Saturday, October 30, 2021

Good Luck Ducks, Week 9: Time for Buffs

The #7 Oregon Ducks host Colorado in another afternoon affair. 
Coming off of back-to-back dismal performances, Oregon stepped up a level to match their opponent's skill level and took down a quality UCLA team last week. Sure, they tried to give it away in the last few minutes by throwing an interception into the end zone when they were doing a perfectly capable job at running the ball and running out the clock, but I would still call this progress. If the Ducks can continue to make incremental improvements week by week for the rest of the season, there's a chance that they could actually live up to their playoff contender potential when December comes around. Well... maybe.

Oregon has five weeks left to really make their mark on this season, and the Colorado Buffaloes are the next team up. I sort of promised myself that I wouldn't talk about the 2020 quasi-season in this space, but the Ducks were scheduled to play Colorado last December in sort of a conference championship undercard battle last year, which was mostly a pessimistic backup plan in case either of the teams in the Pac-12 title game couldn't fulfill their duties. Well, it turned out that Washington couldn't field a proper team due to the pandemic, so Oregon took their place and the Buffs were left hanging. What a stupid "season". Colorado didn't exactly come storming back this season, however, as they carry into the game a 2-5 record with their only wins coming against Northern Colorado and hapless Arizona.

Despite missing a ton of snaps, Kayvon Thibodeaux continues to impress and capture the national spotlight in terms of future NFL prospectors. He's been must-see TV whenever he's been on the field, especially in the second half of games so far. Meanwhile, Colorado brings the worst FBS offense in to Autzen, but the Ducks haven't really put away inferior opponents easily so far. The hope is that Oregon can finally put together a quality game that doesn't mean their best players are on the field for every single down. For better or for worse, the team does have a lot of experience in late game situations that could possibly translate to future bowl or playoff games.

Series History: The Ducks hold a 13-9 edge and have won 7 of the last 8 going all the way back to the farcical 2002 Fiesta Bowl. Colorado's move to the Pac-12 has not led to a lot of football success.

Opponent Talk: An in-season coaching firing is probably not great.

In their last meeting, Oregon stomped Colorado during Justin Herbert's last tour.

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

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