September 3rd is still 103 days away, so college football season may not feel within reach. But a month after the Oregon Spring Games, preview content for the upcoming season is well underway.
ESPN’s Bill Connelly unveiled his latest SP+ rankings ahead of the 2022 season, and of the teams in his top 25, the Oregon Ducks saw the biggest jump from his February rankings.
Oregon was ranked #24 in Connelly’s SP+ rankings, which are based on return to production, recent recruits and recent history. The Ducks were ranked 32nd in his February 9 ranking.
In terms of returning production, the Ducks have found major success with some of their top impact players going to the NFL or transfer portal on both sides of the ball. Now Oregon must replace the leaders in passing, receiving, charging, sacks and interceptions from a year ago, as well as six of its top eight tacklers.
Recurring production on the roster isn’t significant from a statistical standpoint, but 2022 offers many young players an opportunity to break out and make a meaningful impact in a bigger role.
Oregon RB Byron Cardwell
Cardwell practices an exercise during the Spring Ball.
On the other hand, few teams can compare to the work done by Dan Lanning and his newly assembled staff in the recruitment path and transfer portal. The 2022 class finished 16th in the country, according to 247Sports, thanks to a string of late commitments from a 5-star offensive lineman Josh Conerly Jr. and reclassified 4-star Wideout Kyler Kasperwho was originally in the Class of 2023.
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Oregon OL Josh Conerly
Conerly during a visit to Oregon.
The Ducks also used the transfer portal and added veterans like the Auburn quarterback Bo NixUCLA wide receiver Chase CotaColorado cornerback Christian GonzalesDefender of Washington Sam Taimaniand more.
Oregon has been the king of the Pac-12 North for the past three seasons, making the Pac-12 Championship Game three straight seasons, including two titles in 2019 and 2020.
Oregon DE Kayvon Thibodeaux
Thibodeaux holds two Pac-12 championship hats to represent Oregon’s back-to-back conference titles.
For further context, Connelly’s SP+ rankings are not intended to project what the AP preseason top 25 will be, or to rank the sport’s top resumes. In Connelly’s words, the rankings are “a predictive measure of the most sustainable and predictable aspects of football”.
You can see the full projections here.
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