Keyshawn Johnson, on the sports talk show “Undisputed,” essentially implied it to be subversive behavior when coaches gave Danning Lanning information on the Colorado Buffaloes. As if Neon Deion Sanders is the victim. I sarcastically say that God knows such a tactic would be below the standards of Sanders, a first-year coach and media darling who slashed his roster and callously sent dozens of his players packing. I am not criticizing; he worked within the rules, but I am not going to paint him as some sort of above-reproach figure.
Some are making out the whole Neon Deion hoopla to be a social issue. Nah. Sanders loves the limelight and when you act in a brash, cocky, and cavalier fashion you become divisive (think Dallas Cowboys or USC) and people will tend to love you or hate you, which is exactly what Sanders wants as he makes all the headlines and gets all the “clicks.” He knows it comes with the territory; he has been this way his whole life. Part of the end result is that some of the coaches who are not fans of his act may have gone out of their way to help Lanning.
So, be it.
Over the past 25 years, the Oregon program has acted in ways that have made college football fans love or hate the Ducks — the Nike connection, the flashy uniforms, the billboards, the Chip Kelly blur offense, and the idea that Oregon has “bought” its way into becoming a national brand. Oregon was brash and outgoing, which rubbed some people the wrong way, but that is what the Ducks successfully signed up for.
Lanning showed off a little showmanship of his own. I really, really doubt that his pre-game speech, half-time interview, and post-game presser (wearing a “B0-Dacious” shirt) were merely off-the-cuff comments. They were premeditated, dramatic, marketing-savvy attention-getters.
And it worked.
Cougin-it! Watch out for Wazzu! The Cougars couged-it on couging-it. Up by 17 in the fourth quarter, WSU almost gave it away but they surprisingly screwed up choking the game away. So, they Couged their Couging-it. Apparently, this whole Pac-2 thing has them steering in a new direction.
Holy Huskies! Washington scares me. Michael Penix is so deadly accurate on his long bombs that you would think they were laser-guided by the military. The way he methodically works through his progressions tells me he is a no-brainer first-round pick. And, that the Ducks will have to get massive pressure on him. Washington’s defense is much improved from last year, kind of like the Ducks’ D.
Tough Sh*t Trojans! One game summary I read on a sports website said that the “Trojans outlasted the Sun Devils.” They had to “outlast” ASU? Hmmm… it appears the defensive woes are continuing for Lincoln Riley and the Trojans.
Primetime Television: Like it or not, the Sanders insanity is for real as the numbers do not lie. Oregon-Colorado recorded 10.03 million viewers on ABC, per Nielsen. Notre Dame-Ohio State drew 9.98 million viewers on NBC. Let that sink in for a moment.
Four million viewers is considered a highly successful viewership. Obviously, big-time games like Ohio State-Notre Dame blow that out of the water. But, a game with Colorado in it? Wow. Nice to see the Ducks take full advantage of the hoopla.
Stanford is Next
The schedule has really played out nicely for the Ducks. The first five games, before entering the tough stretch starting on October 14th (at UW), were essentially warm-up games (yes, Sanders, that includes you) to work out the kinks. The road game at Texas Tech was a good test in resolve against a not-great but dangerous team in their own hotter-than-hell backyard.
My big point is that Oregon should be in full stride by the time they hit the heart of their schedule. Buckle up, the ride has just begun.
Top photo credit: Oregon Football X Account
Natalie Liebhaber, the FishDuck.com Volunteer Editor for this article, works in technology in SLC, Utah.
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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