Saturday, October 23, 2021

Good Luck Ducks, Week 8: Beat LA

Mighty Oregon takes on the University of California, Los Angeles. 
I grew up hating LA sports teams. A great deal of this had to do with being indoctrinated as a Trail Blazers fan as I was just learning to talk. The '80s were a wild place for this. I heard tales of UCLA's "Lost Weekend" in Oregon, where Bill Walton's John Wooden-led superstar team would be featured on a Sports Illustrated cover. Then Walton-as-a-Blazer was on the same magazine's cover, going up against Kareem as the hometown team made their title run in 1977. By the time I was able to create my own sports memories, the Lakers were constant foes to the Blazers. Oregon State star A.C. Green turned pro and joined up with the enemy. Undersized stalwart Portland center Mychal Thompson eventually signed up with evil and joined Magic towards the end of the decade. My father's team: the Yankees. Who was I told to hate? The Dodgers. Even when the Portland Timbers joined MLS, where I was supposed to loathe the Seattle Sounders (booooooo!) the most, it was the LA Galaxy that pissed me off the most.

The Lakers of college football was always the UCLA Bruins. It's easy to despise USC (hello, Reggie Bush!), and at various times they've fit the "Beat LA" bill just about perfectly. There's something really gross, however, about those gold and blue helmets. Maybe I'm looking back to Akili Smith vs. Cade McNown. I'm still scarred by the first game I attended at Autzen as a former UO student, where Skip Hicks (?!) ran wild over the hometown Ducks. (It was as brutal as watching Ezekiel Elliott against Oregon in the championship game, except with much, much lower stakes.) Chip Kelly coaches the Bruins now, which is bound to provoke some sort of feelings.

Is it the definition of (college football) insanity to watch the same thing week after week but expect different results? The Ducks played nearly the exact same game against Cal last week as they did in their previous debacle versus Stanford. The scores were even identical as the final seconds began to tick off the clock late in the 4th quarter. Granted, Anthony Brown's numbers were markedly better than they were in the loss against the Cardinal, but the only thing that truly differed at the end of these two games is that Kayvon Thibodeaux (who I've managed to mention in every single Ducks post this season) was actually on the field for the end of the game. The defense held Cal out of the end zone in a goal line stand effectively eight times in a row to notch the victory, while in the previous game Thibodeaux had been sent off the field with a targeting penalty. It seemed like it could have been a nice morale booster for an otherwise beleaguered team, but Cal isn't a very good team! It's probably not very reasonable to expect a big win at UCLA today... and I'll leave it at that. That being said, I suppose I'll take another nailbiter if it gets the Ducks another W.

Series History: UCLA holds a 39-30 edge, although the Ducks have won 8 of the last 9.

Opponent Talk: The UCLA SB Nation site seems to be abandoned, as the last article was posted at the beginning of this summer. I know that not every one of these sites was ever representative of their fanbase's online footprint, but it's still quite a strange thing to see. Okay, fine, here's the Daily Bruin, where Chip Kelly (remember him?!) is talking "transative process." 

The Ducks gave UCLA a 60-13 beatdown back in 2010 when Chip Kelly was on the other side.

Game time is 12:30 PM PDT on ABC. Go Ducks!

1 comment :

  1. I worked that game (food & beverage supervisor) and the Oregon faithful really turned out for the game. I emailed you a picture I took at the game.


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