No, no, no, I’m not talking about the Ducks…obviously.
This week, the Ducks will be on the road in Berkeley, facing a less-than-awesome Cal Bears team who has quite possibly hit rock bottom. They don’t have a chance at going to a bowl game, their star receiver is out, and their Coach, Jeff Tedford’s job is seriously in jeopardy. Add to this, a ton of other injured players and the sad reality that this is their worst season since 1984. Things can’t look much worse for the Bears as they close out their 2012 home game schedule playing the 3 Ducks. On the surface, the story line isn’t terribly exciting. [Enter a week-long writer’s Block]
1st Down- Behind the Scenes.
In reading through different Oregon football commentary leading up to this week’s match up, I absolutely struggled to find something exciting to talk about. Another blow out is expected and all eyes are on the next two weeks when Oregon faces Stanford and OSU, making this week another trip to Snoozeville- right? maybe not.
This is when character is revealed- not only for the players, but for the fans. It’s easy to get on the “We are kind of a big deal” bandwagon, as we all float on the Cloud 9 of college football, but let us all pause and reflect on the WTD philosophy we all wear proudly on our Shirts/Hats/Bumper Stickers. As the players put it, each game is the Super Bowl- every game matters- even Cal. Every opponent has to be “faceless”. The Ducks have to prepare the same for Cal as they do for USC, Stanford and OSU, even IF they are a 28 point favorite. Things happen on any given day. Champions know this, and I think It’s safe to say this group of Ducks are champions in the making.
So, as easy it is for all of us Duck fans to put on our big britches , put on your WTD shirts and cheer as if it’s a nail-biter- even if it’s only for the first half.
2nd Down- “X’s and O’s”
Trap Game– A game a team loses because they expect to win and don’t prepare well enough.
3rd Down- “What to Watch”
If I’m being honest, I do think the Ducks will dominate tomorrow, but the Cal Bears will come out swinging. The only thing they have to look forward to this season is knocking off the Ducks. This is their Super Bowl. Unless they’ve already given up, expect them to come out blazing, doing whatever they can to get the upper hand.
The Ducks will obviously come out and do what they do- score! A lot. There’s been a ton of talk about Kenjon Barner this week as he’s climbed up to the #2 spot on the Heisman watch list (with good reason), so most will naturally expect him to get the ball a lot this game- to “pad” his stats. However, I think there’s a few players, who have been pretty quiet lately, that will play a bigger role as Barner rests up for later games. I expect De’Anthony and Byron Marshall to run the ball quite a bit and I fully expect Josh Huff to be the shining star this game. He finally returned as a star last week, and the Ducks only need him to get better with more playing time, as they close out their schedule.
As always, watch for Mr. Island Finesse himself to continue working on his passing game- mainly because it should be his last “easy” opportunity to do so.
4th Down- “Prediction”
After all my preaching about “Winning The Day” and “faceless opponents”, I should probably be conservative, but I do have to be realistic here….
I expect the Ducks to dominate, if they have prepared as I expect they have.
Given what Oregon did to USC last week, I’m going to go ahead and say 56-17 Ducks, only because the starters will be out by the half. Again, not a given, but likely.
There you have it Duck fans. WTD. See ya back on Cloud 9 after the game, but for now, join me on Cloud 6…or 7.