Like most Duck fans, my mind was incoherently zooming around after watching the Ducks get utterly outclassed by the Utah Utes on Saturday evening, not quite sure what we had just witnessed. No doubt, it was a butt-kicking, but how did it get to this? We try to make sense of it all, but it eludes us.
I’ve had a couple days now to ponder what happened in Salt Lake City. There were hundreds of rambling thoughts racing around in my head, and for the sake of this post, I was able to capture a few of them — some good, some bad, and some ugly:
1) Funny how having a team in the College Football Playoff conversation changes who you might cheer for. With the Ducks in the hunt, I wanted Ohio State to win out and for Cincinnati to lose. But, now that the Ducks are out of it, I want Ohio State to lose (because I do not like them) and I want the “little guy,” Cincinnati, to win. Luckily, I am able to root for Alabama to lose in either scenario.
2) Something to ponder (from The Pac-12 Hotline): National ranking of Oregon’s recruiting classes for the past six years, per 247Sports: 27, 19, 13, 7, 11 and 6. Utah: 37, 33, 33, 42, 30 and 33. Hmmm…
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3) The Ducks cannot let Utah beat them twice, and I’m not just talking about the potential matchup in the Pac-12 Championship Game. I am talking about the mental and emotional toll on the Ducks from that blowout loss that could cause them to lose to Oregon State. This would bring about memories of 2007 when the Ducks were in the hunt for the BCS before Dennis Dixon hurt his knee and the Ducks lost three straight to end the regular season.
4) Speaking of that, the Ducks still have a ton to play for. An 11-2 record and a trip to the Rose Bowl is not too shabby. But, a complete meltdown starting with a loss to the Beavers would make for one of the longest off-seasons in program history. Who would have ever thought that in the same season Oregon could beat tOSU, but lose to OSU? Yikes.
5) The Ducks are also very young and have had many key injuries. Before the season, Many in the FishDuck.com community claimed that the Ducks were still a year away. So, an 11-2 season the year before the “it” season would be pretty good. Here’s to 2022!
6) Imagine if Anthony Brown (or his equivalent) had been the quarterback for the Ducks in 2019. Maybe the Ducks go 7-5? 6-6? 5-7?
7) With all the clamoring for Mario Cristobal to pull Brown and insert Ty Thompson, the reality is we do not know how good or not Thompson is right now. Just because a guy is a 5-star coming out of high school does not mean he is going to light it up in college. Top draft picks flop in the NFL and 5-star recruits can flop in college. Now, I am not saying he is going to be a flop, I am just saying that it is never a sure thing that a highly-touted player will become a star. Sometimes they are just OK.
8) Will Joe Moorhead get a head coaching gig? It would be nice to enter next year with the same two coordinators, as this has yet to happen during Cristobal’s tenure.
9) Do we really want to play Utah again? Of course we do — it is called redemption. That or getting your ass handed to you, again!
10) Speaking of rematches, perhaps I should root for Ohio State to win out and make the CFP instead of risking Oregon having to play them again in the Rose Bowl and possibly getting soundly beaten. That would have the feeling of erasing away the best win of the 2021 college football season.
Best to not lose what we already have.
Top photo credit: Harry Caston
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Darren Perkins is a sales professional and 1997 Oregon graduate. After finishing school, he escaped the rain and moved to sunny Southern California where he studied screenwriting for two years at UCLA. Darren grew up in Eugene and in 1980, at the tender age of five, he attended his first Oregon football game. His lasting memory from that experience was an enthusiastic Don Essig announcing to the crowd: “Reggie Ogburn, completes a pass to… Reggie Ogburn.” Captivated by such a thrilling play, Darren’s been hooked on Oregon football ever since. Currently living in Spokane, Darren enjoys flaunting his yellow and green superiority complex over friends and family in Cougar country.
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