Better lucky, or good?

Forbes Magazine recently posed that question about a team we like to follow (The Oregon Ducks football team). A timely post, considering that he Ducks play against the Texas Longhorns in a few hours in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, TX.

The author argues that while luck has played a role in the Ducks' success - in particular, "getting lucky" by nabbing a generous benefactor in alumnus Phil Knight of Nike - the Ducks are really great because they obtained great "return on luck" - i.e., they made the most of their opportunities.

We'd go a step further to say that the Ducks helped create their own luck.

First off, Mr. Knight's success in business can be attributed, at least in part (and by Mr. Knight himself), to the education he received at the U of O. He's paying it forward to other Oregon students and athletes.

Second, the U of O athletic department made a commitment to success in their football program. They didn't wait for Phil Knight to make donations - their hard work started much sooner. And they continue to do so.

Third, as the article goes on to remind us, Oregon's values played a big part in their success. It's what has kept their coaches on staff for, in most cases, decades - unheard of in college sports. In fact, tonight's game is the last for defensive coach Nick Aliotti, who is retiring after 24 years with the program. Not cashing in on a move to, say (ironically), Texas, who is in a coach-recruitment mode and has big bucks to spend. It's why star QB Marcus Mariotta wants to return for his senior year rather than enter the lucrative NFL draft early.

We're rooting for the Ducks tonight. We hope that they get a few breaks. But we also just hope that they're good - as they usually are.

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