There are three games left in the season and each one holds its own individual importance. There is a feeling of revenge going into the game against Arizona after last years loss (and loss of Dennis Dixon from a torn ACL). The game against Oregon State always has the hype, with bragging rights for the upcoming year. And then whatever bowl and against whatever team, there is always pride on the line. Pride for your conference, your team and your season while playing on a national stage.
Even though each game has it's own story line, each game will greatly dictate what happens in the next game.
We all know about the late season collapses of the past. A loss to Arizona would is not what Oregon needs. The Ducks must have momentum going into their rivalry game with Oregon State, as the Beavs have everything to play for and the Rose Bowl in their sites. There is no time to let down with only three games left. This season is far from being a loss, but if the Ducks don't show up Saturday, a potential 10-3 season could turn to a 7-6 season.
First Order of Business: Arizona
Oregon has not had success against Arizona in the past three years.
- 2007: Lost the game and lost Dixon for the remainder of the season.
- 2006: Lost in Autzen Stadium as part of the downward spiral to a blowout loss in the Las Vegas bowl to BYU.
- 2005: Won a close game, but loss Kellen Clemens to a broken foot.
This is not the Arizona team of the past. This team will, actually be playing in a post season game. This Arizona team has a balanced offense led by four talented players. Quarterback Willie Tuitama, running back Nic Grigsby, wide receiver Mike Thomas and tight end Rob Gronkowski. These four players have helped Arizona become the top scoring team in the conference at just under 40 points a game. On the other side of the ball deserves respect too. This Zona defense also held USC to only 17 points.
But this game is not as much what Arizona brings, but what Oregon team shows up. Any given Saturday, you can have a Ducks team that scores 50+ points and blows out it opponent or you can have a team that only manages 16 points, even while causing 5 turnovers.
What Ducks team will we see?
The home field advantage is key in this match up and gives Oregon the edge. Players will be excited to play in front of the home crowd for the last time this season. Everyone will want to make their mark, especially those seniors who have given so much to this program.
We need to support this team. The first poorly thrown ball or the first decision to run instead of pass, does not mean it is time to boo. Remember the guy you are booing led the winning drive against Stanford, despite the thousands of fans against him.
I have a feeling this is going to be a great final game for our Seniors.
Thank you to all the Seniors and good luck in whatever you do next.