The Oregon Ducks football team just finished at 11-2 overall, 8-1 in the PAC-12 and won the PAC-12 championship (excluding the bowl game that they will be in). Justin Herbert was a Heisman favorite and (most likely) was out done by Joe Burrow of LSU. It was no doubt a great season by the ducks, but was this the best teams the ducks have ever had? Let’s take a deeper look and dissect the PAC-12 champs.
Since joining the PAC-12 in 2011, the ducks have finished with two losses or less 4 other times (the last being in 2014). They also finished with double digit wins 4 other times (the last time also being in 2014). That team in 2014 finished 13-2 so it seems like a good team to compare them to.
Marcus Mariota was at the lead of the 2014 Oregon Ducks and ended up winning the Heisman that year as well. He did so with a 68.3 completion percentage. He also had almost 4500 yards, 42 TD and only 4 INT. Herbert finished the year with a 67.5 completion percentage. He also tacked on 3100 yards, 31 TD and only 5 INT. Mariota was able to rack up more touchdowns because of his legs so we will give the slight advantage to Mariota.
Royce Freeman was the premier back of the 2014 team. He scored a total of 18 touchdowns along with 1 receiving touchdown. Mariota himself accounted for 15! rushing touchdowns. This year, Verdell and Habibi-Likio scored a combined 15 touchdowns and Herbert only had 1 himself. Alone, Mariota almost outscored the entire 2019 rushing attack of Oregon. The 2014 team averaged about 45 points a game while the 2019 team averaged about 33 points a game. Easy to say the 2014 team has the advantage in the rushing game.
Finally the 2019 has something to brag about as they have the superior defense. Although their season has not ended yet, they average 15.7 points against while the 2014 averaged 23.6. When you have an offense as dominating as Mariota and the ducks had, you can afford to let up more points. However, the 2019 ducks boast a serious improvement on the defensive end.
In conclusion, it is hard to replicate or come close to the offensive numbers that the 2014 Oregon Ducks put up. They started the season ranked 3rd overall and finished at 2nd overall by the end of the season. The 2019 ducks started the season at 11 and will probably finish no higher than 10 based on the other games of the day. All in all, the ducks had an impressive 2019 season. After a poor loss to Arizona State the ducks still finished out the 2019 season as PAC-12 champs. While still impressive, the 2014 seems to have the edge as the best team in Oregon Ducks football history.