The Cowboys and Ducks couldn’t have been on more divergent paths last season.
Oregon, a team known for success, was very not good in 2016. Their record of 4-8 (2-7) was the worst since 1991. It was the first time the Ducks didn’t either make their conference championship or win the conference in eight years, and the first time they didn’t make a bowl game in twelve.
The biggest question going into this game is: how different are the Willie Taggart Ducks? Taggart has rebuilt programs like Western Kentucky and South Florida, but Oregon isn’t exactly those programs.
The offseason hasn’t treated the Ducks well either, with one coach being fired, another suspended, and a third jumping ship to UCLA.
Taggart is going to be expected to compete in the Pac-12. QB Justin Herbert and RB Royce Freeman are going to be expected to play as well as they did last season, if not better. This season is one of high expectations for the Ducks.
Wyoming’s got pressure as well, but a different kind.
The Cowboys found success they haven’t seen in 20 years through the combined efforts of Josh Allen and Brian Hill. They appeared in a conference championship for the first time in 20 years and a bowl game for the first time in five. Even if the three-game losing streak to end the season left a bad taste in your mouth, you can’t deny that last season was the best in years.
Unfortunately for the Cowboys, they lost major pieces. The three top receivers from last year have graduated, two of which are in the NFL, along with Hill and OL anchor Chase Roullier.
Despite the loss of Roullier, Allen’s line will be experienced. Five other returnees started at least seven games last season..
The biggest question coming into the season for the Cowboys is the defense. It was, to say the least, not good. But was that down to inexperience or a lack of talent? We’ll find out, and I’m really hoping it’s the former.
We don’t really know much about either team up to this point, but on paper, it oughta be a good game.
See you next time.