Ducks Drop to No. 22 in ESPN Power Rankings After Loss to Auburn
The Oregon Ducks blew a pivotal game on national television. They looked dominant, and then they looked stagnant. Early on, they resembled a team that would easily compete fo a College Football Playoff spot against the Auburn Tigers, until they didn't. In the end, when the Tigers completed their historic comeback, the Ducks were left looking like a mid-level team.
A mid-level team is how ESPN now sees Oregon as well, dropping them to No. 22 in their weekly Power Rankings, projecting that they make a return trip to the beloved.....Holiday Bowl. Before Week 1's 27-21 loss in Texas, the Ducks were ranked No. 10 on the list, the highest of any Pac-12 school.
For much of the game — or the first half, at least — Oregon seemed to live up to the billing, showing a dynamic mix of speed and agility on offense, while relying on their defense to shut down the vertical game for Auburn while clogging up running lanes.
The second half was a different story, unfortunately for Oregon fans. The Ducks' play-calling became familiarly stagnant, and a couple of poor coaching decisions caused them to ultimately choke the game away in the final seconds.
If there's one positive outcome from the contest, it's that Oregon looked like unstoppable world-beaters early on, capable of running with any team in the nation when at full strength. Unfortunately, they also looked too small for the moment when it came down to it.
The rankings don't mean much this early on in the season, of course, but bragging rights are always fun to have. Oregon can still climb their way back up to the upper-echelon with a long-string of wins, but it will be a long road to get there.