Oregon’s 2020 Football Season Just Doesn’t Seem Real

Darren Perkins Editorials 50 Comments

It’s my birthday today. And while I am not a big birthday person (after 21, do any of them really matter?), it would have been a nice gift for our Ducks to be 2-0. This, of course, would have meant a gigantic victory over Ohio State, which would have gifted me the right to rub it into the faces of all my Ohio State buddies on social media.

Ironically, that would have included the editor of today’s article, Natalie Liebhaber. While Natalie is a huge Oregon fan, her first love is the school she grew up rooting for in good ole’ Ohio State. Something tells me if the Ducks had won, and I did give her grief about it, that the once perfectly-crafted article I had submitted for editing last night would have “somehow” suddenly been transformed into a putrid bile of spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, and nonsensical hogwash.  

Natalie then would have claimed to have had an “off day” when editing this piece. To which I would have responded, “An ‘off day’? You did it on purpose!”

It’s called revenge, Natalie! Jeez, I never knew you could be so vindictive (insert winking smiley face here).

But it didn’t really happen, so I digress.

Kevin Cline

All the COVID craziness has sucked the life out of the Ducks’ season.

Real Games or Practice Games?

As a kid, I remember growing up in 1980s Eugene where the little league programs for all sports were run by “ESP” (Eugene Sports Program), which then morphed into “Kidsports.” Before the start of every season, we would usually have a couple “practice games.” Ya know, games that do not count but gave you a chance to see where you were as a team before the real season started.

If the Ducks do have an eight-game conference season starting after the new year, doesn’t it feel like the games would just be glorified practice games for the 2021 season?

I mean, we already have players opting out because of COVID-19, while others have opted out to prepare for the NFL Draft. And of course, fan attendance would be limited, if allowed at all. Many would question the physical toll on players expected to play two seasons of football in the same calendar year. Nothing about this feels real to me. Like a spring game on steroids, they just don’t come remotely close to measuring up to the real feel of fall football.

It is like forcing yourself to go on a date with somebody you are not really in to, but thinking, “Ah what the heck, they’re OK looking; maybe we’ll find a spark.” And then two minutes into the date you realize you should have just trusted your instincts and stayed home because that spark you’re longing for just isn’t there.

That is the 2020 football season we are considering pretending to play it in 2021. We are desperate for that spark of real football, but it’s not going to happen. So, let’s not pretend to play “real” football and accept it for what it really is… practice.

Kevin Cline

Perhaps a glorified spring camp including “practice games” could be the answer.

Practice Season

Unless something dramatic occurs to get Pac-12 football started no later than early November, I say the Pac-12 throws in the towel on the idea of having any sort of “real” season. Teams should instead get an extended spring season that includes a spring game scrimmage and then four practice games against their closest Pac-12 foes. It would be like the NFL preseason, where winning would be nice, but nobody is going to lose sleep over a loss. It’s all about preparing for the real season starting in the fall.

Nobody loses a year of eligibility. People above my pay grade can figure out the scholarship and eligibility requirements — perhaps a bump in scholarship limits for a couple years, as well as expanded rosters.

The idea is to give these action-hungry athletes some serious reps and to let out the built-up frustration of not having played in so long, while coaches can work on scheme, depth charts, and overall team camaraderie. It would also give fans the chance to cheer without it being under the false veil of being real.

Because, just like the year 2020, real it is not.

Darren Perkins
Spokane, Washington
Top Photo by Kevin Cline

Natalie Liebhaber, the FishDuck.com Volunteer Editor for this article, works in the financial technology industry in Bozeman, Montana.

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Outside Linebacker Verbal today from North Carolina:

Jabrill McNeil, who is reported as a 4-Star on 247, but is a 3-Star on Rivals is a player considered to have a high upside. He was offered by Auburn, Arkansas, South Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee of the SEC, and from Oklahoma, West Virginia, North Carolina and Washington.

Distance means nothing to this hard-working coaching staff at Oregon!

Duck lifer

The Big10 just announced they will be starting in October and will be eligible for the playoffs… as a lifetime duck fan and an alum, I’ve never been that impressed with our conference in general, but this is embarrassing! We are always following the lead of other conferences. Its time to step up and take charge and be a leader instead of a follower. No wonder no one respects the pac12!

Jon Sousa

Here’s an interesting question. The Ducks fell out of the AP top 25 because they aren’t playing.

So, if the Ducks play a season starting in January, will they creep up in the polls if they win every week?????? Seems like they should, but no one would care.


If they started in January the rest of the conferences will have finished their seasons, and the Playoffs, as far as ESPN and Playoff Executive Director, Bill Hancock, will proceed as scheduled. It’s not like the Pac-12’s absence has been an issue anyway.



ESPN, however, reports that the Pac-12 is considering mid-November for its earliest possible return date. The conference is closely watching the actions of the Big Ten, no doubt concerned about being the only Power 5 group not playing football at some point.

The Pac-12 is poised to act should the Big Ten make any pronouncement this week on the resumption of football, a source said.

Jon Sousa

Sheesh…. Why cant the PAC take the lead in something. Are we the little sisters of the poor (tOSU) or something?

Steven A

Darren, Happy same birthday, although I think I am ahead of you having just said goodbye to my 60’s (I think).

It seems Spring football would be a glorified Spring training and beneficial to all involved with the “extra” practices that the entire team would get to help level the playing field for the teams that are playing now.

One concern I have if there is a spring season, although sports headlines are just now saying Pac 12 could start as early as Nov., is losing Moorehead if the Ducks O is outstanding in the spring. I want him around for at least one “Real” season, 2021.

Natalie Liebhaber

Happy birthday, Darren! Wishing you a year of good health, zero typos, dates with good chemistry, and an undefeated 2020 Oregon football season (one way or another).

Jon Joseph

Happy B’Day. Keep em’ coming. Stay on this side of the fairway as long as possible.

Mike Merrell

The year 2020 is not real? If only….

Jon Joseph

I think the Mayan calendar was off by 8 years?

David Marsh

I’m ready for 2020 to be over at this point… and I completely agree that a spring season would be nice but not satisfy our collective Oregon football hunger. I really would like some football right now… and yes there is some on on Saturdays but I just can’t make myself care enough to bother. Oregon isn’t involved in any way and the outcomes don’t influence Oregon in anyway so why do other College games matter right now?

I usually love fall… as a teacher it is the start of a new school year and I hate heat so we start to cool off… and then there are Oregon football games. Days that are usually so sacred to me that scheduling anything else during the game isn’t going to happen. Then if anything is scheduled during a game I try and find a way to get out of it so I can watch the game… also becoming questionably intense during the game.

This year doesn’t feel real right now… I’m ready for it to be over.


Oh, and as far as it being like watching practice, is watching the nine PAC games like that normally? Let’s think about this for a minute…sure the people who normally go to the games aren’t going to have a “normal” experience, but can you really say you only get excited to see them playing live and in person? Does that mean that every game you’re forced to watch on TV is just a ho-hum…I wonder if T.J. Hooker is on right now?

I haven’t been watching other sports, mainly because I’m pretty much over pro sports and their whining about everything, but I’m still a hockey fan and I’ve been watching the Cup playoffs…and honestly, other than the occasional funny sign someone has up against the glass I’ve been just as excited watching it without fans in the stands as I ever have been any other time. I just don’t see this being any different from a television aspect.


It used to be that I couldn’t watch an NBA or a MLB game from start to finish, but since they both started playing again, along with the NHL, I’ve been watching entire games. At first the lack of crowds was strange, but after a few minutes, I was so caught up in the games, the competition, that I was watching, and enjoying every minute.

Now, give me the Ducks starting back up, I can’t put a level on the excitement meter that would reach. Oh, and I couldn’t find, “TJ Hooker”, but, “The New Adventures Of Mike Hammer” is available.


Well as long as you’re not Googling Max Headroom, I think you’ll be just fine. Now if you’d’ve said Sledge Hammer…different story…


2020 has a giant asterisk on it already, no matter what conference is playing currently, or in the future.


I’m afraid it would be darker than that. starting a football season in 2021, after the rest of college football has finished would be beyond the pale. The hit the Pac-12 would take by being the only P5 conference not playing this fall would be bad enough; say NO to the Pac-12, 2021 Intramurals.

Jon Joseph

I agree that it may feel like watching practice but the media income from broadcasting a shortened season still spends.

We need the dues!

Jon Sousa

Yup. The money is still green.

And Darren….for those of us who know Natalie and know she would never do what you suggested in jest….it was a pretty funny scenario.

Natalie has been an incredible editor for us for SIX years, and she does editing for fun (can you believe that?) and she enjoys the banter with the writers. While she is a Buckeye, but she has turned into a big Oregon fan as well.

Knowing both of you…reading that made me LOL!

Charles, don’t worry; Darren and I will just fight on social media like normal people. Maybe his article would just happen to include one really embarrassing typo. Muahaha.

Seeing your “laugh” at the end was something (knowing you) that I simply could not picture…and made me burst out laughing.

Thanks so much for your expertise and sense of humor with us all Natalie…


It all doesn’t seem real. Other leagues and conferences are playing games, but the Pac-12 is nowhere to be seen.

Emotionally I can’t get over the fact that Oregon isn’t playing football this season. As many have said this is the fall and that means football.

Mentally, as Charles said, the risk isn’t worth it, I accept the reason for not playing.

It hasn’t added up yet for me. I am in denial and hope there is, at least, an abbreviated season this fall. I also hope they don’t try anything this winter or spring, as if it is over, then just let it go.

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

I originally thought there would be no sports until fall, 2021, but I do believe that with daily testing and a vaccine…that winter and spring sports can be played.

The Pac-12 has come this far trying to avoid being sued….should they just forget the football season and run a Pac-12 Basketball Bubble schedule as Kelly Graves has suggested?


We don’t want to become known as “the scaredy cat conference”. Let’s put things in place just like the Eastern conferences and get on with football.

Jon Sousa

COVID positive tests in Oregon are down to about 200 per day. (way down from the 1500-1700 per day predicted in mid-July for mid-August). Weekly new cases have dropped every week since the peak in mid-July. Vaccine might be out by late November. (estimates are “give or take 4 weeks”.)

All that is good news if you want fans in the stands in January.

I had not thought of it this way, but you make an excellent point Darren. And I did not anticipate all the feelings I have now, because we have not been through this before.

If we do have games this winter/spring, (and I now think we will, but these are guesses) they will not want many fans in the stands, and having a football game in Autzen in February will give them their wish. The worst possible time in Oregon to sit through a football game!

Don’t believe me? You cannot imagine how cold I would get for a home baseball in February….and that was under cover!

Jon Sousa

When Chip Kelley was the coach, he would say that the goal every year is to play in January. It looks like “mission accomplished”. …………………………..sigh.


I live in San Diego , I still listen to Portland sports talk radio every day , I’ve been a season ticket holder for 29 years , been going to games since 1973 ! I am have NO CLUE what time of year it is . We go to EVERY GAME home and away , so my fall saturdays are what I do !!!! Now , I was in my big recliner all day Saturday flipping from game to game in a FOG ! It was the RIGHT and very SAD call to call off the season , These players are ALL our children , and sometimes you gotta make the TOUGH calls in life !!

I hate this as much as any duck , and I’m empty inside . But the Heath of our children is far more important then being 2-0 , or 15-0 at this time ! We are the DUCKS , and there’s nothing better then that !!! God bless you all in my state , with the Terrible fires and smoke !! Be kind and loving to each other , and always say hello to everyone , and GO DUCKS


Agree with what you are saying here with one exception. If the heath of our children is far more important, than they are in the wrong sport. Every year there are lots of injuries that are life long and life threatening. Concussions and head injuries are still around and for all its woe’s widely accepted as part of the sport.

My point being is that the virus should not be any different. Treated differently, yes, but should not stop football altogether.

Mike West

Amen BDF,

But I don’t have a son, whom I’d advise to weigh the risks according to his priorities. I for one am not afraid of this virus. But that’s just me. Maybe my “son”would be.

Thats life. We weigh the risks according to our priorities. Thank God I live in America. At least I have the opportunity to weigh the risks associated with living life.

Happy Birthday Darren. Another great article as usual.


Somehow I think that the “date” you’d be on with a limited Oregon schedule, in attendance or on TV, the spark would not only be there as soon as the “fake” crowd noise started and the ball was flying through the air after the kicker gives it everything he has and the seconds start ticking off the clock….no matter what it may seem like now, seeing something other than a rerun, yeah, you’d want that second “date” probably even before the first one is over…


Unless something dramatic occurs to get Pac-12 football started – – – – Hopefully we will get a surprise if the B1G votes to start once again. That would force the Pac-12 to give in and start playing also or risk become more irrelevant than we are now.


Yep, the irrelevancy we’ve all seen circling the Pac-12 like a shark’s fin the past couple of seasons will go in for the kill if the Pac-12 is standing on the outside while the rest of the P5 is playing. It’s one thing to not be picked for the playoffs because you aren’t one of the cool kids, it’s another when you say, “nah, I’m good” and go home. A few weeks ago it was reported that the BIG Commissioner and Larry were talking about aligning their seasons; now we’re seeing that since then the BIG has been busy behind the scenes prepping for a vote of the presidents to reverse the postponement order, nothing emanating like that from the lavish PAC-12 offices.


nothing emanating like that from the lavish PAC-12 offices – – – Do you think its time to play the music “Turn off the lights the party is over” ??

Come on Larry Scott, it’s time to wake up and small the roses.


Have you guys not noticed that not only are Oregon players staying, pretty much the same as every other conference, playing or not, BUT the commits we have are enrolling early, and players are still committing? I mean come on, we see this as Duck fans who are used to getting the short end of the stick nationally, but the players, who are coming here nationally, see it as a family. Don’t sell the farm yet, boys…