7. 2006: OREGON 25 – CAL 45
With the Cal, USC, and ASU games in 2007 receiving national attention in a completely different stratosphere as Duck fans are accustomed to, it’s easy to forget that just a season before, the Oregon—Cal match-up received almost as much hype as the Cal—Oregon match-up in 2007.
Both games matched-up top 15 teams, both games were broadcast on ABC, and both games were perceived to be a knock-out round to see which team was going to challenge USC for the title.
Of course, Game Day was missing for the 2006 tilt…so let’s emphasize almost here.
What really gets to me about this loss is how Dennis Dixon’s season went straight down the toilet after it. Dixon was starting to get attention on a national scale as a top tier QB after his performance against Oklahoma, but then he ran into a 16th ranked Golden Bear team.
This Cal team seemed to know every play, every audible, every decision that Dixon was going to make. He finished 20-36 for 236 yards and three picks on the day, including his first pass of the game. He was never the same the rest of 2006.
Lots of people blame Gary Crowton for Dixon’s 2006 performance. I think we can blame Jeff Tedford as well (and his spies).
Of course, it wasn’t just Dixon that tanked. The entire team gave up on the season after it was obvious a Pac-10 title wasn’t there to fight for anymore.
In my mind, the 2006 season can be summed up in two games. Oregon 24 – Cal 45 and Oregon 8 – BYU 38. One game is really just an extension of the other.
Oh, there was also that interesting Oregon win versus Oklahoma…but that’s another story (mu ha ha ha).
You may not remember: Jonathan Stewart sucked too. He ran for 25 yards on 18 carries. There was absolutely no excuse for Snoop not to run for at least 1,000 in 2006, but he didn’t.
I’ll go ahead and put another heaping pile of blame on Mr. Crowton. Take that Gary! You go win your national championship somewhere else!
6. 2007: CAL 31 – OREGON 24.
NO CAM NO! DON’T DO IT! DON’T STICK OUT THE FOOTBA….. AH #@$%. GOD @#$@ PI#$%#$ OF *&$.
To be fair to Colvin, I wasn’t really thinking that as he stuck out the ball. I’d have done it too- being only a yard away from the end zone.
What irks me is that the Ducks had so much going for them in this game.
A chance for revenge against Cal. A chance for D Dix to redeem himself. College Football Gameday. Autzen. Chip “your-defense-makes-me-laugh” Kelly.
I really didn’t think the Ducks would lose this game. I mean I knew they could, but in my heart, I didn’t believe it could happen.
In retrospect, what is silly about this game is that the year before the loser of the Oregon-Cal match-up dropped off the face of the planet and decided not to show up for the rest of the season.
Then in 2007, it was the WINNER of this high stakes brouhaha that decided to lay it down.
Silly Cal, don’t you know big wins are for momentum? You’re not supposed to let a win like this catapult you into losing against the Beavers. We almost beat the Beavs with our fifth string QB, so no excuses about losing Longshore please.
Okay, now it is time we say goodbye to the California Golden Bears. They will make no more appearances on this list. Good riddance.
You may not remember: Dennis Dixon threw only 4 interceptions last season. In my opinion his only LEGIT interception came when he was picked off by a Cal LB at our 30. All the others were tipped or bobbled. You were the man Dennis.
5. 1998: Oregon 38 – UCLA 41 (OT)
The number five and four choices were a tough pick to decide what order to go in. Basically what it came down to for me was which one am I angrier about. When I think about it that way, it’s really not close.
The Oregon-UCLA game was really ground breaking for the program…and you could argue for the Pac-10. It matched-up the No. 2 and No. 11 ranked teams in the nation. College Game Day made their first ever appearance on the west coast for this match-up.
The amount of attention laid upon this game was certainly new to Oregon fans. Please remember that in 98 ESPN didn’t have five channels yet, and the internet was still referred to as the information super-highway.
UCLA was a national title contender in ’98. From ‘97 to ’98, they wound up winning 20 straight games. Oregon went from unranked to a highly ranked offensive juggernaut after Akili Smith decided to play one good season at QB so he could make a quick mil come April.
The ’98 season represented the first time Duck fans could think of themselves as real national title contenders. That all came crashing down after this game.
Oregon stood toe to toe with UCLA and really left it all out on the field. Oregon came back from a 24-7 first half deficit to tie it at 38-38 with 28 seconds left to play.
UCLA’s All-American kicker Chris Sailer had a chance to win it at the end of regulation but missed a 21-yard field goal. In OT, he wouldn’t be denied from 24 yards out and UCLA eked out a win.
Much like the 2007 season the Ducks ’98 season was completely derailed due to injuries—notably Peter Sirmon and Reuben Droughns. Reuben for the first half of the season had arguably the most dominating stretch of performances for an Oregon tailback in the history of the program.
He had rolled up multiple 200 yd. rushing performances and was closing in on 900 yds., rushing in six games. However during this epic UCLA battle, he broke his leg…so that kind of ruined things.
Who knows how many yards he was going to roll up? I think he could have gotten close to 2,000.
After Droughns went down, we were left to the run stylings of Herman Ho-Ching. He was a true master of the run around for 20 yards to gain 2 technique.
This game was definitely not a disappointment in how we lost but more the opportunity lost to do something special.
You may not remember: Oregon finished the season 8-3 and wound up in the Aloha Bowl. Tom Hansen has been screwing the pooch for a long time.
4. 2003: WASHINGTON STATE 55 – OREGON 16
Words cannot describe how embarrassing this game was for the Ducks. It was, dare I say, the most embarrassing loss in the history of the program (Thank you Sports Illustrated).
Oregon made headlines from here to Timbuktu after annihilating No. 2 ranked Michigan on national TV the week before. Sports Illustrated decided to crown the Ducks the greatest thing since sliced bread.
Readers were presented a giddy Jason Fife skipping across the goal line on their magazine cover with the next week’s edition (quack quack).
With the SI crush and jinx in full effect, the eyes of the nation were cast upon the Duck’s next game against Wazzo to see if this team was really as good as SI proclaimed.
After WSU ran out to a 38-2 halftime lead, nearly all questions were answered.
The two things I remember most about this game was the oppressive 95 degree heat and Kellen Clemens and Jason Fife combining for seven interceptions.
I have memories seared into my mind of Clemens and Fife scrambling out of the pocket running for their lives making a last ditch throw-it-across- your-body heaves to be picked off by WSU.
Fife finished the game 8-24 with three picks.
You may not remember: 2003 also featured epic beat downs by ASU (14-59) and Washington (10-42). The Ducks had a lose big or go home mentality I guess.
Next up the Top 3. A true journey into the heart of darkness. It won’t be fun, but when finished we can enter the 2008 campaign humbled. It will make our complete dominance of the conference even more satisfying.