Saturday, September 16, 2017

Good Luck Ducks, Week 3: Elevation

The 2017 Ducks hit the road for the first time. 

For about six quarters of football, it looked like the Oregon Ducks were going to breeze through this season like the last couple of years never happened. After scoring an Autzen Stadium record 77 points in game one, Nebraska rolled in to town and the Ducks put up 42 more by halftime. Unfortunately, Mike Riley noticed the difficulty setting was stuck on Rookie mode and changed the game, with Oregon clawing and scratching and intercepting their way to a narrow victory when all was said and done. The second half shutout wasn't shocking considering the way that this team has played in the past few seasons, but the defense did things that couldn't have happened in 2016 (and probably 2015). Four intercepted passes (after nine all last season) helped the defense stand up and claim the win, even if it wasn't one that was going to help them into the Top 25 rankings.

Wyoming is next on the agenda, and they bring along heralded quarterback Josh Allen. Allen's prodigious NFL projections haven't really translated well on the actual football field yet, but he poses the most serious threat to date in a young Ducks young season. Wyoming's War Memorial Stadium is at the highest elevation in all of college football, which could provide another challenge for a team headed out to its first road test. Fortunately, the season is still getting its legs and the Ducks are probably at the healthiest point they are going to be.

Like last week, the Ducks come in to this game favored by a couple of touchdowns. For a team that truly hit rock bottom last season, it still surprises me how much is expected of them. Reputation seems to be 80% of college football prognostication, and I still haven't quite come to terms with Oregon being a school that gets the kind of treatment a Notre Dame gets. Still, as a fan, I guess you get the smug satisfaction of the mainstream public generally feeling you're superior to a lot of your opponents. Sports!

Here are some things to click on:

The first game in this series actually happened during the Marcus Mariota era.

Game time is 4:00 PM PDT. Broadcast channel is CBS Sports Network. Your scheduled broadcasters are Carter Blackburn, Aaron Taylor and Jenny Dell. Go Ducks!

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