Dan Lanning is only 37. Lincoln Riley is 3 years older but has amassed a far more impressive resume as a HC. Unless Lanning coaches three consecutive playoff teams and three consecutive Heisman winners in the next three seasons he will not be where Riley is at age 40. And yet….after all that success….Riley had a very humbling season. His coaching was questioned, his culture, even his playcalling which would be heresy a year ago to even suggest. The thru line I see for both is hubris. Lanning is a bit of a blowhard and prone to really cringey moments. Riley can be quietly arrogant and a tad paranoid. Both could learn a bit of humility and in different ways I think this season will help. Both could learn a thing or two from guys like DeBoer and Kyle Whittingham.

I still think the trajectory of both is high. I’d hold my stock in both. You can’t shortcut experience and only with age comes wisdom. Growth thru pain and struggle. Both will be the better for it.

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Dec 2, 2023Liked by John Canzano

If he needs “better defensive backs and pass rushers”, he can BUY THEM. I don’t recognize this sport any more.

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So many beautiful “turns of phrase” in here John.

“But Oregon also found itself in the worst place a team be in college football — locked into a one-score chess match vs. DeBoer and Penix Jr.”

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Dec 2, 2023·edited Dec 2, 2023Liked by John Canzano

Moving on to the bowl games for the Ducks and Beavers I'm wondering how many players will opt-out this year?..It appears the list is already beginning to grow....How sad.

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Wonderful piece, John. Thoughtful and perceptive and written with the heart as much as the head. It’s one of many things that sets you apart. You have a way of connecting on all levels.

Agree that the Ducks seemed flat from warmups on. I watched them in pregame wondering if they paid too much attention to the point spread. They are a better team when fully engaged. Last night they were not the better team.

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Terrific article, JC. Thank you.

Oregon looked flat from the start last night. The +9.5 incentivized a UW team that felt disrespected.

0-3 vs. UW by a total of 9 points. DL is doing a terrific job in his 2nd season as an HC, and DL is an excellent recruiter. The 2024 class today is ranked 2nd in the B1G behind Ohio State. I expect that DL will pick the portal in 2024 as well as he did last season.

DL's right. No excuses. UW outplayed Oregon. But going against that WR corps of UW down a starting CB and having another starter at CB leave the game did not help Oregon's cause.

Jim Harbaugh was 0-7 vs Ohio State before breaking through, and it took time for Kirby Smart to catch up with his mentor, Nick Saban.

The Ducks football future is in good hands. And notwithstanding a terrible start Oregon never gave up.

Go HUskies! Win the Rose Bowl.

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John, it’s possible to overthink the results of any athletic contest between teams (rather than individual sports). The term out-coached is often used as an excuse. In this day of high stakes football (celestial salaries) and state of the art technology it’s incredulous that one staff devises a superior game plan over another equally capable staff. These coaches all have exceptional football IQ’s, dedication and resources. The obvious coaching interference from the UO staff displayed in Seattle aside, coaches don’t win or lose games. Players do.

As soon as the almost double digit point spread for the Ducks was posted, I pulled all my chips off the table. At that point two things happened, the Ducks lost their edge of playing angry, and the Huskies inherited it. Game over. If you break each team down by position you couldn’t live on the difference. There is none. So, if it’s not schematics or ability, what is the difference? DESIRE! When the assets are equal, the team with the highest level of desire wins. You observed it yourself in your pregame warmup summary. The Ducks were sullen. The Huskies were energized.

Watching PAC 12 play this year revealed so clearly the difference between very good, maybe even exceptional QB play and elite QB play. Bo Nix, Caleb Williams and Michael Penix were elite this year. The other nine were something else. Maybe very good, or not so good, but not elite. The small sample size of Ty Thompson indicates he doesn’t have a much higher ceiling. He’s good. Maybe very good. But short of elite. If the Ducks want success in the B10, they must find their next elite QB in the portal and provide a seven figure NIL to get him here.

Rather than share the Dan Lanning story with us post championship game, I hunger for the Phil Knight story. Give us your sourced deep dive into what he is experiencing. You think there was disappointment in the Duck locker room, how about uncovering for us in depth what Phil was experiencing. Please. Cheers. Brad

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I don't think this fall on the coaches this time.

The first three plays--3 incompletions--out. The second pass and Bo gets happy feet for the first time this year--he looked rattled and panicked. I love Nix as a leader, a player and mostly as a Godly man. But I sensed from the first three plays something was off.

It reminded me of my golf game--when it starts out bad it usually end the same way.

The Huskies just handled the Ducks all night. They were the better team with the better players who made plays when they needed them. It's hard to admit it as a Duck alum and 50+ year fan, but that doesn't make it any less true. Props to UW.

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So, how do Washington and Oregon fit into their new conference?

I’m thinking they’ll fit in just fine and I look forward to instant success

Two established programs with rabid fan bases, and the two best young coaches in college football

Oregon will react well and prosper

Washington will sustain and improve,much to the chagrin of HuskyHaters

Looking forward to the CFP - two more wins💪🏼🏈💪🏼


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It's obvious that Dan Lanning is a class act. It sounds like his family upbringing was stellar. In fact it sounds like a copy of Kalen DeBoer's. Kalen is 104-11 as a head coach, wrap your head around that for a moment. Lanning wasn't going to cop out and blame the loss on injuries, he knows his sidelines is stocked full of 4 and 5 star back ups. Here is how I see it. the conference has A-1 and A-2 programs and those two were head and shoulders above the others. Washington had 5 weeks of the flu circulating through the locker room and a bunch of injuries to key players. They still won every game, they had stellar coaching, the best in the conference, elite. Kalen developed his staff over years, Grubb and others were with him back in South Dakota. Lanning is stuck with recruiters because that's what Phil Knight wants. Tosh won't win a head to head against Grubb's offense, Grubb forgot more than Tosh knows. Phil Knight is old and if Lanning sticks around, he will see a day when he can pick coaches rather than recruiters. Much is made of 3 point margins but in reality, the game is won or lost by who has the most points at the end of the day. Kalen knows how to reach that goal better than Lanning and the vast majority of head coaches in the game. Think about this fact too, Kalen is 24-2 after taking over for a train wreck of a coach and program in disarray. Lanning walked into a locker room stocked to the hilt with talent. It wasn't by luck that Kalen won the day. I like Dan Lanning and hope he sticks around.

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Respect is not given but earned. (apologies for the cliche) I am encouraged by the post game expressions of mutual respect among the players, coaches and - surprisingly- fans of Oregon and Washington. Here’s to hoping it continues as we both move to the Big Ten.

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A touch out of lane, but here i go: A grrrreat game to end the Pac 12/2, well done Dawgs; I will not miss Pac 12/2 officiating, last night was a season long example of "not goodness" (lol); Well done to Judd Fisch, a joy to watch his season; Kudos as well to Cal and J Wilcox, played hard to the end, well coached, Dad is smiling down; Disappointed in Caleb W, character and lack of leadership; How does Chip keep his job?; Thanks Beavers for a wonderful season, you and we will remember this season and lessons for a long time. Thanks John for your coverage and scoops, but esp. for keeping the Leadership in the spotlight for their sig. shortcomings and responsibility for the demise. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

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Thanks John for your additional thoughts on the game. As a Duck fan, the first two possessions were particularly painful to watch. I thought they looked flat. To go 3 and out back to back while WA scores hurt their psyche. The Huskies D shut down the running game, and their O line kept Penix safe. When a team is playing with that kind of intensity, it’s tough to rally fast enough to take control of the game. HC Lanning needs to regroup and infuse confidence and humility in his team. I’m sad to say that Washington was hungrier than Oregon.

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OR recruiting classes in top 10. UW in the mid 20’s. This is all coaching. Deboer > Lanning at the actual XOs. As BFT points out that experience gap is huge. Hopefully that closes. Because losing to UW every year is the worst.

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I'm trying not to overreact. The Ducks were beaten by a better team. Outcoached? I don't know but will say this: DeBoer wasnt Jesus with a Headset until he had M Penix and the best trio of recievers, plus 10 or so 6th year seniors contributing. Lets see if they go 13-0 next year. And I'll hold my stock in Lanning. I think he will continue to grow.

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Pretty easy to build when you can give bags of cash to players in the transfer portal. Don’t worry about developing your own talent. NIL has ruined college football.

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