It finally happened. Writer’s block. All Week.
It’s only game #5 and I was completely stumped. I know, I know. We are supposed to join the team in considering each opponent faceless, but it really gets tough. Let’s be honest, tomorrow isn’t a super bowl. I suppose anything can happen, but it likely won’t. Sure, the Buffs are improving but the stars may just have to align if they are going to have a chance. To put things in perspective, their first goal is to compete into the second half, because no one has been able to do that so far. That brings us to the #1 of 5 things to keep you watching what may very likely be the football version of Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball video- minus the skimpy bikini and seductive licking of the large sledgehammer.
1. Will the Buffs stay competitive into the 3rd quarter?
As with every Duck opponent at this point, Colorado will come out swinging. They may even get a few points on the board, but when they finally get a real taste of Oregon’s well-executed and speedy offense, things will likely go down hill. Watch how long they stay hyped up. If you really need something else to do, feel free to set a timer. OK, Just kidding.
2. Colorado WR Paul Richardson
If the Buffs have any stars on their team, it will likely be Richardson. He was an up-and-coming star before being out injured the past year or two. He’s now on the rebound and has taken the Buffalo by the horns. Watch to see if he’s able to perform with a fiesty Oregon secondary lookin’ to steal those horns (Tatonka).
3. Marcus Mariota Breakout
Although Mariota humbly refers to Heisman talk as “outside noise”, there’s many a Duck fan and the entire state of Hawaii pulling for Mariota to make that January trip to NYC. What’s lacking from Mariota is a higher “Pass-Efficiency Rating”- basically how many passes he gets to a receiver’s hands. With limited distractions and a “growing” Colorado team, Mariota stands to improve this rating and thus, his Heisman campaign. Watch for him to be on FIRE.
4. Byron Marshall and Thomas Tyner
With Duck Nation’s beloved Running Back, De’Anthony Thomas presumably out this week due to injury, RB’s Marshall and true freshman, Thomas Tyner, will be carrying most of the load. Both have told me they continue to learn a lot of DAT, who spends a lot of time pushing them and helping them learn from mistakes. This is why it’s important for the stars to also be good leaders and mentors. Both of these guys have had some ball security issues (fumbles), but both have also done amazing things this year. I predict both will have a big game- each rushing over 100 yards. Use this prediction at your game-watching parties and then watch to see if you get bragging rights.
5. Can the Ducks play 4 strong quarters?
I know it sounds funny given how unstoppable the Ducks have been, but as Coach Aliotti said last week, “The End of that thing (Cal game) was pretty sloppy.” The Ducks also struggled during certain quarters of the previous games as well. I say, “struggle,” but really I just mean, they let off the gas a bit. Obviously it hasn’t mattered much but I know the Ducks expect better of themselves-if that’s even possible. Look for the guys to finish strong, proving they can do it as they move into the more challenging stretch of. . . faceless opponents.