Oregon Fans Are Frustrated, but the Loss to Arizona Is a Rarity for the Ducks

Brandon OliverContributor INovember 26, 2013

Oregon's losses over the past five seasons have been rare, and until the loss to Arizona, they only came versus elite opponents.
Oregon's losses over the past five seasons have been rare, and until the loss to Arizona, they only came versus elite opponents.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Over the past three weeks, the Oregon Ducks have been on a roller coaster ride unlike anything they have had to face in recent years. After it all came crashing down against Arizona on Saturday, the Ducks are just trying to get their feet back under them. 

Oregon went from being the favorite to face Alabama in the BCS Championship Game to looking like the runner-up in its own division after the loss to Stanford on Nov. 7th. Then, Stanford lost to USC the following week, putting Oregon back in the Pac-12 driver's seat. 

Before facing Arizona, the Ducks needed two wins to host the Pac-12 Championship Game. Oregon felt good about where things stood. After all, the last time the Ducks lost to a team that wasn't ranked in the Top Ten at some point during the season in which they beat the Ducks was a 26-16 loss on the road to Cal in 2008.

It appears that maybe the Ducks felt too good about things because they were hammered in a stunning 42-16 loss to Arizona. 

Marcus Mariota entered the game with a Pac-12 record 353 consecutive pass attempts without an interception. That's where the record will stand as Mariota was intercepted on the game's first play. 

Mariota threw a perfect pass that hit the usually reliable Bralon Addison right in the hands. Addison couldn't corral the pass and it bounced up in the air over the sideline. 

That was the kind of day it was for the Ducks, who until now, hadn't lost two out of three games since losing to Boise State and USC in weeks four and six of the 2008 season. 

Ducks looked defeated from that point on and while they did manage to put up 506 yards of total offense, they were never able to flip the switch. Flipping the switch has not been a problem for Oregon in recent years, but it finally caught up with them against the Wildcats.

Since the middle of the 2008 season, which was Mike Bellotti's final season as the Oregon head coach, Oregon and its fans haven't had to deal with the pain of a single losing streak within the same season.

The Ducks lost the final game of the 2010 season and the opener of the 2011 campaign, but they haven't lost consecutive games in the same season since 2007.

Oregon 2009 Losses
OpponentResultOpp RankOpp Highest RankOpp Final Rank
Boise St19-81444
Ohio St26-17855

Of course there have been disappointments since 2008, but the Ducks hadn't lost a game to a heavy underdog in years. That ended on Saturday as the loss to Arizona marked the first time since losing to Stanford in 2009 that the Ducks lost to an unranked opponent. 

Prior to Saturday, the Ducks had lost just eight times in their past 62 games. Of those eight losses, just one came to a team that wasn't ranked at the time of the game. 

Oregon's 2010 loss
OpponentResultOpp RankOpp Highest RankOpp Final Rank

The nine-point loss to the Stanford Cardinal came on the road against a team which featured Heisman Trophy runners-up with running back Toby Gerhart and quarterback Andrew Luck. Stanford, who was just beginning to catch fire as a program, beat Arizona State, Oregon, USC and Notre Dame in their last five games, rising as high as No. 14 in the rankings. 

Oregon 2011 losses
OpponentResultOpp RankOpp Highest RankOpp Final Rank

Since 2009, the loss to Stanford was the only game the Ducks lost to a team which wasn't ranked in the Top Ten at the time of the game or at the end of the season. Perhaps even more impressive than the list of elite teams they have lost to is that only two of them were by double digits, with the 41-27 loss to LSU being the worst.

Oregon 2012 loss
OpponentResultOpp RankOpp Highest RankOpp Final Rank

Regardless of how any of the losses happened, Oregon fans should be thankful for not having to suffer through an annual loss from a heavy underdog, which has been the norm for some elite programs.

Oregon 2013 losses
OpponentResultOpp RankOpp Highest RankOpp Final Rank

Texas, Clemson, Alabama, Florida, LSU, USC, Stanford and Oklahoma have all lost numerous games in recent years which they had no business losing. The loss to Arizona might be embarrassing, but that is as bad as it has been for the Ducks.

So Oregon fans can take a deep breath and enjoy the fact that the Ducks haven't lost to Louisiana-Monroe, Washington, Georgia Southern, Jacksonville State, Iowa State or any team with a losing record since a 16-0 loss to a UCLA that finished 6-7 in 2007.

In that game, the Ducks lost backup QB Brady Leaf to a first quarter injury and used redshirt freshmen Cody Kempt and Justin Roper, who went a combined 7-28 for 60 yards and three interceptions. A freshman safety named Jeff Maehl switched to wide receiver as the Ducks were without seven total starters in the game.

The only time the Ducks have lost to a team that failed to reach six wins in the season was the 2004 season opener against Indiana. That was the game in which the Ducks had seven first half turnovers, setting the tone for Oregon's only losing season since 1993.