The No. 2 Oregon Ducks (4-0) are fans of anything sexy. Jerseys, helmets, and even margin of victory. This flashy lifestyle that Chip Kelly and his Ducks live is benefiting the squad on numerous levels. Oregon has seen a spike in recruitment success, jersey sales, and their AP Poll rank.
The Ducks started the 2012 season ranked 5th in the AP Poll. After week one, Oregon leaped the Oklahoma Sooners. The USC Trojans were upset by the Stanford Cardinal in week three, which moved the Ducks up another spot to third. Follow that up with a 49-0 blowout victory for Kelly’s crew over the Arizona Wildcats last week, and the quack-attack leaped the LSU Tigers to second overall. Les Miles and his squad didn’t lose last week, but they did struggle to escape with a win over the Auburn Tigers. Apparently a 49 point victory is better than a 2 point victory.
We are still 28 months away from the first college football playoff championship game, meaning the BCS still holds precedence over everything. That ranking still determines what two squads will get their crack at the National Championship, and if running the scoreboard up on an opponent is the way to leap other undefeated teams, so be it. Winning isn’t good enough. Winning with style is.
Oregon doesn’t just win in fashion. They are donning the most elaborate, modern, often gaudy uniforms in the country. Tinker Hatfield is Oregon’s Vera Wang. Hatfield is an Oregon alumnus and works as Nike’s Vice President for Design and Special Projects. The Nike executive is the man behind the Duck’s gear, and Nike has held the team’s outfitting rights since 1995.
You may not catch many recruits stating they came to Oregon primarily to rock their jerseys, but I have a strong feeling a nice percentage of them did. Who doesn’t want to stunt in some of those Duck’s uniforms?
Certainly not all credit for the recruiting success goes to their excessive wardrobe, but it definitely played a small part. From 2002-2006, Oregon’s average recruiting ranking for the best class in the country was 34th. Between 2007-2011 their average rank was 17th. (Rankings via Rivals-Yahoo)
A strong majority of college football “traditionalists” root against teams like Oregon. The Ducks are sub-par in every aspect of defense and they have over 100 uniform options. Regardless, their new-age culture is building a foundation that is putting them in the discussion of being a football powerhouse.
Paul Bentley is a contributor for Rant Sports
Follow Bentley on Twitter at @KKingBentley
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