Saturday, November 29, 2014

Good Luck Ducks, Week 14: Civil War

Can a rivalry game also be a trap game?

The Civil War is upon us yet again. Last season, a reeling Oregon team barely survived the matchup with the in-state rivals on their own turf in a game I managed to completely block out of my memory. (Except for the uniforms. Oh, the uniforms. My eyeballs melted.) This time around, Oregon State is a bit worse for the wear, needing a win today to become bowl eligible. Oregon has much more on the line, with a potential spot in the new 4-team playoff on the line.

The Ducks, with a healthier Marcus Mariota (new Pac-12 single season TD champion!) this time around, simply cannot afford to look past a hungry Beavers team and think about next week's conference championship game. They locked up the North division some time ago, but it would help tremendously to have an efficient performance like last week's Colorado game. Mariota has actually been noticeably better away from home, so the hope is that he can continue to dazzle and takes down Oregon State early.

The last three visits to Corvallis have not been close. I expect the Ducks to be fired up now that they've suffered a loss, and then climbed back up into national title contention while moving past the protection issues they suffered earlier in the season. This could also be Beavers QB Sean Mannion's final showcase before he enters the NFL Draft, so we could be in for a wild shootout no matter what the outcome.

The last Civil War at Reser Stadium wasn't close, despite both team's Top 15 rankings.

Game time is 5:00 PST with national TV coverage on ABC. Go Ducks!

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