Friday, November 15, 2013

Who Are Utes? No Bandwagoners Allowed

Remember, you swore off this team, so don't forget to never come back.
“AND STAY OFF!”

That's my message to Oregon “fans” scrambling off the National Championship bandwagon after last Thursday's loss to Stanford. Yes, jumpers, your team is awful. Since the start of the 2009 season, you've lost eight games. The Colorado victory this fall was your 50th win since 2009, less than five years. In the 1980's, Oregon won 50 games total. And that's only because they won eight in 2009 for Oregon's first bowl appearance in more than two decades. You've been to four straight BCS games and will go to a fifth if Stanford is your only loss on the season.

Clearly, this year's team is unwatchable. So go away. Don't forget to never come back.

Many people are predicting the Ducks will come back big time and take up residence in blowout city this week against Utah. But Utah is a much better team than you think they are. They only have one conference victory this season, but that was against Stanford. You know, the team that dominated the Ducks for 46 minutes last week. Their two losses to ranked teams (UCLA and Arizona State) have been by a combined eight points. They should have beaten Oregon State (51-48, Overtime).

Instead of thinking about a Ducks victory, let us instead consider what will happen if Oregon somehow loses to Utah. This entire summer, I said to people, “What happens the year Oregon goes 10-2 or 9-3 and goes to the Alamo Bowl? What happens? Because is will happen sometime.”

That happens only when you lose to teams you shouldn't lose to. Oregon hasn't lost one of those games in a long time. You could argue the last one was Boise State, Chip's first game ever as head coach. But Boise State was pretty good back then. I would argue it's the 2007 Civil War, the first time the home team lost the Civil War in more than a decade. The Ducks were on their third or fourth quarterback of the year, it was an overtime loss... but both teams were just about equal, and all things being equal, you've got to hold serve in the big rivalry game. They didn't.

So it's got to happen sometime. Here's a week it could happen. The other times Oregon's had a banged-up quarterback, the schedule has given them a break. Namely, it's given them Colorado the last two years. In 2011, that was the game Darron Thomas and LaMichael James were out, Bryan Bennett and Kenjon Barner got to start, and Oregon won 45-2. The Buffs only scored on Cliff Harris being stupid fielding a punt in the end zone. Last year, Oregon was coming off a questionable Arizona State performance, and De'Anthony Thomas ownedthe day.

This year, Oregon has a banged up quarterback, and the Utes know they can play with the big boys. Having already beaten Stanford, they will not be lacking for confidence coming into Autzen. Their gameplan will be to put pressure banged up Marcus Mariota and try to force him to throw and run. Anytime a quarterback who is the unquestioned starter has to say “I'm definitely going to start,” as Marcus did this week.... and he's hurt, that's just how it is. If you have to defend starting the best QB in the conference, your QB is hurt. End of story.

No, I don't really think Utah comes in a pulls the massive upset. But the truth is, for the first time in a long time, it looks like it's possible. If, however, Oregon dominates and a much-better-playing USC beats Stanford in the Coliseum....

And that could totally happen. The Trojans are playing with major confidence now and look like the team they should be....

the Ducks then are back in the driver's seat for the Pac-12 Championship, and a lot more. But don't forget, you already jumped off the bandwagon. Stay off, because this team is terrible. Remember what you said after last Thursday? Don't forget to never come back. 
Thank you, drive through.
photos courtesy: saturdaydownsouth.com and fanaticsportsandcards.com