The Oregon Ducks' season doesn’t get any easier come this weekend. A strong, fearless, and motivated team from a non-BCS conference marches into Autzen on Saturday, which scares the you-know-what out of me.
However, I hope the Oregon players don’t feel the same way. I can understand if they are a little apprehensive to play such an opponent, given the Ducks’ recent history against skilled and determined non-BCS schools (Boise State). I just pray that they don’t play like they are the underdog, when, clearly, a team like Oregon should have the talent and support from a home crowd to defeat a school of Utah’s stature.
This week, campus has been eerily quiet and strangely absent of those rejoicing after an Oregon win. After such a close victory against such an overmatched opponent in Purdue, Duck fans aren’t sure what to expect in Saturday’s matchup with Utah.
The way I see it, this game with Utah takes Oregon’s season one of two ways:
- DUCKS WIN!!! YAAAAY!!!! Oregon takes down the 18th ranked Utes and dispels any doubt that the Boise State loss had put on the Ducks. Oregon’s swagger returns, and the season is back on track for a shot at dethroning USC. The next weekend sees Cal come to town in a massively important game for both squads. The win rejuvenates the Oregon campus and faithful, which leads to a festive weekend full of celebration and good times by all.
- Ducks lose…bummer. We should have all seen it coming. Utah is ranked in the top 20, and they're coming off of a season in which they defeated Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. Utah had a mission, and they carried it out successfully against an overconfident paper tiger. The Ducks’ confidence drops to a new low this season, which carries on into the next weekend when the top 10 Cal Bears arrive. Oregon takes a backseat to the Pac-10 leaders and coasts the rest of the season. We fans wonder what could have been this season and continue to watch in horror as the season unfolds.
Now, I know nobody can predict what is going to come in the future, but this is the way that this game feels. It is make or break for the Ducks, and that’s the way that many fans are seeing it.
Revenge may be a factor for these Ducks because they were unable to win the last two games they played against non-BCS powers. While Utah may not have the national acclaim that Boise State carries, a win against this bunch of Utes would give Oregon a reason to believe that they are back.
This team is still very talented and capable of climbing back into the national polls and re-entering the minds of USC, Cal, and even OSU for Pac-10 positioning.
Oregon has a few recruits coming to Eugene this weekend for the game as well. Headlining the recruit list for this weekend’s game are James Scales, a CB from Greensboro, NC; Gabe King, a DE also from Greensboro, NC; and Ethan Grant, an RB from Coconut Creek, Fla.
The two recruits from North Carolina are a part of a recent surge of prospects coming to Oregon. The Ducks have made it a priority to find talent from outside the Northwest and California, which can only lead to bigger and better things.
I say we show these recruits what Oregon football is all about and get the season back on track with a big win over Utah.
Until next time, GO DUCKS!!!