Over 76,000 fans packed Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta for one the most anticipated opening week match-ups of the 2022 College Football season.
All through spring training and fall camp, new Oregon Head Coach Dan Lanning refused to let the media and fans in on who would be starting at quarterback for Oregon in this mammoth game. On Saturday he revealed, to the surprise of hardly anyone, that veteran transfer Bo Nix had secured the job.
Ty Thompson, a 5-star quarterback and No.9 recruit in the country out of high school, was placed behind a veteran transfer for the second consecutive season. Not only that, but in a game that was pretty much over by halftime, Thompson still never even saw the field.
Granted, throwing Thompson in against a team like Georgia may have been baptism by fire, but so was starting Freshman Justin Herbert against CFP-bound Washington in 2016, and that turned out fairly well for the Ducks in the end, suffice to say.
Nix was 21 of 37 for 173 yards, no touchdowns, and two interceptions. Would Thompson necessarily have fared any better? Against a team like Georgia, which tossed Oregon all over the field like a rag doll, it’s certainly not a given.
But given that the Bulldogs were up by 39 points heading into the fourth and with Oregon moving about as much as a glacier on offense, did he at least deserve some time in the game? Likely most fans would say yes.
Let’s not hit the panic button yet though. Yes, Saturday was humiliating, but the whole rest of the season lies before the Ducks. Nix may well find his groove, Oregon may well have a winning streak, and Thompson may just be relegated to backup one more time.
But with 5-star quarterback Dante Moore on his way to Eugene next year, will Thompson take a back seat again? What if Nix plays inconsistently enough that he doesn’t want to test the NFL waters yet and returns to Oregon for a second round?
The proof is in the pudding, and if Thompson hasn’t earned the starting quarterback position with his performances in practice, spring ball, or fall camp under two different coaches, maybe he isn’t ready for the pressure of starting for a program that has experienced the success Oregon has over the last decade.
What frustrates many is the lack of evidence we have of what Thompson is capable of in-game, having only played significant minutes against Stony Brook last season, and even then he only had nine pass attempts and 82 yards total.