't slowing down anytime soon.

His team looks locked in, and if what he did to the red-hot Buffaloes (by stifling the nations 5th ranked QB Sheduer Sanders to just 6 measly points) is any indication, every team with the Ducks on their schedule should be nervous. After all, he said it best. "They're playing for clicks. We're playing for wins."

October 14th, when Oregon travels to Washington for what should be a battle of Heisman hopeful quarterbacks, will tell us more than the 19th ranked Travis Hunter-less Colorado Buffs could about how ready Dan's squad is for the big game. Then, go ahead and circle November 11th for when Caleb Williams and Co. come to Eugene for what should be a preview for the Pac-12 championship.

It's time the media paid more attention to what's happening out West, because at this pace, Bo Nix is going to win a championship.

Just as Gus predicted, way back in 2019.

Matt's Monday Morning Mailbag -

"Who got exposed as the bigger fraud, Ohio State or Notre Dame?" - Brooke

OSU running back Trey'veon Henderson runs in for the score

The matchup that was on everyone's minds when Oregon vs Colorado ended was the battle of top 10 teams Notre Dame vs Ohio State. Both had star talent on the field. Both had talented young coaches calling the shots. Both thought they had this game in the bag at one point or another. Both have the Playoffs in their sight.

Both looked painfully mediocre.

No, it wasn't a tough, defensive game (both offenses managed to painfully rack up over 300 yards each). This is the same Notre Dame team that let North Carolina State hang around until the fourth quarter, and Kyle McCord, who has NFL talents like Marvin Harrison Jr and Emeka Egbuka to throw to, has looked dreadful thus far. I was hoping for answers on both of these teams and boy did I get some.

Put pressure on McCord, you beat Ohio State. Put pressure on Hartman's targets, you beat the Irish. Force them to run the ball, which both did effectively, but there is a danger to suddenly becoming one-dimensional against stronger opponents. If Marcus Freeman didn't get cute in the final seconds, he would've won. Both teams struggled to get into the endzone, and there was only 1 passing touchdown. It's only 17-10 and not 14-10 because Ohio State found paydirt with 3 seconds left.

Notre Dame must now run the table and beat both USC and Duke (who is ranked?!?) and hope that the SEC continues to be mid, the Pac-12 eats itself alive and that Michigan and Penn State destroy the Buckeyes so they get their playoff invite. It's a shame that they could squander the best QB talent they've had since Brady Quinn on prevent-D when the game was on the line. Their postseason odds are always a longshot because of their independent status, but Freeman continues to find ways to make those odds even longer.

And as for OSU, that may be their only quality win this season if McCord keeps playing like a scared puppy. Day has to get both him and his receivers on a more consistent page. For now, the B1G looks like Michigan's to lose, because Ann Arbor will be rocking when Day and Co. get there, assuming they made it past Penn State and Wisconsin unscathed, which don't exactly look like gimmes.

So who got exposed? Frankly, both. Neither one should get in the playoff and I hope neither one does. Who wants to watch a Georgia vs TCU type game again?

Both defenses might have played their minds out and that's why the game was so boring, sure, but going off of Saturday both programs need to buckle up. The road to January only gets harder from here.

- M



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