Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Like ‘Em or Not, Ducks Are Flying High

By Greg Suttich

The Oregon Ducks have been dazzling us with their speed and explosiveness over the past few college football seasons. However, they seem to always stumble somewhere along the way ending any hopes of a national title. This season the Ducks have much the same ingredients that has helped them come close in recent years.

There is one thing that feels different about this team that separates them from Ducks teams of the past. A quiet confidence that seems to permeate throughout the locker room that starts with head coach Chip Kelly. The past few seasons, the Oregon Ducks were thought of as arrogant and cocky. Their personality has changed this season and it shows on the field. The Ducks are averaging 52 points a game, blowing out their opponent week after week.

I have had the opportunity to watch the Ducks play a lot since I live in the Pacific Northwest. Some may say I am biased because I live in this part of the country. Nothing could be further from the truth. I grew up a Washington Husky fan and then went to Washington State University and I am now a Cougar for life. The only thing I have to be proud of lately is watching my beloved Cougar flag flying high on College Gameday every Saturday morning.

Oregon (currently ranked No. 2) has more speed than any team I have ever seen. Led by Kenjon Barner and De'Anthony Thomas, the Ducks will continue to light up the scoreboard against the rest of the Pac-12. The Ducks defense has a bend-but-don't-break philosophy and a knack for creating turnovers.

Oregon has some tough contests during the month of November. November 3rd at No. 11 USC, November 17th at home versus No. 17 Stanford before wrapping up the Pac-12 regular season against state rival and currently undefeated No. 10 Oregon State. If the Ducks are able to survive November, they will be truly battle tested and ready to take on the heavyweights of the SEC.

The Ducks are a difficult team to like. They have a coach that likes to go for two whenever they get their first touchdown of the game to take an unconventional 8-0 lead. Oregon plays their games at Autzen Stadium where the fans are to be kind, ugly toward opposing team fans. Some people I know went to see the Huskies in Eugene and got to experience the feeling of spit coming down from above. And finally, the constant changing of uniforms and helmets with varying shades of green. Where are they getting all this money? Oh yeah, Nike is a sponsor and has their corporate headquarters not far away. Must be nice.

Although there are many reasons to dislike Oregon, the fact is, they are a very good football team loaded with talent. Chip Kelly has developed a system along with outstanding recruiting that has this program reloading each year rather than rebuilding. The Ducks have solidified themselves as a true Pac-12 power.

Most of the country is in love with the SEC and rightfully so. After all, the conference has provided the past eight national champions. The rest of the country better take notice because this Oregon Duck team is headed to the big game against Alabama. This just might be the year that the SEC goes down.

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