Saturday, November 3, 2012
The Oregon Ducks will take the field today as the nation's consensus #2 team, seemingly destined to play in the so-called national title game against Alabama if both teams win the remainder of their games. Unfortunately, computer rankings have hated Oregon this year and have boosted other teams like Kansas State and Notre Dame past them in the only college rating schema that matters: the BCS. Oregon has been completely unchallenged and unparalleled this season, but it's the former point that still scares me. While they've been able to take down several ranked opponents, all of those opponents have been exposed as being fraudulent.
Today's test comes against a team that already seems a bit fraudulent - a two-loss USC team that was supposed to dominate the conference and bring Matt Barkley a Heisman Trophy. Instead, Barkley often hasn't even been the best quarterback in his own conference while USC has lost to Stanford (decent ranked team) and Arizona (kind of a mess). Nevertheless, this will be Oregon's toughest test of the year, facing a team with some highly skilled players on the road in an always hostile environment. Oregon won their last meeting in LA en route to the national championship game, though the sting of last season's loss on their own home turf will still be felt as they take the field today.
The Ducks bring with them some new uniforms, which is about as newsworthy as a lying politician. However, they look cool, and I'm always a fan of the "storm trooper" look. Uniforms don't win football games, but they always look better when a team is winning! If the Ducks strong defense can contain the USC passing attack and do what they've done all season on offense, things should fall in their favor. However, the turnovers and penalties trend really needs to be reversed if Oregon is going to be successful in these final 4 conference games. Oregon has shot themselves in the feet far too often this season to get away with it against the greatest teams.
Oregon went all-white in their last meeting at USC and it worked out pretty well.
Game time is 4:00 PM PDT with national coverage on FOX. Go Ducks!