Helfrich thinks Ducks can sustain success

Mark Helfrich and the Oregon Ducks could be in danger of falling back to the pack in the Pac-12. Steve Dykes/Getty Images

BRISTOL, Conn. -- When we compiled our Future Power Rankings earlier in July, the Oregon Ducks -- a very popular playoff pick in 2014 -- came in at just 13th.

Seem low for such a big college football brand? A lot of the skepticism surrounding the Ducks' near-term prospects can be traced back to the uncertainty in the transition from Chip Kelly to second-year head coach Mark Helfrich.

“I don’t think there’s a close No. 2 when it comes to the pressure to win right now,” FPR panelist Brock Huard said. “That’s not a hot-seat conversation. It’s a reality of where their program is, to the heights that Chip Kelly took it. You kind of have to win now. Or else.”

The Ducks should win now. A quick survey of the depth chart shows it’s a veteran roster. In addition to Heisman contender Marcus Mariota at QB, both lines have experienced starters. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu is an All-American returning at CB.

Oregon’s push to remain sustainable leads my takeaways from last week’s Pac-12 and Big 12 car wash stops at ESPN HQ.

I asked Helfrich on Friday about the idea of win-or-else.