Saturday, September 29, 2012

Good Luck Ducks, Week 5: Cougar Town

49-0. If you were reading this space last week, I did not see that coming. Am I convinced that the Ducks are really that good and have separated themselves from the rest of the conference? Not quite yet. Do I like asking myself and then answering questions? I sure do. Last week was fun to watch, seeing Oregon blow a sloppy game open with opportunistic ball-hawking, sacks, interceptions and... of course... speed and plenty of it.

This week's challenge comes in the form of a Washington State team that just blew a game to what is shaping up as one of the worst Pac-12 (or -10) teams of all-time. Colorado, prior to last week, had lost all of their games including to supposedly inferior in-state rival Colorado State and to FCS Sacramento State, among others. They pulled off some late game heroics to storm back and beat a Cougars team that is supposed to be on the upswing with new head coach Mike Leach. Tonight's game will be the Ducks first road test, albeit in a somewhat friendly environment as the game will be played in Seattle's CenturyLink Field which is several hours away from the Cougars Eastern Washington habitat. It's just a straight drive up I-5 from Eugene (and Portland, where there remains a pretty rabid Ducks fanbase.)

Washington State has given the Ducks more trouble in the last couple of seasons than just about anyone in the conference, so it's tough to say that this will be an easy game. If Oregon can cut down all of the mistakes (I read that they've fumbled the ball more than all but one team in the entire nation, yikes!) and can capitalize on the opportunities laid out before them like they did against so many Wildcats last week, it should be a comfortable win. They haven't won comfortably over the Cougars in awhile, however.

De'Anthony Thomas was huge in last season's win over the Cougars.

Game time is 7:30 PDT with national coverage on ESPN2. Go Ducks!

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