Look, for starters, there are hundreds of reasons why it’s OK Oregon lost. There are the “excuse-y” reasons, like how the team was on the road against one of the toughest defenses in the nation — starting a QB who’s been with the offense for roughly a month now.
There are the obvious reasons why it’s OK, like how Oregon lost to a worse team than MSU last year and still made the playoffs. There are the obscure reasons, like how Oregon is now 0-2 in big games against the B1G when wearing white and black jerseys.
But here’s the reason I like the best: Football teams lose. It’s Week 2, and no one’s playoff fate is sealed. Ohio State proved that last year.
What I watched wasn’t perfect. It appeared Vernon Adams struggled to see over his offensive line at times, which forced him to make some bad decisions.
The secondary played better but is still far away from where it needs to be. Oh, and don’t get me started on special teams.
But, it wasn’t bad. Oregon barely won last year against MSU, despite what the 19-point victory might show. It was a tight game for three quarters until Oregon got some momentum and finally put MSU away at home.
So this year, without the best player Oregon football has ever seen, is it terribly surprising the Ducks lost to a football team which has lost only three games in two (plus) years, now — a team that stuck with them until the end just a season ago?
I’m not looking for you all, or anyone for that matter, to embrace losing. As Duck fans we hold our team to a certain standard, a standard that the team has set for itself. But, just maybe, we let this one go. This isn’t the upset at home to Arizona (on my birthday, by the way).
I don’t know about you, but I’m proud to represent the University of Oregon today. The team fought hard against one of the nation’s best, but more importantly, they did it admirably. There was no poor sportsmanship, nor was there a lack of class. Oregon fought til the very end last night, but when it was said and done, they simply lost to the better team, not unlike the National Championship last January.
There were a lot of positives to take away from this game. Bralon Addison got some momentum, proving he still has the same big-play ability he showed before his injury last season.
The defense, namely the linebackers, played with a much higher intensity than what we saw against EWU.
Adams bounced back from a tough first half and protected the ball, making mostly smart decisions (and some very tough throws, might I add).
But, most importantly, Oregon showed flashes of what it could be — of what it wants to be. And let me make this very clear — of what it will be.
Vernon Adams will continue to grow and the offense will mesh more as the season goes on. The young members of the secondary will learn from experience. Everything will get better and faster, and sooner than you know it, this year’s Ducks will closely resemble last year’s team (minus one notable 6-foot-4 Hawaiian).
In short, everything is okay. Don’t let this loss ruin your weekend, or week for that matter. There were a lot of moments to take away from this game that give me hope for the rest of this season, and come playoff time who knows where our Ducks will be.
And, I think more importantly than anything else, please remember it’s just a game. Oregon, in partnership with Nike, released an exceptional video parodying the comedy classic Animal House.
In that video we fans witnessed Marcus Mariota playing John Belushi’s infamous Bluto, Joey Harrington singing the words to Otis Day and the Knight’s beloved “Shout” as Otter, and countless other former athletes and stars reuniting to have fun together as Ducks.
Years from now these players won’t remember this game, just like last year’s team won’t remember the loss to Arizona. These guys remember the emotional wins, the bonding of brothers, and the first time one walks through the tunnel onto the sweet, sweet Autzen turf.
Please, do not let this loss define the Ducks’ season, or how you view them. Instead, rejoice in the fact that you love and support a team that fought one of the best football teams in the nation until the last minute.
Instead of sorrow, rejoice in the fact your beloved team didn’t have to go to overtime to defeat an FCS team (Auburn, anyone?). Sure this loss hurt, but this team will grow from it. Our Ducks will take it in stride.
Oh, and for Spartan fans only, you can bet your ass come playoff time Adams will connect with Byron Marshall on that second down. You got lucky, but we’re coming for you.
Top photo from John Sperry