This game is officially in “eh” territory.
Coming off the loss to Stanford, all the Ducks really needed to do was scratch out a win and regain a little momentum before their two real tests to end the Pac-10 season.
There was just something unusually uninspiring about this game. It felt almost like a formality. There was no way Arizona State was going to come in to Autzen and get a win. There was no buzz, no excitement, no real anticipation for this game.
It felt like a business meeting you just had to sit through to get on with your day.
Arizona State is a bad football team. They were starting a true freshman quarterback, the game was in Autzen, the Sun Devils had nothing left to play for, and an Oregon win wouldn’t really tell us anything about our hopes to come out on top in the Rose Bowl race.
To sum up, if I were playing NCAA Football 2010, I would have hit the “simulate” button and moved on to Arizona.
The game turned out exactly how you would have imagined between a team whose season was over and a team whose expectations went from the national title to the Rose Bowl.
Fortunately, we got the win, looked moderately decent in the process, and now we can move on to a game that actually matters in Arizona.
Here are my thoughts on the game:
- I’m very happy with the way Chip Kelly is handling the LeGarrette Blount reinstatement. Andre Crenshaw and Remene Alston, although not containing even a single ounce of excitement, deserve to be ahead of Blount on the depth chart.
- And who cares about Blount anyway when you have LaMichael James running for 150 yards and three touchdowns every week?
- LMJ is tenth in the country and rushing yards, and first in yards per carry for any running back in a BCS conference.
- Yes, my man crush on him is growing. My girlfriend is legitimately jealous.
- Best moment of the game: when the crowd wildly cheered in the fourth quarter when Alston ran onto the field. Probably the only standing ovation he’s ever received and it wasn’t even meant for him. Even the announcer was hoping for Blount. I feel for the guy.
- I don’t think we could have played much better in the first half. The offense was rolling, the pass defense was suffocating and the Arizona State fans (all six of them) were quiet.
- On the contrary, we couldn’t have played much worse in the second half. The offense stalled and the defense couldn’t stop anything. I’m going to chalk it up to looking ahead, but I would have expected (and liked) Chip Kelly to have his players more focused coming out of the half.
- Free advice to opposing coaches: true freshman quarterbacks do not fare well in Autzen stadium.
- Did you know that the Sun Devils had the number one rush defense in the conference coming into the game? Me neither. Now, 268 Oregon rushing yards later, ASU is now solidly locked into the fourth slot.
- I loved the “U.S.A.” chant every time ASU scored and their male cheerleaders ran across the end zone with their flags. Hard to argue with condescending patriotism.
- Quote of the game goes to ASU coach Dennis Erickson, who said this about the Ducks: “This offensive team is as good as any I’ve seen in college football.”
- Despite that, I am still legitimately worried about the final two games of the season. Going into Tuscon has not ended well for the Ducks in recent history, and the Beavers will come into Autzen in the exact same situation we went into Reser last year—trying to dash our Rose Bowl hopes.
- Interesting possibility: is there still a chance for two Pac-10 teams to sneak into the BCS? If Oregon and Stanford both win out, with the help of losses from Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and LSU, could Oregon jump ahead and sneak into an at-large bid? Doubtful, but fun to imagine, nonetheless.
- And finally, I have found a mascot worse than the Stanford Tree: Sparky the Sun Devil. Aside from wearing pants it looked like he bought from Ross, he didn’t do ANYTHING. He just pranced around every once in a while and waved to the six sad-looking ASU fans.
- Ok, I’m done. This game sucked. Time to get ready for the good team from Arizona.