Move over Rush Limbaugh and Al Franken, it's time for the real conservatives and liberals to wax poetic about a topic that really matters; the 2010 Rose Bowl.
In boxing they say "styles make fights." Well, that couldn't be truer than in this year's Rose Bowl title bout.
As the anticipation builds for what should be the best Rose Bowl match up since the Vince Young led Texas Longhorns rode into Pasadena and threw water in the face of a talented USC team that was having a dream season of its own in 2005, I couldn't help but look at it from another angle; one of a more political nature.
Uniforms aren't the only differences Oregon and Ohio State share.
For example, four out of the last five Oregon governors have been democrats. Democrats also make up 60 percent of the Oregon State Senate and they have recently taken control of the Oregon House of Representatives.
In 1998, the passage of Oregon Ballot Measure 67 allowed for the "cultivation, possession, and use of marijuana for prescription patients," and in 2007, Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski signed two Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (or just GLBT for those of you that are hip to this sort of thing) bills into law; one of them being the controversial Oregon Family Fairness Act that allows for same sex couples to, among other things, "file jointly on insurance forms."
Oregonians are also more likely to want to hug a Douglas fir than their buddy after a long Duck touchdown run. In 2006, the Jackson County, Oregon Library System lost 15 libraries due to federal cuts surrounding the endangerment of the spotted owl, which makes many trees, the Douglas fir being one of them, their home.
In Ohio, on the other hand, Republicans have held the office of governor for three out of the last four years. The GOP also holds a 60 percent majority in the Ohio State Senate and Republicans hold all seven seats of the Ohio Supreme Court.
Ohio has carried out more executions of criminals than any other northern state and currently has more inmates on "death row" than all but four states in the union: California, Florida, Texas, and Pennsylvania.
Ohio Congresswoman Jean Schmidt(R) makes former Ohio State head coach Woody Hayes look more liberal than former Democratic presidential candidate, Dennis Kucinich (D). Her voting record looks like it came straight out of the Karl Rove Republican Manifesto (this doesn’t exist, by the way.) On abortion rights she stated, "Roe v. Wade was a flawed law and would love to see it reversed." She was also a staunch supporter of George H.W. Bush's tax cuts, supports drilling in the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge, and is highly endorsed by the NRA.
These two states could not be more different.
As far as the game itself, Chip Kelly's offensive playbook looks more like an Original Pancake House menu and with guys like Jeremiah Masoli, LaMichael James, Jeff Maehl, and the resurgent LeGarrette Blount, the Ducks can serve up touchdowns any way you like. They are 24th in the country in total offense, averaging 425 yards per game and seventh in the nation in scoring, at just under 38 points per game.
Jim Tressel's playbook can more truthfully be called a play CARD, as in the three by five variety. The Buckeyes rank 64th in total offense and 48th in scoring, at 365 yards and 29 points per game, respectively. Note to Oregon Defensive Coordinator, Nick Aliotti... stop number 2!
Defensively, the two teams flip flop faster than Massachusetts Senator, John Kerry. While the Buckeyes are ranked in the top 10 nationally in both points and yards per game allowed, the Ducks are languishing in the 50th and 32nd spots, respectively.
As if on cue, the great debate begins again. "Well, they don't play defense in the Pac 10." There is not one team in the Pac 10 that ranks in the top 20 in total defense. Conversely, there are three teams in the Big 10: Penn State, Ohio State, and Iowa who are all in the top 10. "Well, they don't play offense in the Big 10." There are three teams in the Pac 10 that average over 30 points per game. The Big 10 has only one.
Maybe, just like the political differences that separate liberals from conservatives in Oregon, Ohio, and everywhere in between, there is some truth to be found in both of these arguments. Can we please just agree on that?
This is shaping up to be a political run for the roses like we've never seen, and I can't wait to count the votes, errr....points. You know what I mean!
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