750 THE GAME STAFF
Oregon fans are quick to point out the success in recent years their program has enjoyed against the Big Ten. The 2021 road win in Columbus. The 2007 road trouncing of Michigan and the 2003 home win over the Wolverines. The 2019 and 2011 Rose Bowl wins over Wisconsin. The 2014 home win and 2018 bowl victory over Michigan State.
Sure, Oregon has stubbed its toe against the Big Ten, too, highlighted by a 2014 national championship game defeat and a 2009 Rose Bowl loss to Ohio State. The Ducks also fell in primetime at Michigan State in 2015 – a game where Vernon Adams’ thumb injury hurt the Ducks offensive potential.
But now that they’re joining the Big Ten Conference, these one-off showdowns with the powers of the Midwest become a regular — actually, weekly — occurrence, and not just an early-season test that you can prepare for over an entire offseason.
John Canzano said this week on 750 The Game he is fascinated to see if the Ducks are truly ready for the steady grind of Big Ten football come 2024.
“I picked Oregon to win at Ohio State (in 2021),” Canzano said on the Bald Faced Truth. “But that was a Super Bowl game for Oregon against Ohio State. When you’re encountering these opponents on a week-to-week-to-week basis, I think it’s the same argument that we give Gonzaga. Hey, you’re playing in a conference where you don’t have this kind of competition at the top.
“Oregon in a one-off game, in a non-conference setting, has been able to win those games. Now we’re going to find out. Can they beat Michigan State in Week 8, can they beat Ohio State in Week 9, can they beat Wisconsin in Week 5? We’re going to find out. Can they beat Purdue in the early part of the season? I think it’s a great study.”
Before next season, Dan Lanning’s Ducks are aiming to finish their Pac-12 run with a bang, and possibly a trip to the College Football Playoff for the first time since 2014. Following this week’s bye, No. 8 Oregon (5-0) visits No. 7 Washington (5-0) in a season-defining rivalry game on Oct. 14th.
Would winning that game prove the Ducks are ready for the Big Ten move?
“I would feel better about it if Oregon wins the Pac-12 this year and makes the playoff,” said Canzano. “In fact, I’d feel better about it if they get into the playoff and they run into Michigan or Ohio State or whoever, and they win that game. And then I’d go OK, you know what, they’re built for this. But keep in mind, it’s been seven years since Oregon got to the playoff. And the team that has dominated the Pac-12 has been Utah in the last couple of years.
“Is this Oregon’s year? We’ll find out.”
Listen to Canzano’s full comments on Oregon’s 2024 Big Ten opponents in the first segment of the show podcast below.
John Canzano delivers the Bald Faced Truth afternoons 3-6 p.m. exclusively in Portland on 750 The Game.