Saying it’s been a rough couple of weeks for Oregon Football may be an understatement.
After a glorious rise to the top ranks of college football, the Ducks and their fans find themselves in territory not seen in many, many years. After losing 3 consecutive games for the first time in almost a decade, fans have spent the week crying green and yellow tears- some whimpered and others had full blown tantrums, calling for drastic changes from the top down.
Now that the dust has settled, all that’s left to do is look ahead to Oregon’s next opponent. This time though, even the Oregon coaches are having a hard time considering it “faceless”. It is the Washington Huskies after all. The Rivalry is heated and ruthless- arguably the best game of the year- especially in recent years, when Oregon is hot and expected to put the smack down on the Dawgs.
Oregon has beaten Washington for the past 12 years but this year, the streak is widely expected to end. With the Huskies coming into Autzen at least an 8 point favorite and Oregon’s recent performances leaving much to be desired, it appears a miracle may be in order if the Ducks will come out ahead.
Make no mistake, there’s a lot on the line for both teams. For Washington, a win will keep their playoff and National Championship hopes alive. For Oregon, a win will not only keep the 12 game winning streak alive, it will restore hope that Oregon is not falling off the cliff and perhaps patience should be its virtue.
At this point, though, even the most loyal of Ducks fans have little faith in the streak staying alive. But what if the improbable happened, just like that legendary day in 1994 when Kenny Wheaton stole the show?
What if the Autzen sell out streak started again and a faithful crowd was rewarded?
What if another legend was born and led the Ducks to victory? (A notion not all that far-fetched with guys like freshman linebacker, Troy Dye, showing flashes of greatness and quarterback and home town hero, Justin Herbert, expected to make his first career start).
What if the defense made just enough improvement to make just enough stops? And, what if they caused just enough turnovers to electrify the home crowd and shift momentum?
What if Herbert was protected and not only served as point guard, getting the ball to clutch receivers like Darren Carrington and Charles Nelson, but also made big plays with his feet?
Speaking of Carrington and Nelson. . .
What if they also took just one punt or kick-off return back to the house?
What if Royce Freeman, Kanai Benoit, Tony Brooks-James and Taj Griffin worked to confuse the defense?
What if Washington came in underestimating this team of Ducks and left Autzen licking their wounds?
And . . . what if Mark Helfrich coached the game of his life and silenced the critics . . .at least temporarily?
With so much in question, what if we just all hoped (and prayed) for the best?
Hey! It’s either that or tantruming.