One game at a time.
The Oregon Ducks are broken now, perhaps irreparably so. Last week's 2OT loss saw the Ducks come all the way back from a 20 point 3rd quarter deficit only to stumble in the second overtime period when they just needed a field goal, minimally, to keep the game going. It was a devastating loss, but in the end, it could have been a lot worse. This loss isn't keeping them out of any sort of title contention or premium bowl game. It's just another loss among losses that have piled up.
In the "Win the Day" era, the Ducks have preached a "one game at a time", "next man up" mantra. You have to believe, however, with all of their recent success on the field, the season starts with a goal of winning the national championship, (Remember, this team was in a title game less than two years ago, their second appearance of the decade.) With a loss like the one to Nebraska, you cross that off and focus on the conference title. But now with their fifth consecutive loss behind them, and bowl eligibility more of a pipe dream than an achievable goal all of a sudden, it's seems like the goal has truly shifted to just winning the day. Oregon hadn't lost five in a row since 1996, the season after Alex Molden and Gang Green split up. It's Mark Helfrich's fourth season as head coach, and while previous coaches like Mike Bellotti managed to pull out of some skids and lead the team to bigger and better things, it remains to be seen if Helfrich will be given that much leeway.
This afternoon's opponent is the Arizona State Sun Devils, a not great team that still has won several more games than Oregon has. A win today at home could put to rest a lot of negativity surrounding the team, at least for a short spell. True freshman Justin Herbert threw six (!) touchdowns last week against Cal, so there was at least some spark that could lead to bigger things down the road. I enjoy watching Ducks football, and I take the bad with the good... but let's hope for a good game today.