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Could Oregon Upset Georgia to Kick Off Dan Lanning Era in 2022?

What better way to start a new era of Oregon Football than by upsetting the defending national champions?
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Spring football is underway throughout the country, with many top programs preparing to hold their annual spring games as early as this weekend. 

Here in Eugene, the Oregon Ducks are only in their third practice of spring football. But you'd be lying if you said you weren't looking ahead to Oregon's slate of games for the 2022 season, anxious to hear the pads popping on Saturdays.

Bleacher Reporter college football columnist Brad Shepard is right there with you. He laid out some way-too-early upset picks for the 2022 season, and who was right there smack at the top of the the list?

Oregon vs. Georgia on Sep. 1 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Shepard favors the Ducks as an upset pick over the Bulldogs, and he gave some of his reasoning in the excerpt below. 

"Mario Cristobal left for home in Coral Gables, Florida, and the Ducks' coaching search ended in Athens, Georgia, as defensive coordinator Dan Lanning left UGA. So, there will be a lot of familiarity in this game. Lanning knows coach Kirby Smart's tendencies. He knows the defensive scheme, and he also knows the personnel on both sides of the ball. While the Bulldogs are loaded once again, their youth and inexperience, especially on defense, could cause some bumps in the road early.

The Ducks have their own questions, but they have a super-talented defense, led by linebackers Noah Sewell, Justin Flowe and Mase Funa, and one of the game's exciting young running backs in Byron Cardwell. They will also have a capable quarterback in Auburn transfer Bo Nix or youngster Ty Thompson. Georgia has more talent, but Lanning's familiarity may just give Oregon an edge. Expect the Dawgs to rally and win the SEC East, but how about a Week 1 shocker to whet your appetite?"

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Could Oregon knock off Georgia? Sure it's possible, but not many are choosing it as the popular outcome to start the season.

Dan Lanning looks like he could be the coach this defense has needed for a few years. The one that can truly maximize all the talent and versatility oozing on that side of the ball. 

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Andy Avalos looked like he was going to be the one to do it in 2019. He started to translate the fruits of Oregon's efforts on the recruiting trail to a dominant defense on the field. But the Ducks took a noticeable step back in 2020 and were hot-and-cold to say the least in 2021.

Now they find themselves without a proven pass rusher following the departure of Kayvon Thibodeaux to the NFL, but they still have a mixture of veterans and promising youth on the roster. The other piece of the puzzle that will go a long way in determining the outcome of this game is the starting quarterback. 

Oregon looks like they'll likely turn to Auburn transfer Bo Nix as QB1 in 2022, although no starter has been named with a quarterback battle beginning in spring football alongside former prep recruits Ty Thompson and Jay Butterfield.

Georgia's talent level will be above that of Oregon's when this game kicks off, but the Ducks have proven people wrong before and have a roster built primarily from three top-ten recruiting classes and a new coaching staff loaded with a variety of experience around big-time football. 

Stranger things have happened.

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