Special For Many Reasons

OK check the office pool. Which of us had Oregon winning by 38? A valuable asset for any team is peaking at the right time. And Oregon is playing it's best football right now in December, going into the playoffs.

Going into the Pac-12 Championship, we were all recalling what Arizona had done the past two times these teams have met. But Friday night, Mariota and Co. worked their magic and erased all those memories. Marcus was the true Superman that Oregon needed. One Arizona fan on social media commented that he couldn't believe this was the same team that beat Oregon in October. The truth was, Arizona was the same team.

It was Oregon who was different.

No Scooby Sacks this time.
Back in October, Arizona sacked Mariota five times and forced two fumbles. This time, nothing and notta. Mariota floated around the pocket like a bubble boy. Whenever Scooby and the gang barely got within arms reach of him, he just rolled away and kept looking down field. His pocket awareness was near perfect.

The second this guy fell on his butt,
he was prey. Mariota saw him and raced
to the corner of the endzone for his second
rushing TD on the night.
 Ball control was incredible too. Mariota was 25 for 38, 303 yards, 2 pass TD's, ran in three more, and no interceptions. In his previous three games against the Wildcats, he had never scored a rushing TD on them.  Freshman Royce Freeman handled the running duties like a boss, carrying 21 times for 114 yards.  

Rolls Royce
The defense stepped up and quieted all of Don Pellum's critics. Arizona's two dangerous weapons, QB Anu Solomon and RB Nick Wilson were both neutered.

Everyone said Oregon HAD TO shut down Arizona's run to have a chance. They held Wilson to 26 yards on 13 carries. Their best rusher was actually their third string QB, Jerrard Randall. He kept the ball 11 times for 74 yards, but couldn't muster a single pass completion in his only 5 attempts.
Solomon going down.

Arizona Coach Rich Rodriguez tried three different quarterbacks. After zero points and repeated three-and-outs in the first half, he put in his second and third string and we saw Solomon on the sidelines in a walking boot.  

Isn't it Rich?
Rich Rod was sulky and short in the post game interview, but he said all the right things. He had plenty of praise for the Ducks, and before he spoke of his team's failures, he said he was out-coached. This was a big statement because I think he was the one coach who consistently had Coach Helfrich's number.

And what of Scooby Wright? I can't find the stats on him, but it's possible he had recorded fewer tackles for losses than losses of lunches. I mean dude was blowing groceries. So was AZ's center as seen in the video below. Did a puke bug drive the team bus?

Wildcat horkin' up a hairball on the field. Oh poor kitty.

All this great win did was solidify good things for the future. Mariota is going to win the Heisman. And Oregon finished #2 in the final national standings and will meet Florida State in the Rose Bowl for the playoff semifinal.

I'll focus on that in the days to come. But let me say how beautifully this is all setting up to be a storied season for the Ducks.

In the regular season, Oregon demolished one of their significant nemesis of previous seasons, Stanford. In the Pac-12 Championship, the Ducks got that rare opportunity in football -- a do-over, a rubber match. They got to face Arizona --the one team that had beaten them this year -- and vanquish them on a big stage.

Now they are facing Florida State, the reigning National Champion with last year's Heisman Trophy winner. Get past them, and the next opponent only becomes more legendary.

They'll face either Ohio State, a previous foe they had lost to the first time Chip Kelly took the Ducks to a BCS Bowl. Or they'll face the perennial National Champion and current SEC Champion Alabama -- the team coached by Nick Saban, the one who said the hurry-up no-huddle was bad for football. Oregon-Alabama is the matchup everyone has wanted to see for years.

But let's not count our ducklings yet. For now. Let's just enjoy these moments.

The Oregon Ducks: Current 11-time winner over Washington. 7-time winner over Oregon State. 8-time winner over Washington State. Current victor over Stanford and Arizona. Such a routine victor over USC and UCLA that it's not even worth counting.

Pac-12 Champions. #2 in the nation. National Champion Playoff Contender.

And there was one more thing. What was it? . . . . . . . . . Oh ya.



80th Annual Heisman Trophy Presentation. Saturday, Dec. 13th. 5pm Pacific on ESPN.


Facing Their Kryptonite

Richard Rodriguez has outcoached Mark Helfrich two times in a row now. While we point with pride at Chip Kelly as the one who changed college football with the no huddle spread, others remind us it was Rich Rod who was the original architect of the system.

QB Anu Solomon is young but good. RB Nick Wilson is very dangerous. When they play Oregon, those two have been flawless. And every Nick Wilson runs over 100 yards, the Cats win.

Oregonian writer Ken Goe, who sent me a court order to never mention his name, said in his own video blog that Oregon has to stop Arizona's run. Period. Pac-12 talking head Rick Neuheisel laid out in the this well done video just how hard that has been for Oregon. It's scary to watch.

" 'Gonna bust you up."
Scooby Wright is the general of Arizona's 3-3-5 defense -- a formation that Oregon has yet to solve. No other defense has been more successful at befuddling Oregon's O-line and humanizing Super Mariota.

Neuheisel goes on to say that the mental game is a factor as well. Arizona is not going into this game a-hopin' and a-prayin'. They've beaten Oregon. They know they can beat Oregon. They're getting ready to do it again.

Marcus Mariota.




The cocky fan in me wants to stop right there. But this game is everything. Better keep it real.

Something changed in Mariota after that humiliating loss to Arizona back in October. After that knockout he transformed himself into the legend that everybody was already pegging him to be. For the first time, he seemed to put on the Super Mariota suit and act the part.

His reluctance to all the attention was gone. I can't say what happened exactly, whether someone talked to him, or maybe he just stood in the shower for an hour and thought about things. But he came out at UCLA determined to be Oregon's hero.

Today's Mariota will not be the same Mariota Arizona saw before.
Mariota before Arizona. He spent most of his
time in the pocket taking sacks like Clark Kent.
Mariota after Arizona. He was literally
flying to the Endzone.
Rolls Royce Freeman. What planet did this freshman phenom come from? He was still tying to find himself in October. Everyone still thought Thomas Tyner was going to be the guy (I still think Tyner will do great things. I hope he still believes it too.) Byron Marshall was still taking handoffs and was only flirting with the receiver thing.

But now all of that is sorted out.

The offensive line -- it's like after the Arizona game, they had a meeting and decided to be better?!?!?  Who does that? And they're healthier too, with or without starting center Hronis Grasu.

Oregon wouldn't have a chance going into this game if they were the same team they were in October. Hell, they wouldn't even be in this game.

That thumping by the Wildcats was probably the best thing that could've happened to them. The Ducks today, they are leaner. They are meaner. They have that look in their eyes.

"Go for it."
(Editor's note: The earring is a little much isn't it?)
To win, the whole team has to be better. But ultimately it comes down to one man.
Super Mariota. We're calling on you once again to be our reluctant hero.

Our humble Superman.

Oh and one other key to the game, Ducks.


Lose the pink.

Pac-12 Championship game. 6pm Pacific on FOX.


Before I start, I want to welcome two new subscribers, P.M and J.M., from Wisconsin. To make them feel a part of our blog family, I'd like to talk a little about two of their very favorite teams on the rise.

The Green Bay Packers and Wisconsin Badgers. Both of these teams have taken the lead in their respective conferences and control their own destinies.

Watching these two teams last weekend, I noticed five common traits. One of the more interesting . . .

OK that's enough welcoming.


I mean what can you say? Marcus Mariota immortalized himself by jumping over a hapless Beaver while pushing down on his head like a rude boyfriend. He did a Heisman pose as he was serving a Beaver a face-load of his junk.

That's not even funny. It's just pathetic.

In the first game of the season, Oregon State fell behind Portland State at halftime. They looked terrible. It looked like the season opener the year before when they were stunned by Eastern Washington. They eventually won, but that first half had Beaver fans everywhere with their faces in their palms.

At the time, I put up a Facebook post: "Beavers, I used to laugh at you. Now I just pity you." And immediately I got an angry retort from a Beaver fan that it was too soon to be that cruel.

So I didn't say another word about the Beavers for the rest of the season.

Until now.

Beavers, take a look around and ask yourself if you're happy with your team. Did that effort look . . . . . . .even like effort? Are you still OK with Coach Riley and his "Aww Shucks, Gee Willickers" apparent settling for mediocrity?
Heh heh...haw haw...I mean...
WOW! Was that a trip to the woodshed or what?
My britches are still burnin'....
Whoo boy .... Heh heh....

After watching the Beavers fall to 5-7 for the season, the real question to be begged is, How in the world did they win five?

When I look at the Beavers, I see uninspired players struggling with a boring and predictable playbook. How much longer will they put up with this?
Another Beaver humbly prays
at the Failing Wall of Reser Stadium.

Traditional voters for the Heisman are now saying that the race is pretty much over. And Teddy Mitrosilis of FOX Sports is even calling for a unanimous vote for Mariota. Here is an excerpt:
Mariota went 19-of-25 for 367 yards and four TDs (no picks), while adding another 39 yards and two TDs on the ground.
This stat is insane: Mariota now has 47 total TDs to only two interceptions on the season. TWO! He also leads the country in yards per attempt at 10.4 and is completing 68.6 percent of his passes (sixth in the nation and about 2 percent better than Jameis Winston last year when he ran away with the Heisman).
He’s playing quarterback as well as it can be played, and no disrespect to Melvin Gordon, who’s had an incredible year at RB for Wisconsin, but Mariota should become the first unanimous Heisman Trophy winner of all time. He deserves to get every single first-place vote.

This is an unreal experience for Duck fans. Sure, players in the past have been mentioned as Heisman candidates, a couple even took the trip to New York. But to see one of our own play at such a high level and most importantly, stay healthy (KNOCK WOOD!), to reach this pinnacle is truly amazing.

Also, Marcus Mariota was just named Pac-12 Player of the Year. His sidekick, RB Royce Freeman was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year.

NEXT POST: "Of course you realize . . . ."

The Ducks have a return engagement with Arizona. Whenever any reporters were able to get Oregon players off to a corner to ask them who they REALLY wanted to play in the Pac-12 Championship, there was no two ways about it. Mariota and Company are getting exactly the opponent they wanted.

Oh we are awake. Yes sir.
And you are going to RUE THE DAY
that you jostled our crib!!!
More on Arizona later.

Get out of the way, Beavers.....


The keys for Oregon will be to distribute the ball evenly amongst all their offensive weapons -- their three running backs including Byron Marshall coming out of the backfield to receive passes; their corps of tight ends even without Pharoah Brown; their endless supply of excellent receivers; and of course the one who makes it all happen, Heisman front-runner Marcus Mariota.

On defense, they need to watch out for the Beavers two weapons, the long passes down the center, and Coach Riley's patented tool -- the always dangerous, tried, true, and traditional Fly Sweep.

The keys for Oregon State will be to run fast, jump up and down, flap and wave their arms, and gosh dang it, just try their darndest to be the best they can be and work really hard to believe in themselves. As long as they show good sportsmanship, their moms will be proud.

On defense, they need to feel privileged that they have front row seats to view the best offense and single best football player that they have ever had the honor to be on the same field with. It'll be a great story to tell the grandkids. 
"Gee Wally, That Marcus Mariota sure is good."
"Ya he's really nice too. He saw me crying as
he ran by me to score and said 'Sorry'."
Oregon will play for the Pac-12 Title December 5th regardless of what happens tomorrow. Their opponent will be decided as UCLA hosts Stanford and Arizona State travels to Arizona. Both games start at 12:30 today.

UCLA, a 4-1/2 point favorite, will go to the Pac-12 Championship if they beat Stanford. If they lose, the winner of Arizona - Arizona State meets the Ducks.

The Ducks aren't concerning themselves with who wins. They are completely focused on just taking care of their own business to get to the big dance. The Beavers are an obstacle. The Pac-12 South Champ is an obstacle.

Last week it was #1 best-in-the-nation Alabama's turn to host a crummy opponent in late November as the playoff polls get more critical.

Two weeks ago you'll recall we had SEC teams scheduling a church (Ole Miss vs. Presbyterian) and a labor union (Missy State vs. UTM) . Last week Alabama played against Western Carolina.

OK now they're just making teams up. You got North Carolina and South Carolina. There IS NO West or Western Carolina. Yet there they were, from the WTF league I guess. The Catamounts, they call themselves.

Here we are in late November,
and the #1 team in the nation
played this team:
The Catamounts.

This coming Saturday is no exception to SEC teams scheduling cupcakes. Florida will be going up against what I am convinced is the most overrated team in the nation, Florida State.

Last week Florida State squeaked by a mediocre 6-4 Boston College 20-17 at home with a last minute field goal. This can't last. Eventually they will come up against a complete team capable of playing a full 60 minutes and get blown out.

It'll be a shame if it doesn't happen until the playoffs and locks out a more worthy #5 team, whomever that may be.

This story from The Oregonian's John Canzano last week:
 NFC East teams try to hire Nick Aliotti as consultant to combat Eagles
Former Oregon Ducks defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti said on Monday that he's been contacted by NFC East teams that want to hire him as a consultant to help them solve the Philadelphia Eagles' offense.
Not an NFC East team -- every one of the NFC East teams.
"I have been asked by everybody in the NFC East ..." the retired Aliotti said on Monday. "The Giants asked me to come back when Chip got the first job. I didn't feel right doing that. Some teams have called when they're getting ready to play the Eagles and they call and have certain questions on the thing. Unless I know the guy and he's a good friend, I don't get involved with that."
The Eagles (8-3) are tied with the Cowboys (8-3) on top of the NFC East. [Dallas got crushed.]
Aliotti, who coached alongside Eagles head coach Chip Kelly, saw the offense every day in practice. He turned down the requests, he said, but Aliotti said he's talked scheme with some of his coaching friends such as USC defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, who played under Aliotti.
"Sometimes it's about scheme, sometimes it's about how you handle what's going on with a situation," Aliotti said. "I have quite a few good friends ... mostly it's X's and O's or how you handle a situation or a player."

I think Nick Aliotti should set up a Pay Pal account and take their money. Once the transaction clears, he could give them the following valuable information. . . . .

1) You need to condition your defense to be ready for snaps every 17 seconds for an entire game. If you start conditioning now, you may be ready for the Eagles in 2015.

2) Because the Eagles QB is just letting the movements of your defensive players decide where the ball is going, you need to have all your men play straight up and honest. Don't lean to the right or left. Don't cheat up or back. Play your position, mind your own gap and territory. If you don't have 11 players on the field that can handle their own for the entire game, Kelly will exploit your weakness. And so your best chance is to just find better players in the next draft.
Really, do you think Chip would care if
Nick offered his opponents some "secrets"?
I think they both would just laugh.

In short, there's no trick. No scheme. No gimmick. If you're worried that Kelly's Eagles are going to shred your defense, you need a better defense.

That's it. Thank you for your business. Good luck.

--Nick Aliotti.

Civil War game time Saturday, 5pm Pacific on ABC.


While Ducks play Buffs, Seminoles play all of us.

Lunch at Autzen. Saturday at 1:30. Buffalo Burgers.
Colorado has lost 23 consecutive road games. But don't let that fool you. They've lost some very close games.
They've lost six games in a row. But two were in overtime.
Statistically they're average, but not terrible. Out of 105 teams, they rank about 120th in scoring defense. But they try hard.
They'll lose to the Ducks, but not without putting up some sort of a fight. You know, like a wiggling salmon in a grizzly bear's mouth.

It'll be a successful day if Oregon just gets the win and stays healthy. Center Hroniss Grasu is out for at least this game with a slight leg injury. Tight end Pharoah Brown is out for at least this season with a clean torn off leg.
Mariota should just unleash to track champion Devon Allen about five times in the endzone, then retire to the sidelines before he trips on a dent in the turf and thrashes his knee. Thank goodness SI so far hasn't decided to put him on their wicked cover for the fourth time.
Pleeeeeze just staaaay healthy stay healthy stay healthy
stayhealthy stayhealthy stayhealthy stayhealthy stayhealthy.

Oregon is currently #2. Alabama leaped over them. Florida State slipped to 3rd because in nearly every game, they've had to come from behind to beat the girl scouts they play.

There's another problem with Florida State . . . .


FSU QB Jameis Winston was accused of sexual assault nearly two years ago. Two of his friends who were at the scene of the alleged crime were given a hearing in May. Winston was not. One friend was cleared, while the other was given one year probation for filming the alleged assault without the alleged victim's permission.

So there's a film of Winston assaulting the victim? No. It was deleted before investigators could see it.

Winston's hearing had been scheduled for November 17th to discuss four charges against him. I'm getting my info from The Sporting News Story, "Shame of Jameis Winston and Florida State: Football above all else".
Here they say,
Winston is accused of four violations of the code of conduct; two considered "sexual misconduct" and two "endangerment." Punishment for any or a combination of the four ranges from probation to expulsion.
There's also the very real possibility that Winston could be charged with the lesser of the four violations — sexual misconduct defined as "conduct that creates an intimidating, hostile and offensive environment for another person" — and still play the remainder of this season

A letter of reprimand might be the hammer of justice in that case. The idea was he would have that hearing in front of a former Florida State Supreme Court judge (which wouldn't surprise me at all if that meant a Supreme Court judge who graduated from Florida State). The judge would then take up to 10 days to decide, or more if needed for "additional consideration of evidence and deliberation".

In any event, that would still leave time for a decision that allows suspending him from future games including their game against Florida on November 29th, the ACC Championship December 6th, the final College Football Playoff selection on December 7th, and of course the playoff and champion games to follow.

Guess what? His lawyer asked for an extension because he hadn't gone through all of the evidence yet. Here was Florida State's chance to say that two years was plenty enough time, and the matter at hand was more important than football.

Guess what? Free Shoes University granted the extension and set the new date for December 1st. That means that a decision doesn't have to be handed down until December 11th at the earliest, long after the regular season is over and the four playoff teams have been selected.
Life is good for the Winstonator.
But wait, there's more! Don't forget about the appellate process after the decision has been made which can be scheduled who-knows-how-long into the future. To sum it up, Jameis Winston is going to play every game whether he's a rapist or not. Florida State is seeing to that.

To make this a bigger pile of BS, this alleged crime -- although plenty bad enough -- isn't the only thing he's being investigated for. In his October 30th game against Louisville, Winston had a bad first half. A TERRIBLE first half. Two interceptions and less than 50% of passes completed -- one of his worst halves ever. Florida State trailed 21-0 going into the locker room.

One Winston fan was happy about it though. A high school classmate and family friend of Winston's bet a whopping $5500 that his buddy's Seminoles would trail in that first half. He won $5000. And magically, Winston improved tremendously in the second half and won the game.

The question to ask here isn't "Did Winston actually sexually assault that woman?" or "Did Winston shave points in a game?"  And the question isn't "What is Florida State's position in all of this?" We know that answer already. FSU has no shame.

The question I have is "Where is the NCAA?" Why aren't they outraged? The NCAA, who gave Joe Paterno the death penalty -- he literally died from their sanctions -- when they stripped Penn State of hundreds of wins. This same NCAA who stripped Ohio State of an entire season of wins including a Sugar Bowl victory when they determined the great QB Terrelle Pryor had sold football memorabilia and driven several nice cars that he didn't buy. Why aren't they raising any kind of concern over how these "investigations" are being conducted.

The part that leaves a bad taste is that those wins by Penn State and Ohio State, including bowl wins, were vacated. The trophy didn't go to the losing team. It was just taken away, forever to be a blank spot in the history books.

These investigations on Jameis Winston won't amount to anything until months or years after this season is over, long after he has bolted to the NFL. And yet why doesn't the NCAA see the hand writing on the wall that this could end badly? Why are they not upset that the first College Football Playoff -- their first attempt at making us forget all about the BCS -- could end with vacated wins? The chances are disturbingly high that a Winston-quarterbacked FSU team could make a mockery out of their inaugural new playoff system.

How does that affect the other three teams? What does that do for the #5 team sitting on the outside while Winston plays?

It seems to me that the NCAA president Mark Emmert would very much want to avoid "vacates" (Vacancies? Vacations?) of major bowl games including and especially THE Championship Game. It smashes the remainder of college football's already dented credibility.


Why doesn't he see the train wreck coming and order FSU to hurry up instead of delaying these investigations? Or better yet, why doesn't he tell FSU and other teams that players cannot play while investigations are under way for certain heinous crimes? 

Which crimes? Off the top of my head, sexual assault and fixed gambling come to mind as two pretty good examples.

If December turns to January and Winston is still playing football, the shame belongs to the whole system.

Colorado at Oregon game time: Saturday, 1:30 pm on the Pac-12 Network.
If you still don't get the Pac-12 Network, drive to your nearby television channel provider. Ask to speak to the supervisor and KICK THE BASTARD IN THE NUTS!!!


Heisman Trophy? How 'bout the Mariota Trophy?

I wasn't able to put up a post about Oregon's sweet victory over Stanford the week before last. So shall we just take a moment to enjoy these photos of Stanford losing?

The greatest touchdown in Oregon history, of course, is The Pick. They're calling this The Pick-UP.

This single play has gone super viral. It immediately hit YouTube from several different angles. Twitter and Facebook blew up. And last Sunday night, there it was on both the ABC and CBS Evening News with the anchor saying something smarmy like, "Let that be a lesson to you kids out there."

Ute Kaelin Clay could not wait to drop the ball so he could begin his dance. In the press conference after the game, he said he took "full responsibility" for that.

Well GREAT, Clay. Was there someone else trying to steal the blame for that one?

And here is a reaction from a Utah fan . . .

This game was a battle. A cage match. It was so nice to have beaten Stanford the week before with the Cardinal putting up little fuss. But these Utes were particularly fussy, sacking Mariota four times and forcing him to fumble once.

Down goes Marcus.

Injuries were huge. Guys on both sides were dropping right and left. Utah's starting QB and wide receiver. Oregon's center Hronis Grasu, then Tight End Pharoah Brown went down.

Watching the replay of Brown's injury the next day, I listened to the announcers say the guys in the truck had a camera angle on the injury, but thought it best not to show it. So I checked YouTube. Here is a 3 second video of what happened to Pharoah Brown. Warning: This is not pretty. If you're eating, stop for a second. If, during this cold and flu season, you're already battling nausea, don't even watch it.

But when you do watch it, you'll instantly understand why he was in so much pain, why he spent days in a Salt Lake Hospital and is now recuperating in his hometown in Ohio, and why the coaches said, "Obviously he's out for the season."

Here is what I don't get. The four big injuries mentioned above -- they were all non- or otherwise little contact. They were all weird twists between the person's leg and the ground. I'm looking at all of them wondering "What is with that turf?"  It's like it has funny seams or a sticky surface that suddenly grabs a foot and won't let go. Maybe just bizarre coincidences.
Pharoah Brown scores in 2nd quarter.

After the barrage of sacks he had received from Washington State and Arizona, It appeared to me that Mariota finally came to full acceptance of what everyone was telling him. If he didn't play like Super Mariota, Oregon would lose. If he didn't dedicate himself to doing EVERYTHING he could to make the plays needing to be made, Oregon would not go anywhere. No Pac-12 Championship. No College Playoff. No Heisman. Nowhere.

Granted he could not have done it without his offensive line suffering through their own wake up call. But together, they all regrouped and rededicated themselves to the cause. In this latest stretch of wins, I think Mariota has kept the ball and run it more often than he did all last season.
*(If I were a responsible journalist, I would actually research the stats and compare how many rushes he's had then and now. But I'm too lazy and it's easier just to offer that point and say it's true -- you know, like Fox and Friends.)
 The result is Oregon is on target for the College Football Playoffs, and Marcus Mariota is on target for the Heisman Trophy.

I mean is there any doubt? At this point in the season, does anybody see Oregon playing at this level without Mariota? Does anyone not see any other team with Mariota suddenly vault to the upper slots in the polls.
Not only should they give Mariota the Heisman already,
but they should recreate the Heisman
in this image of him.
The rest of this season is just hoping nothing terrible happens. Word is Mariota has got this. Here is an excerpt from USC's SB Nation blog "Conquest Chronicles".
But the biggest takeaway from this week's update of the college football odds is that Marcus Mariota is now dominating the Heisman Trophy odds. After another four-touchdown performance (239 passing yards, 3 TD; 114 rushing yards, 1 TD), Mariota's odds are now an overwhelming 1/5.
Everyone else on the Heisman odds list dropped with the exception of Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett and TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin. Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott is second but dipped for the second week in a row. His odds are now down to 13/2.
It's his to lose. 
I propose a new rule in college football. If you play a patsy lower division school in November, it counts as a loss regardless of the score. Last week two SEC teams, Ole Miss and Mississippi State played football opponents in the loosest sense of the words.
#11 Ole Miss played a church, Presbyterian, and beat them convincingly 48-0. And then #1 Mississippi State got by a team called UTM 45-16. I've checked around, and I still don't know who UTM is. I think they're a labor union.
Although they have beaten every SEC team they've played, Missy State's strength of schedule rating is tied with Oregon's at #7 thanks to their scheduling very weak non- league teams.

Missy State vs. UTM
"Ha ha. We're KILLING these guys!"
Meanwhile in that same strength of schedule tally, Florida State is ranked #14. Being a member of the Atlantic Conference, they have played only one other ranked ACC team, Clemson. And their tough win over Notre Dame now looks suspect after ASU just slaughtered the Irish. That explains why Oregon passed them in the Playoff poll. Oregon has beaten three ranked teams this year (Michigan State, Stanford, and at UCLA) and they lost to a currently ranked Arizona team. Pollsters tend to see that as a "good loss".
I point this out because when I see these allegedly awesome teams schedule unbelievably weak teams, it just pisses me off further knowing that Texas A&M had a perfectly good home-and-home series scheduled against Oregon, and they pulled out. Now let's hold our breaths to see what cupcakes Jack Boot U. schedules in those open slots.

Oregon is bye this week in perfect time to heal and finish strong against Colorado, Oregon State, and then the Pac-12 Championship.

In a few days, I will post a special report about a different team. Which team (mentioned above) best comes to mind when I say the word "shame"?


It's not complicated.

It's real simple. Beat Stanford, and Oregon is a legitimate playoff candidate. Don't, and they're not. Beat a Stanford team that currently owns Oregon; Conquer a foe that has it's same cinder block defense and a new revamped offense. Prove, FINALLY, that they can get past their toughest nemesis.

Yes, Stanford has a new offense. They don't have quite the behemoth running back that they've had in the past, or the overwhelming offensive line to clear his path. Their line is still plenty good. But now they're better for pass protection, which is what QB Kevin Hogan is doing these days.

What's more, they're spreading their offense more. And they've even run a couple of plays in succession without huddling. Cardinal coach David Shaw ain't no fool. After three losses, he changed his offense to work better for his personnel. Here's how SI put it in their story, STANFORD TRYING TO UPEND OREGON IN A NEW WAY. . . . .
The Cardinal passed more to offset a young offensive line that has struggled to block in the run game. They ran more to the outside than between the tackles because the running backs are faster and shiftier than the physical bulldozers on past teams. And they opted for a no-huddle offense, at times, to speed up the tempo for quarterback Kevin Hogan - who seems to thrive in a quicker pace.
Stanford also created more touches for top playmaker Ty Montgomery, promising freshman Christian McCaffrey and deep-ball threat Michael Rector. And it spread the ball around more to utilize all of the team's threats, including wide receivers Devon Cajuste and Jordan Pratt and a trio of blossoming tight ends.
What players found is the offense actually got simpler, allowing them to think quicker and play faster.
''We recognized that something needed to change,'' Hogan said, ''and I think it changed for the better.''
The quick-strike approach is still in its infancy, though, and the sample size is limited. What worked against an overmatched Oregon State team might not work against an Oregon team that can score as fast as anybody.
Shaw got Stanford's new offense humming at a terrible time for Oregon State. Stanford crushed the Beavs 38-14 last week. But that thrashing also gave Oregon some valuable game film. So what will it be like when Stanford comes to Autzen playing a more Oregon style of offense?

The perfect guy to ask is Nick Aliotti. You will recall he retired last year and is currently a commentator for the Pac-12 Network. Or to put it another way, he traded in his whistle for the right to speak his damn mind and say whatever the hell he wants. ("USC is soft!" "OSU's offense has become predictable.")

Here, in John Canzano's column, Aliotti answered a few questions about Stanford bringing a read-option to Oregon.
On why teams still struggle against the read option:
"Sometimes it's one-on-one battles, but often times it's people just don't know how they're going to defend that play. (At Oregon) we had a standard way going in so that there was no mistake on who had the quarterback and who had the dive... we always had a rule. We see it every day (in practice). If Stanford runs that against Oregon, that should not be a problem. Stanford's typically been a line-up, smash-mouth, play-action pass, but I'm not just seeing that at all."
Why has David Shaw adjusted on offense?
"I think they don't like their back not being a (Tyler) Gaffney, a (Toby) Gerhart, a Stepfan Taylor... they don't have that guy. The most carries any back has had in a game for Stanford is 14 --- unheard of. And I'm not sure they're in love with their offensive line even though they're all five-star Generals. They're not playing like five-star Generals.
"I don't think they like their running backs... they don't have THAT guy and their O-line has been very average. I think David Shaw doesn't want to do what he's doing now.... they're the same as everyone else, but without the up-tempo offense, so in my opinion they become easier to defend."
Stanford had been able to handle Oregon lately because their offense was both very good and very different from what the Ducks were used to facing. Their defense was also a huge factor in limiting Oregon's scoring.
Hopefully the difference this year for Oregon is an offensive line almost back to full strength, a key player back for the defensive line, Stanford attempting to play a style that Oregon is used to, and most importantly, a healthy and smarter Marcus Mariota.

C'mon Ducks.
This ain't no
office Halloween party.
This is Stanford!
People may forget it wasn't very long ago that Oregon handled a tough and talented Michigan State team. And after that win, everybody said, "That proves it. Oregon can finally beat Stanford.
Well, here they are. They proved they could win those kind of games. Now they just have to do it. It's that simple.

Game time: Saturday 4:30 Pacific on FOX
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