America’s Team, Its Dream, and the Commissioner’s Failed Scheme

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America’s Team Last week, I wrote that Oregon’s likeliest path (if the Ducks kept playing) was a dream scenario of games against Arizona, Florida State, and Alabama. Then the Selection Committee decided to jump TCU up to three last Tuesday, trying to ruin everyone’s good time in the process. In the end, logic prevailed (depending on your perspective), and that …

Uncharted Territory on the Path of Unfathomability

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It is a run of historically unprecedented success for the Ducks. Five straight eleven-win seasons. Seven straight ten-win seasons. Four consecutive BCS bowl appearances during that run. Yet in every season going back nearly a decade, Oregon’s success has often come in spite of its play in November rather than because of it.  Consider these November speedbumps: 2006: 7-2 after …

Legacy, Finale, and Future of Oregon and Its Quarterback

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The star of Saturday’s postgame press conference wasn’t the Heisman Trophy candidate who had possibly played his final home game, or any of the seniors who certainly did finish their careers in Eugene that day. Rather, it was the junior reporter whose question about “Jesus, girls and Marcus Mariota” made him a viral star over the weekend. While his delivery …

Duck Football Successful So Far, But Many Steps Remain

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The closer it gets, the more fathomable the dream of a title becomes. Win the final two regular season games against arguably the conference’s two worst teams. Get healthy, then a neutral-site matchup against whoever emerges from that clustered South division in a stadium that the Ducks are the only college football team to ever win a game in the …

Madness Comes Every Seventh Year

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Seven. No number has more mythology or legend associated with it. Many classic tales center on the premise of an occurrence “every seven years.” Football, a sport where the value of its primary form of scoring totals seven points, isn’t immune to this lore. College football, in particular, in the 21st century (the first century since the game’s invention that …

Problem Solving with Stanford-Oregon

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If you are an Oregon fan, chances are you woke up happy on Sunday morning.  (Unless you really celebrated on Saturday.) That extra hour of sleep was nice, certainly. The enjoyment of that victory can’t be overstated. But the greatest source of happiness was things returning to normal again. Oregon is on top of the conference, and Stanford stopped pretending it …

Marcus Mariota: Greatest Duck Quarterback Ever?

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As with any Duck game I watch on television, the usual texts went back and forth between friends during Friday night’s game. The topics were likely the same as they were for many others watching the game: Dwayne Stanford’s breakout first half. Lofty projections of Royce Freeman’s career. (Three Doak Walker awards? Or four?) Byron Marshall’s big game in his …

Consistency Amidst the Chaos

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Much of the narrative for Oregon fans this season has centered on the uncertainty many have felt about the possible outcomes from week-to-week. In recent years, the Ducks had always been a near-certainty to defeat any team it was clearly better than; only in the last year or so has that certainty begun to shift. Prior to that return to …

How 2014 is like 2007, and How It Isn’t

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Imagine if the 2007 season never ended. That was the obvious connection following week six. Not just among the college football landscape because of tumultĀ among the nation’s top teams, but within the dynamic of Oregon’s own team. Just as in 2007, Oregon started the season looking like one of the best teams in the nation, jumping out to a 4-0 …

How to Properly Complain About and Fix an Officiating Problem

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There are a few rules to complaining about officiating: Do So Sparingly. There are varying timelines regarding how long people want to discuss a game’s officiating and its effect on the outcome, from those with zero tolerance on its discussion to those who will talk until they’re hoarse, but the one constant is that some point everyone will fatigue on …

Ruining the Season: An Arizona Specialty

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“Bear Down.” It is the official motto of the University of Arizona, a slogan based on a Gipper-ish legend of a former player’s message to his team. Lying in his hospital bed in 1926, starting quarterback John “Button” Salmon told coach Pop McKale (yes, that McKale) on his final hospital visit to Salmon, “…Tell the team to bear down.” The motto …

Surviving Pullman on Struggling Saturday

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This is what we wanted, right? The Oregon fan’s burden has always been that there will never be enough respect for the Ducks: that the offense is a gimmick, that their schedule isn’t tough enough, largely due to playing in an underwhelming conference. They’re told the Pac-12 isn’t anywhere near as good as the mighty SEC, winner of seven of …