Saturday, October 18, 2014

Good Luck Ducks, Week 8: A Decade of Dominance

After a rebound win, Oregon faces their bitter rivals to the north.

Admittedly, I was pretty down on the Ducks last week going into the UCLA game. Jake Fisher returned to the offensive line and made a huge difference, as Marcus Mariota was no longer sacked every other play and the Ducks grabbed a comfortable lead on unfriendly turf. I'm not entirely convinced all is right, as according to head coach Mark Helfrich, Oregon missed an alarming 24 tackles to the tune of 186 extra yards gained by the Bruins. Even uglier were the points put up in garbage time by UCLA, who was another recovered onside kick away from making things interesting in a game that was ridiculously out of control in the third quarter.

I'll tuck away my grumpiness for now, though, because it's Washington week. Back when I was still a teenaged college geek, I got to witness The Pick in person, which I can still say is the single greatest sports moment I've witnessed live. I'm not even sure what I've seen on TV that beats it, either. 20 years later, Oregon will be wearing throwbacks that resemble their 1994 jerseys on the field today, which fills me with even more warm-and-fuzzies. Not only that, but after 10 consecutive wins over the Huskies, things are lined up for a big time Ducks celebration night.

So nothing could horribly wrong, could it? Ah, but my lack of confidence still lingers. Oregon has shown an inability to tackle a scarecrow in the last couple of games, and the concerns about the offensive line probably aren't going away for the rest of the season. Marcus Mariota used to take off and run as an element of surprise, but now he's mostly doing it for survival. It's a good thing that he's incredibly fast for a quarterback, but I still have visions of Dennis Dixon's bones crumbling to dust whenever I see an Oregon QB run for his life.

Oh, but I haven't even mentioned the Huskies yet. Well, I'll let the above image speak for itself. The third column is the name of the team that was victorious, in case you couldn't figure it out. Steve Sarkisian bailed on the formerly elite Washington program to coach the formerly elite USC program this past offseason, and UW ended up luring Chris Petersen away from the sinking ship that is Boise State. Washington brings in a 5-1 record on the season, same as Oregon. The difference between these two programs right now couldn't be larger, however. With the amazing looking uniforms and a little extra bit of confidence, I think that this will be a solid win for the Ducks.

"Improbable!" The lesser seen TV broadcast of The Pick and the aftermath.

Game time is 5:00 PDT with national coverage on Fox Sports 1. Go Ducks!

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