With the Ducks enjoying extra preparation before next week’s Cardinalgeddon in Palo Alto, outside of a wild Northwestern vs Nebraska finish, the college football slate was fairly blasé. What more could one expect on a Duckless football Saturday than listless, unsatisfying competition? Here’s what November 2nd was really missing:
1. The Most Interesting Quarterback In The World — Those heart-melting brown eyes, one-million-watt smile, interception-less cannon arm and effortless charm, landed Marcus Mariota on a Most Beautiful Sports Figures list this fall. The definition of eye candy to NFL owners, he is . . . The Most Interesting Quarterback In The World. He doesn’t normally throw interceptions, but when he does, it is out of charity to defensive backs he has already torched.
2. Tongue-Twisted Announcers — Whether it’s the legendary Brent Musberger, the boisterous Gus Johnson or the hated Husky Brock Huard, Saturday was devoid of those mispronunciations that make a Ducks’ fan consider throwing his/her remote through their flat screen. Oregon’s exotic roster is filled with Ekpre-Olomus, Mario-TAHS, Havili-Heimulis, Keliikipis, and the now-famous Yruretagoyena. A phonetically-challenged announcer has become a tradition unlike any other during Duck telecasts.
3. Doctor Jekyll and Mister Helfrich — Up until August, Ducks’ fans had only seen cutaway shots of a calm, mild-mannered Mark Helfrich in the coaches’ booth, calling plays for the offense. He continued showing the humble persona in media interviews over the summer. What attentive observers have now recognized is the bulldog Oregon has acquired on their sideline. Fiery in timeout huddles and relentless with officials, Mark’s passion for his team is obvious and inspiring. A Colorado football writer commented to me in the media room at the postgame presser in Boulder that “Helfrich couldn’t recruit anyone of note during his time as an assistant with the Buffaloes, so I’d be surprised if he could recruit anyone to Oregon.” My response to him: “You sir, should be out of a job by now.”
4. Thunder and Lightning — If any other fan base claims a depth chart of better running backs than De’Anthony Thomas, Byron Marshall and Thomas Tyner, they are in need of evaluation for a dissociative disorder (we’re looking at you, SEC fan). The nation’s 2nd-best running attack stabled its thoroughbreds on Saturday, and that 331-yards-per-game average was missed by true fans of the game.
5. Lethal Weapon 5 — For all the nicknames floating out there for the Oregon secondary, I’m still attempting to get my submission reviewed by the five most-accomplished defensive backs Oregon has ever put on the field. I only half jest when I express concern that Erick Dargan may send a wideout into early retirement from football, before his career at Oregon is over. That secondary was not missed by Pac-12 quarterbacks this weekend, but the rest of us missed the opportunity to see the nation’s top lockdown unit. Kevin Hogan will likely be wishing he had another bye week, come Thursday night.