JD PicKell: Dan Lanning’s quick success helps in conference realignment talk

Justin Rudolph05/23/23
Article written by:On3 imageJustin Rudolph

On3’s JD PicKell is a fan of what he’s seeing going down in Eugene, OR, home of the Oregon Ducks. The Ducks have built themselves into a legitimate college football brand. Also, Oregon is doing a ton of things under the direction of second-year head coach Dan Lanning that has them in a position to be one of the better teams in the Pac-12 for years to come. But what does it all mean?

“So what does it mean? That’s great they’ve got a brand; that’s great they’ve got good players, but what does it mean? Does it mean they’ll have success down the line? Well yeah, what I’m trying to tell you is they’re gonna have good players to compete in those games down the line,” said PicKell.

“But what’s happening right now in college football? The tectonic plates are starting to shift within the conferences. We don’t know what’s going on with the Pac-12 right now. We don’t know what’s going to be going on with the ACC in however many months. The Big 12, seems to be something going on over there too. They’re going to be aggressive in adding teams. So in this game of musical chairs that looks like we’re just barreling down the hill towards a power two with the SEC and the Big Ten, Oregon is going to have an on-field product. An on-field brand that’s gonna be attractive to a lot of conferences when it comes time to add these pieces.”

In the past few years, there has been a significant amount of college conference realignment within the top of the NCAA. Teams like Texas, Oklahoma, USC, and UCLA are just a few programs that have jumped conferences shifting the balance of power within college sports. And if another power shift is on the way, Oregon has itself set up to be one of the most sought-after schools in the country.

Since the days when Joey Harrington was calling plays at quarterback for the Oregon offense, the Ducks have been a threat at the highest level in college football. And that has not changed and likely will not change under Lanning. But what has changed for Oregon is that they now have a defensive identity to complement their high-powered offensive ways. And that on-the-field identity, according to PicKell, will go a long way for them during the current madness with conference realignment.

“Yes, they got the Nike money. Yes, they got the brand,” he continued. “But when you have the on-field product to go with it, and you have the longevity, you have the trend of how they’re recruiting, that matters. How much? There’s a lot of people that wear suits and ties to work that know a lot more about that than me and take that into account. But I’m telling you that it matters without a shadow of a doubt.”

For PicKell, there are a lot of things that Oregon has in their favor, from being the alma mater of Nike’s co-founder Phil Knight. But one of the best things the Ducks have for themselves as we advance is a quality product and play on the field. And with Lanning there, that is one commodity that will not fade away any time soon.