Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Tale of the tape: Oregon-Washington
By Erik McKinney
There should be a big of intrigue on the recruiting trail during this cycle when it comes to the Oregon-Washington rivalry. Ducks head coach Mark Helfrich heads into his second year as the leader at Oregon, while Washington counters with almost a completely new staff, headed by Chris Petersen. The rivalry between these two programs has been anything but that on the field of late, as Oregon owns 10 consecutive wins in the series. However, Petersen brings a 2-0 record against the Ducks to Seattle and will undoubtedly use that fact on the recruiting trail.
It's a big year for talent in the state of Washington, so the Ducks will head north early and often for the 2015 class. Several prospects, such as Roberts, Potoae and Throckmorton, could come down to head-to-head battles, but many recruiting victories for both programs will come over other schools. Oregon will be up nationally against Florida and Texas programs; Washington will need to make its mark in California, likely going head to head against UCLA or USC.
What Mark Helfrich is selling: Success, in the form of six consecutive double-digit win seasons and three straight bowl wins, including two BCS games. Oregon is now synonymous with winning after Chip Kelly's tenure, and an offer from the Ducks carries as much weight as one from any of the national powers. Helfrich also has all the glitz of Nike at his disposal. While several programs are spending more and more time and money on uniform technology, the Ducks always seem a step ahead when it comes to that trend. On top of that, the new football facilities in Eugene can sell recruits in the matter of a few minutes.
What Chris Petersen is selling: Success, in the form of eight terrific years at Boise State, which turned Petersen into one of the hottest names in college football coaching. Washington is on the rise after a nine-win season in 2013, with a very close loss to Stanford. Location will always be a bonus for the Huskies and there's plenty of excitement among recruits to see what Petersen is capable of achieving in the Pac-12. Like the Ducks, the Huskies can also show off a new football facility -- as well as a renovated stadium -- when hosting recruits.
2015 prediction: It says something that Petersen was able to reel in two ESPN 300 prospects as well as one of the state's top linemen to close out the 2014 class. It also says something that the Huskies already have commitments from two of the top 2015 prospects in the state. If Petersen's first season on the field is a success, it's likely that the Huskies will be able to lock down the local prospects, which could result in a very big year on the recruiting trail. The Ducks, meanwhile, might not see too much of the Huskies on the trail. Oregon's top six recruits in the 2014 class came from Texas, California, Florida, Louisiana, Arizona and Kansas, respectively. This year is likely to see more of the same, as the Ducks continue to put a national slant to their recruiting efforts.