Oregon Ducks

Oregon 2017 Outlook - DBs: Secondary will rise if Ducks' pass rush improves

Oregon 2017 Outlook - DBs: Secondary will rise if Ducks' pass rush improves

Oregon's worst season (4-8) since 1991 (3-8) led to a coaching change. Yet, the Ducks' cupboard is hardly bare for new coach Willie Taggart. We will take a position-by-position look at what the new coaching staff will have to work with while trying to turn things around in 2017.

Other entries: QuarterbacksRunning backsTight ends, Wide receivers, Offensive line, Defensive line, Linebackers

Today: Defensive backs.

Key losses: Reggie Daniels was an impact player in 2014 before falling off later in his career.   

Projected starters: Cornerbacks Arrion Springs, Sr., (5-11, 205) and Ugo Amadi, (5-10, 195). Safeties Brenden Schooler, Soph., (6-2, 190) and Tyree Robinson, RSr., (6-4, 205).

Key backups: Cornerbacks - Tyree Robinson, RSr., (6-4, 205), Malik Lovette, RSo., (5-11, 200) and Jihree Stewart, RSo., (6-0, 182). Safeties - Khalil Oliver, RJr., (6-0, 205), Juwaan Williams, RSr., (6-0, 200), Brady Breeze, RFr., (6-1, 205), Mattrell McGraw, RJr., (5-10, 195) and Fotu T. Leiato II, Jr., (6-1, 200). 

What we know: Oregon's secondary has gained loads of experience over the past two seasons. Unfortunately, a lot of that involved chasing wide receivers into the end zone. 

But let's be fair. While there's no doubt that the secondary was atrocious in 2015, this group did demonstrate improvement in 2016. However, they were often hung out to dry by a weak pass rush. 

The 2015 defense, led by Pac-12 defensive player of the year, defensive end DeForest Buckner, ranked second in the conference with 38 sacks. The 2016 defense, led by true freshman linebacker Troy Dye, ranked tied for seventh with 25 sacks. A feeble pass rush, coupled with a horrible run defense that made life easier for opposing passing games, adversely impacted Oregon's secondary. 

Nevertheless, the overall pass coverage in 2016 was better than it was in 2015 when a young secondary was routinely exposed. Springs, Amadi, Robinson, Williams and Oliver all should benefit from experienced gained and be ready to take the next step. Factor in the emergence of Schooler and the potential of Breeze, and others, and the secondary could actually be quite good in 2017. On the other hand, improved play by the defensive backs won't be noticed unless new defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt is able to increase the heat on opposing quarterbacks.

Shifting from having one position coach (John Neal) to two, with Charles Clark coaching the cornerbacks and Keith Heyward handling the safeties, could help accelerate the secondary's improvement.

What we don't know: How this secondary shakes out will be interesting.

If Robinson starts at cornerback that would mean that either Amadi or Springs failed to take that next step or that another safety emerged as a player the coaches couldn't keep off of the field.

There certainly will be plenty of options at safety that could force Robinson to cornerback. Williams and Oliver have started there in the past. Breeze has a ton of potential while Schooler will enter spring drills as a starter.

Depth won't be an issue and could be bolstered by four-star cornerback recruit Thomas Graham, who will be on campus in time for spring drills. But be leery. Most freshman defensive backs struggle no matter how highly touted they are coming out of high school. 

Final word: We would have seen dramatic improvement from the secondary last season had opposing quarterbacks not had all day in the pocket. With improved play expected from the front seven (how could it possibly be any worse than what we saw in 2016?) this secondary could finally blossom.

That said, this group needs an attitude adjustment in some areas. Stories have become legendary of some diva tendencies within this group. That must change.

Position grade: C. This unit could earn a B if it matures both physically and mentally. The talent and the depth are there.

 

Fate? Destiny? Keanon Lowe's heroics stem from a life full of preparation and integrity

Fate? Destiny? Keanon Lowe's heroics stem from a life full of preparation and integrity

PORTLAND- Keanon Lowe’s recount of how he disarmed a student who police said carried a shotgun into a classroom, prohibiting a tragic shooting at Parkrose High School, is bone chilling.

20 seconds.

Lowe entered the classroom in the Fine Arts building on Friday 20 seconds before the door re-opened and Lowe was face-to-face with an armed high school senior. The former Oregon Ducks wide receiver was faced with a life or death decision.

It’s the third school gun incident this month in the United States. In all three instances, the shooter was tackled; one of the tacklers lived and two died for their efforts.

Did Lowe ever think to run?

“Never,” he said.

“In a fraction of a second, I analyzed everything really fast, saw the look in his face, looked at his eyes, looked at the gun, I realized it was a real gun and then my instincts just took over,” Lowe said.

“I lunged for the gun, put two hands on the gun, and he had his two hands on the gun. The students were running out of the classroom and screaming. I was just making sure the barrel of the gun isn’t pointed towards them or towards me. I was able to wrestle it away.”

Right place. Right time. But to truly understand how the 27-year-old head football coach came to be just three feet from the barrel of a shotgun, you have to go back… The story didn’t start when Lowe, who is also a school security guard, was called to that classroom to take a student back to the office with him, a task he does 30-40 times a day.

The right life experiences and a myriad of decisions led him to be incredibly brave and decisive in a terrifying moment.

The Jesuit high school graduate’s instincts earned him Oregon 6A Defensive Player of the Year as a defensive back while also playing running back and wide receiver as a senior. From 2010-14, Lowe played for the Oregon Ducks and was voted “Oregon’s Most Inspirational Player” by his teammates as a senior. Although he put up plenty of statistics, the first line on his roster profile couldn’t sum him up more perfectly:

“His contributions could not be documented merely by statistics despite looming as one of Oregon’s top three receivers through the first six games.”

Lowe became an assistant on former Oregon coach Chip Kelly’s NFL staffs at Philadelphia and then San Francisco. Lowe's passion to work with kids urged him to leave the NFL. He felt like he had a solid foundation to use the knowledge that he had to take on a bigger role.

The goal was to find his voice as a head coach, help mold the next generation and give them someone to count on.

When he took over the Parkrose football program one year ago, he joined Aaron Fentress and me on The Bridge on NBC Sports Northwest. Call it foreshadowing, call it what you want, but he took the job “to make a difference in the community.”

He’s done just that. Who knows how many lives he saved and impacted on that Friday in Portland. Life prepared Lowe for that moment.

“In that situation, a lot of us would freeze up, or kinda back out and not know what to do,” Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard said of Lowe after giving him tickets to Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals. “For him to take that type of stand, and to go and tackle the kid and protect all those people and himself, that’s a real hero move. That’s a big move. That’s big time of him.”

The story doesn’t end after Lowe wrestled and disarmed 19-year-old Angel Granados Diaz . The students rushed out of the classroom, it was just Lowe and Diaz and the emotions that took over. The two had a conversation.

In that moment when anger could have taken over, Lowe chose compassion. 

“He broke down and I just wanted to let him know that I was there for him,” Lowe said. “I told him I was there to save him. I was there for a reason and that this is a life worth living."

It could be argued that Lowe found his voice.

Police arrived, apprehended the student and took him into custody. Diaz made his first court appearance Monday, where he pleaded not guilty to charges of reckless endangerment, possession of a firearm, and carrying a firearm into a public building.

During Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals, the Trail Blazers honored Lowe’s heroics. 20,000 fans stood in pride of their hometown hero, while he stood with his hand over his heart. Call it fate or call it destiny, but know that Lowe’s actions derived from a life full of preparation and integrity.

Concerns surround Oregon forward Kenny Wooten’s NBA readiness

Concerns surround Oregon forward Kenny Wooten’s NBA readiness

The 2019-20 Oregon men’s basketball roster is currently looking pretty sparse. The Ducks team that pulled off an inspired late season run to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 has largely dispersed.

Two seniors moved on, three players left the program for the NBA Draft and two Ducks have transferred.

The latest Duck to fly away? Shot-blocking phenom, Kenny Wooten.

On Sunday night, Wooten took to Instagram to announce he will forgo his junior season and stay in the NBA Draft.

Wooten’s decision is an interesting one and of course he could still change his mind, ultimately he has until May 29 to declare for the NBA Draft or return to Oregon.

The 6-foot-9 rim protector’s athleticism is undeniable. In his two seasons at UO, Wooten ranks third all-time in Oregon history for blocked shots with 166, earning back-to-back All-Pac-12 Defensive team honors. His defensive contributions late in the 2018-19 season propelled Oregon’s push to win the Pac-12 Tournament and dance to the Sweet 16.


So is he trying to strike while the iron is hot? Wooten has not returned a message seeking comment and the school has not confirmed a final decision from Wooten.

NBC Sports NBA Draft Analyst Rob Dauster would advise Wooten to return to school. 

“The concern I have is two-fold,” Dauster said. “For starters, if he’s not catching and dunking, he really can’t do anything offensively. He had 33 assists in 70 college games. That’s fine when you’re Clint Capela, but - and I don’t have official measurements for him yet - Wooten is roughly three inches shorter or so.”

“The other question is if he’s going to end up being as defensively versatile as someone like Jordan Bell. You watch what Jordan does in this Golden State defense, and he’s switching and trapping and swarming and all over the place on the perimeter in addition to being the athlete/dunker/shot-blocker. I don’t know if Wooten can do all of that. I think he’s far less mobile and fleet a foot.”

Wooten was not invited to the NBA Combine and isn’t on ESPN’s board for the top 100 players for this year’s NBA Draft.

Of course, Wooten can develop and improve his weaknesses at the professional level, but it appears that would likely happen in the NBA G League or as a two-way player.

“He is 21 already, so if he wants to start earning money, I get it, I just think that coming back, adding some semblance of an offensive repertoire and improving on where he struggles defensively could get him to a point where he could get a guaranteed contract in next year’s draft,” Dauster said.

“But, frankly, that isn’t a guarantee either.”

Since the exodus of Ducks from the program, Oregon has yet to add a player eligible to play this season. UO has only three players from last year’s team (if senior Payton Pritchard comes back) with a total of six eligible scholarship players (Duquesne transfer Eric Williams must sit this year).

I don’t doubt coach Dana Altman, who has become a wizard at piecing rosters together in crunch time. However, if Wooten changes his mind and has a consistent junior season exemplifying offensive growth and defensive versatility… It’d be beneficial for Oregon and likely Wooten’s draft stock.

Pac-12 CEOs vote to improve non-conference basketball schedules, lessen transfer penalties within conference

Pac-12 CEOs vote to improve non-conference basketball schedules, lessen transfer penalties within conference

Interesting news is emerging from the Pac-12 Conference CEOs' annual spring meeting in San Francisco. Presidents and chancellors met and voted on a variety of topics, the two biggest changes approved are;

1) Raising standards for non-conference basketball schedules.

Beginning in the 2020-21 season, November and December will have far less cupcake games. Men’s basketball non-conference opponents will now need to have a five-year average NET ranking of at least 175 for home games and 200 or better for road games, up from the Pac-12′s previous standard for non-conference opponents of a five-year average of 300 RPI.

The move will have impact on power rankings and the NCAA Tournament selection process. Pac-12 teams received little benefit from victories over opponents in the bottom half of Division I, while losses severely hurt the team’s resume.

Under this rule, Oregon wouldn’t have played Portland State and Florida A&M. Oregon State wouldn’t have played Central Connecticut State or UC-Riverside.

2) Eliminating “loss of season” of eligibility for undergraduate transfers who transfer within the conference.

The CEO group voted to eliminate the “loss of a season" of eligibility penalty for all student-athletes who transfer within the Pac-12. This means undergraduate intra-conference transfers still have to sit out a year in residency, but won’t lose a year of eligibility.

According to the Pac-12, “The rule is designed to provide student-athletes with a similar experience to another student who decides to transfer.”

Former Oregon Duck Keanon Lowe the Parkrose High School hero

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Former Oregon Duck Keanon Lowe the Parkrose High School hero

Friday, May 17th 2019 will be a day that will change the lives of the students and faculty at Parkrose High School in Portland, Oregon. 

What could have gone down as another school shooting in the United States, became a heroic local story as the threat was stopped just short thanks to former Oregon football wide receiver Keanon Lowe.

Lowe, who was named the Parkrose high school head football coach back in February 2018, saw the suspect carrying a gun and tackled that person before what was intended to happen, happened. 

Parkrose is home to just shy of 1,000 students. 

Lowe's former teammates says his act of heroism comes at no surprise as the type of person he is:

Thank you, Keanon Lowe.

 

Former Duck Jordan Bell shines in the spotlight

Former Duck Jordan Bell shines in the spotlight

Jordan Bell. It's a name known well in the Pacific Northwest. After Thursday's performance in the Western Conference Finals, it's also a name well known in the city of Oakland, San Francisco Bay, and the entire NBA. 

The second-year big man out of the University of Oregon has had his ups and downs with Golden State. He has been in and out of the rotation over the last two seasons, has had his maturity questioned, and has had to rebuild the team's confidence in him. 

He's had verbal spats with teammates and coaches, and in March of this season, Bell was suspended for "conduct detrimental to the team." It was later reported that he made purchases at a team hotel and had them charged to assistant coach Mike Brown without his permission.

At the time, it almost felt like the end of the rope for Bell's career: A "here we go again" moment for the Warriors and their young forward. But instead of rolling over, Bell took it on the chin and bounced back. Despite spot minutes and DNPs, he continued to focus on his game. Not just his basketball game, but his mental game. 

"I think he's evolved mostly mentally... You know, he's gotten more intelligent," teammate Draymond Green after the Warriors Game 2 victory. "I think all those things are great but more important than all of that, his mental. His professionalism. I think that's where he's grown the most and I think right now, that's paying off for him the most."

All the hard work culminated in a breakout playoff performance against the Blazers on Thursday. Bell played just 14 minutes, but his impact was large. He scored 11 points, pulled down three rebounds, and added two steals, a block, and an assist for the two-time defending champs. He stuffed the stat sheet, helping the Warriors seal the deal with a come from behind victory. 

“Jordan did a really good job for us tonight with his energy," Andre Iguodala said of Bell. 

[He] is one of those guys who has got that energy. He thrives off the spotlight. He enjoys being in those moments and people are watching him. He takes advantage of that.

A lot of Blazers fans know exactly what Iguodala means. Fans in Oregon have been watching Bell come up big ever since he stepped on the court for the Ducks in 2014. His junior year, he helped lead to the Ducks to an appearance in the Final Four, where he had a 13 points, 16 rebounds and a four block performance in the Ducks' loss to the North Carolina Tar Heels. 

It was the biggest stage in college basketball, and Bell basked in the spotlight. Now on the biggest stage in the NBA, Bell has found a way to do it again. 

"It's a good series for him. It's a good matchup. The way we're playing suits him," said Warriors head coach Steve Kerr. "We need a lot of speed out there. I think the last three games, Game 6 in Houston and the first two games here, he's kind of settled down and he's been very comfortable. Very relaxed. He's not in a rush and he's playing good basketball, so he will continue to get minutes."

If Bell continues to get minutes, he could be a problem for the Blazers as the series shifts to Portland. The second-year player blocks shots, gets rebounds and does the little things the Warriors need from their bench unit to bury the Blazers. 

How does Bell go about making sure he gets those minutes? According to Green, it goes back to his maturity.

"It's not like he's out there taking seven mid-range jump shots. He's just playing hard," Green said. "It's the staying ready, being in the gym nonstop, even when you're not playing for 10 games straight, staying in the gym, being there early and getting the work in.

"That's what's paying off for him now."  

It's paying off in key playoff minutes, clutch playoff performances, and most of all, it's paying off with a heightened state of confidence from his teammates.

"When his number gets called, he's either going to be ready or not," Green said. "We have confidence in Jordan because we know how it's been going in the gym all year long."

More than the confidence of his teammates, getting the call has boosted Bell's confidence in himself.

When you’re playing, that’s the most confidence right there. Just experience. I was lacking on that...When the coach calls your name in Game 6 against Houston at their place, and a game where we can possibly end it there, it gives you a lot of confidence going into the (next) series.”

Do the Warriors need Bell to win their third-straight title? Probably not. Does it hurt the cause when Bell is playing with confidence and shines on the big stage? Absolutely not.

Bell has a large fan base rooting for him and it's not just rooted in Oakland.  Up north in enemy territory, the Ducks fanbase is cheering hard. Not for Warriors wins, but for their former star.

Oregon football; Defensive Back University?

Oregon football; Defensive Back University?

Oregon football, also known as; Nike University, Running Back University and Defensive Back University?

The Ducks’ highest-rated recruiting class in program history received another major addition; the highest-rated defensive back commitment in program history, Chris Steele.

Steele, the nation’s No. 3 cornerback and No. 19 overall prospect in the class of 2019, transferred from Florida after spring football.

According to the Gainesville Sun, in late January, Steele asked the Florida coaching staff for new roommate assignment, away from quarterback Jalon Jones, expressing concerns about Jones' behavior. In April, Jones was accused of sexual battery by two Florida students. The Florida Staff declined to act and postponed his request until summer and Steele decided to enter the transfer portal.

The 6-foot, 175-pound athlete, out of St. John Bosco High School (Bellflower, California) returned to the west coast via Oregon.

"Coach Donte. Our relationship is known." Steele told 247sports of Oregon coach Donte Williams. "Me and that dude, he’s like a big brother to me. The opportunity to play for somebody who is going to care about me off the field but at the same time is going to develop me better than other people, it’s a win-win situation." 

Had Steele signed with Oregon before National Signing Day, the Ducks’ 2019 class would have been ranked at No. 5 overall, their first top five finish ever. Oregon finished No. 7 without the signing of Steele. 

A few notes on what adding another five-star piece means…

Can Steele play next season?

Steele enrolled at Florida, so it's unclear if he will be eligible for the 2019 season, but he can apply for a waiver to play immediately.

Oregon’s 2019 secondary is locked and loaded with talent.

Juniors Thomas Graham Jr. and Deommodore Lenoir have depth and talent behind them. If Steele is granted a waiver to play immediately, Oregon will have two star freshmen cornerbacks in Steele and Mykael Wright, plus redshirt freshman safety Steve Stephens. The pair of safeties, Nick Pickett and Jevon Holland, will also return. 

Lenoir often tweets "TMC," which stands for "The Marathon Continues." It's a reference to the sixth official mixtape by American rapper Nipsey Hussle, but it means something more to the Ducks secondary. "This journey has only begun to become the best secondary," said Lenoir. "It's a marathon not a race. We will prove a lot this year."

The #CaliFlock is real.

The Ducks scored three of the top six ranked players in the state of California in the 2019 class. All three are defensive players; including Steele (No. 5), Wright (No. 4) and Kayvon Thibodeaux (No. 1). A total of seven of California’s top 21 2019 prospects are at Oregon.

The veterans are hyped.

When Steele transferred from Florida, a few Gator wide receivers tweeted pictures of themselves making catches over Steele. When Steele joined the Ducks, he was met with a different feeling on Twitter from Oregon football.

The ripple effect.

Now the defensive backs are rolling in. Four-star safety Jared Greenfield (class of 2020) has included Oregon in his final five. The coveted 6-foot, 180-pound defensive back out of Narbonne High School (Harbor City, California), is expected to having Oregon as his heavy favorite.

Bol Bol’s mind-boggling measurements at NBA Combine

Bol Bol’s mind-boggling measurements at NBA Combine

Oregon star Bol Bol is regaining some attention he lost after not playing since December due to a season-ending foot injury.

It’s easy to see why Bol is one of the most intriguing players in the 2019 NBA Draft; the center officially measured in at 7-foot-2 and 1/4 inches with his shoes on and recorded having a 7-foot-7 wingspan and a 9-foot-7 and 1/2 inch standing reach (WHOA!) at the NBA Combine.

Once drafted, Bol will be the third tallest active player behind 76ers center Boban 

Marjanovic (7'3 1/2") and Mavericks' Kristaps Porzingis (7'3). His standing reach is half an inch short from tying the NBA Combine record of 9-foot-8.
Bol’s height and standing reach weren’t the only eye-catching numbers he posted at the NBA Combine. Bol weighed in 208 pounds, the same weight as Duke’s 6'8 Cam Reddish. He also was listed at 7.1 percent body fat, the highest percentage measured so far.

On the 2018-19 Oregon basketball roster, Bol was listed as 235 pounds before his season ending foot injury. It’s highly possible Oregon rounded up on his weight, so it doesn’t necessarily mean that the 18-year-old has dropped almost 30 pounds. However, NBA teams will want to see him get stronger and put on more weight.

Bol has not been cleared and will not compete in the testing events at the combine. On Tuesday, he told TNT that he was three weeks away from being cleared fully.

Will he be a lottery selection or has his draft stock slipped? Here is where mock drafts predict Bol will be selected in the 2019 NBA Draft.

The highest-rated basketball player to ever sign with Oregon seemed to have come and gone in a blink of an eye. A former five-star recruit, in his nine games with the Ducks he led the team in points (21.0 per game), rebounds (9.6) and blocks (2.7) while showing off his terrific outside shooting (52 percent from three).

Bol Bol a lottery selection? Latest NBA mock drafts for Oregon Ducks

Bol Bol a lottery selection? Latest NBA mock drafts for Oregon Ducks

The ping pong balls have landed! The New Orleans Pelicans were the surprise winners of the NBA draft lottery and first chance at Duke star Zion Williamson. Now that the lottery results are final, let’s take a look at landing spots for potential Pro Ducks.

BOL BOL: The highest-rated basketball player to ever sign with Oregon who seemed to have come and gone in a blink of an eye.

It’s easy to see why Bol is one of the most intriguing players in the 2019 NBA Draft: 7-foot 2 centers with 7-foot-8 wingspans and terrific outside shooting (52 percent from three) don’t come along often. In his nine games with the Ducks, he led the team in points (21.0 per game), rebounds (9.6) and blocks (2.7).

[READ: Bol Bol, worth the gamble?]

Did he display enough of his immense potential before the season-ending injury to wipe away the red flag durability concerns? Will the 7-foot-2 center be a lottery selection or has his draft stock slipped? The consensus among mock drafts is that he will be a first round draft pick.

8th pick: Atlanta Hawks select Oregon center Bol Bol (Bleacher Report)

17th pick: Brooklyn Nets select Oregon center Bol Bol (SB Nation)

10th pick: Atlanta Hawks (from Dallas Mavericks) select Oregon center Bol Bol (NY Post)

17th pick: Brooklyn Nets select Oregon center Bol Bol (Sports Illustrated)

22nd pick: Boston Celtics select Oregon center Bol Bol (NBC Sports)

LOUIS KING: The 6-foot-9 forward’s draft stock certainly climbed through Oregon’s run in the Pac-12 and NCAA tournaments after scoring in double-figures in each game and being named to the Pac-12 All-Tournament team. But how far?

[READ: Oregon Ducks won't rule the basketball world without its King]

The five-star recruit has been listed as the No. 36 prospect in the draft by ESPN. Most mock drafts are first round only and do not have King listed, the consensus is that he will be selected in the second round.

38th pick: Chicago Bulls (from Memphis Grizzlies) select Oregon forward Louis King (Sports Illustrated)

30th pick: Milwaukee Bucks select Oregon forward Louis King (Mass Live)

Bol and King are among 66 players invited to this year’s NBA Combine, held May 16-17 (Noon-4 p.m. PT, ESPN2) at Quest Multisport in Chicago. Interestingly, King has decided not to work out in the five-on-five games and the combine.

Neither Payton Pritchard or Kenny Wooten (who also declared for the NBA draft and testing the waters) are currently listed as a potential draft pick on any mock draft I could find. Most likely, it'll be all eyes on Bol and King. 

The deadline for players to withdraw from the draft and return to school is June 10.

[READ: Big decision time: Four Oregon Ducks enter NBA draft]

Oregon football vs. Auburn set for prime time

Oregon football vs. Auburn set for prime time

There are only 108 days until Oregon football kicks off the 2019 season against Auburn on August 31, 2019! The following is from the Oregon Athletic Department:

EUGENE, Ore. – Oregon’s marquee season opener against SEC foe Auburn in the 2019 AdvoCare Classic at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, will kick off ABC Saturday Night Football’s 14th season it was announced on Wednesday morning. The game will begin at 4:30 p.m. PT.

It will be the second meeting between the two programs and the first since the 2010 national championship game. The Ducks have not opened a season away from Autzen Stadium since 2011 when they took on LSU at AT&T Stadium.

Highlighted by Heisman hopeful quarterback Justin Herbert, Oregon returns a combined 17 positional starters, which ranks tied for fourth nationally, from the 2018 club that produced a 9-4 season under first-year head coach Mario Cristobal that was capped with three consecutive wins, including a victory over Michigan State in the Redbox Bowl. The Ducks will also usher in a consensus top 10 recruiting class.

Both Oregon and Auburn were mainstays in 2019 preseason top 25 rankings distributed right after last season. Oregon found itself as high as No. 10 in the ESPN ranking. If the Ducks land in a preseason poll, it will mark the 10th time in 11 seasons that they have opened the season ranked.

The game will also be Oregon’s first against an SEC opponent since it defeated Tennessee, 59-14, at Autzen Stadium during the 2013 season.