Saturday, November 21, 2009

Good Luck Ducks, Week 12: One More for the Road

It's time for the Ducks final road game of the season, and it happens to come against a very formidable opponent: the Arizona Wildcats. I'm not going to gloss over the grizzly facts here. The last two times the Ducks played in Tucson, they lost their starting quarterback. In 2005, Kellen Clemens was having his greatest college football season when he broke his leg at Arizona. He was relieved by the backup tandem of a young Dennis Dixon and one Brady Leaf, who eventually led the Ducks to victory in spite of the turmoil. That would be the end of Kellen's college career. Two seasons later, Oregon was ranked #2 in the nation when Heisman hopeful Dixon found himself twisted and torn down to the turf in Tucson, no longer able to play through what was revealed to be an ACL tear. Like Clemens, Dixon's college career ended in the desert.

Here we are in 2009 and the Wildcats have yet to lose at home. Why am I optimistic about this game? I don't really think Arizona has the weapons to handle the Ducks defense. Oregon's D was overmatched against Stanford and probably would have some difficulties with Boise State should they meet again, but there are very few teams out there who I think can't be shut down by Oregon defenders. Should rotten luck prevail, though, at least I can say that this won't be Jeremiah Masoli's last collegiate game. He's a junior.

I am temporarily low on Ducks cards that I haven't scanned already, so I was tempted to recycle a Dennis Dixon card because they've been pretty lucky so far. Ultimately, I ended up going with an Akili Smith 2000 Topps Bengals card even though I couldn't find any Akili Smith highlights versus Arizona. I already covered the 1994 game against the Wildcats in detail last season, which still ranks among my very favorite football games of all time.

I dug up this highlight instead:

5:00 PM PDT start on ABC. It's a split regional broadcast - some of you directionally challenged Americans will end up seeing the Texas Longhorns and the Kansas Jayhawks. Expect that one to be over by halftime. Sorry, guys. Watch the Ducks on the internet or something!

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