Somebody had to lose.
In a long history of gridiron battles, the first-ever top 10 matchup between longtime Pacific Northwest rivals the No. 8 Oregon Ducks and No. 7 Washington Huskies was a doozy — a titanic slugfest between two very polished teams.
This time, the Dub ended up with the “W.” After the game, a close friend of mine who is a lifelong Husky fan reminded me: “Dude, you guys kicked our butts for a decade. We were due.”
Yes, it’s a bummer losing to Washington. There’s something visceral about losing to the purple and gold. I don’t know where it comes from, but it was instilled in me by my father, who got it from his dad, and so on. It’s just one of those things. Like the sky is blue, the Ducks hate the Dawgs.
But for Oregon fans stepping out onto the windowsill and looking to jump, let’s take a moment to reflect on the loss. It’s not the season-ending dream killer many of us might have thought when the final seconds ticked away in Seattle.
First, much of the national media, analysts, and playoff committee members watching the early 12:30 p.m. game walked away impressed by Oregon’s performance. The Ducks demonstrated they are one of the top two teams in the Pac-12 and are still in the mix for a New Year’s Day Six (perhaps the Cotton Bowl against Oklahoma?)
The Ducks weren’t blown out. This game was a thrill ride from start to finish. The game could have gone either way, but for a couple of plays that just fell short of the mark. Look at USC, a team that finally got exposed by a better Notre Dame team in a shellacking that sent them flying arse over teakettle out of the top 10. That’s not what happened to the Ducks.
Sure, a few field goals might have changed the game’s outcome. Maybe. Shoulda, woulda coulda… We all know that’s not what Oregon coach Dan Lanning was thinking at the time. Lanning, an aggressive coach who believes in his players and team, wanted a touchdown to seal the road win. I can’t blame him for that.
There are such things as good losses. A highly-ranked Huskies team is the best loss Oregon could experience right now. And the latest AP poll after Week 8 has the Ducks at No. 9, slipping just one spot after Saturday’s defeat on the road. That’s saying something. Everyone walked away from that game knowing Oregon deserves to be in the top 10. Let’s tip our cap to Michael Penix Jr. and the Dawgs and keep plowing forward.
Lastly, I’ll say this: Just like every season, things get crazy in November. A lot can and will change. Enough to put Oregon in the College Football Playoff? I don’t know. But the Ducks still have more football to play and more teams to beat. If they take care of business and play like they did against an excellent Washington team, they will land on their webfeet.
Jordan is a lifelong Duck fan currently living in San Diego. Jordan graduated from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, after serving a prestigious fellowship with the Washington State House of Representatives. Upon graduation, he worked as an English language teaching assistant for the Spanish Ministry of Education’s Ambassadorial Program in Monforte de Lemos, Spain. Jordan has worked as a journalist, writer, and editor in Oregon, Washington, Montana, and California, covering a wide range of topics, including sports, local politics, and crime. He is VERY excited to be writing about his beloved Oregon Ducks.
FishDuck Going to Articles on Monday and Tuesday Only…
Our off-season schedule begins, and we move from publishing articles seven days a week to Mondays and Tuesdays only. Same great group of writers, and we will have an article on other days on occasion.
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