Of course, I hope I’m wrong.
The Ducks have (for the most part) dominated the Beavers over the past decade, so like any green-blooded Oregon fan, I’d like to see the carnage continue. But the Ducks have played with fire so far this season by slipping and stumbling past supposedly lesser opponents in Stanford, WSU, and UCLA. A revamped offense and notable opt outs are sure contributors to the Ducks’ underwhelming start. Yet the outstanding recruiting classes that head coach Mario Cristobal has contributed to the program should be able to get it done against said lesser programs.
Unfortunately when the Beavers check the Ducks’ tape from a week ago, they’re going to see a team that couldn’t run the football effectively, a special teams unit that was mistake-ridden, and a defensive unit that couldn’t play consistently down the stretch.
But above all that, the most dangerous thing the Beavers will see? Hope.
As they smell Duck blood in the water, the Beavers are going to perhaps be more confident than they’ve ever been since the 2016 Oregon meltdown in Corvallis to close out the Mark Helfrich era. Beavers head coach Jonathan Smith would love nothing more than to poach a win against the state’s glamour program that is loaded with four-star and five-star talent, and ruin any chance (albeit against seemingly insurmountable odds) at a playoff bid in this condensed season.
Conversely, hopefully the Ducks will take the OSU game as an opportunity to step-up and live-up to their talent and expectations. Knowing that they are the superior program recruiting, coaching, and talent wise, it’s time to put on their big-boy pants and make a statement.
In the first rivalry game since the name being changed–which team will rise up, and take advantage of the opportunity before them? Are the Ducks poised for a get right game, or is this a potential trap game against a Beavers squad dangerously hopeful with nothing to lose?
Top photo credit: Tom Corno
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