Saturday, October 21, 2023

Good Luck Ducks, Week 8: Picking Up the Pieces


Oregon hosts the other Washington team after a tough loss. 
The toughest thing about college football, at least in its current format, is that the thing you strive for is so remotely possible that it's probably hard to accept what all of your coaches are telling you about that ultimate prize. At the highest level, there are about a dozen teams - times ten(!) - all competing for four spots in the current format. In any given year, there's maybe a couple of dozen teams that even stand a chance at making the playoffs, and by this point in the season that number of possibilities has certainly been whittled down to single digits already.

With a loss last week in Seattle by a razor-thin margin, the Ducks dropped just one spot in the polls, but they fell a whole lot more in terms of prospects to have a chance to compete for the ultimate prize. The timing is rough for this team as it's led by an outstanding experienced quarterback in Bo Nix, a deep backfield and talented spread far and wide around the roster. If this collection of players were playing by next year's rules (Big Ten schedule aside), the playoff chances wouldn't look so bleak as the plan is to expand from four to twelve teams. Instead, an excellent Oregon team felled by a questionable play call and, sure, a missed field goal more than likely ends up sidelined during the biggest games in January.

I'll say one thing about the otherwise entertaining if not totally gripping game against the dreaded Huskies last week. I wasn't wild about the call to go for it on 4th down with just a couple of minutes left to play, but my main issue wasn't keeping the offense on the field. The play that was called on the field was just inexplicable, at least to the eyes of this fan on the edge of his coach. I understand why Dan Lanning wanted to go for it (doesn't he always?), but especially in the situation where a gained first down guaranteed victory. I just don't understand what they were doing once they snapped the ball.

In any case, it's the Cougars this week. And they're not bad this year! Today's game is certainly a candidate for whatever the equivalent of a trap game is, where instead of the favored team being caught overlooking their current opponent for a bigger game on the horizon, it gets stuck thinking about the possibilities of the previous week and essentially loses twice. Did that last sentence make any sense? I'm not sure... you just don't want your rival to beat you twice!

Notes and other things:
  • A palate cleanser, maybe? The Ducks are finally wearing throwbacks. And they are fantastic.
  • Where Are They Headed? The Cougs are united with the Oregon State Beavers as the Last Two Standing, and they are suing the crap out of the other Pac-12 schools in order to secure their own financial viability and decision making control to get themselves out of the mess that they're in currently. I fully support this.
  • Ducks Ranking This Week: 9 (AP). They dropped one spot but it felt like one hundred.
  • Bo Nix Heisman Watch: His candidacy took a similar hit that the Ducks overall season hopes took, even if the stats didn't change remarkably.
  • Game time is 12:30 PDT on ABC in Eugene. Go Ducks!

1 comment :

  1. I would start the official polling later, like after the first 4 games. But I don't know how much that would change things.


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