Would you rather be Oregon losing the Rose Bowl, or the other nine Pac-10 teams wishing they were in the Rose Bowl? None of them would've beaten Pryor and the Buckeyes that day either.
No head hanging, Duck fans. It's not our style. Not anymore.
I was watching interviews of Duck fans leaving the Rose Bowl. I saw one young couple -- they couldn't have been over 21 year's old -- saying how they were "DEVASTATED". Their trip to Pasadena was "ruined".
Those two are truly blessed in their young lives if their football team's loss in the Rose Bowl is their definition of devastation.
A little personal insight: Over the holidays my wife's mother passed away with a group of us by her bedside. I was splitting time between getting through the holidays, sharing with all of you the joy and excitement of Friday's Rose Bowl, and helping to plan and prepare for my mother-in-law's memorial service the following Saturday.
I'll tell you this. Of any tears shed this weekend in my house, none were for the Ducks.
Disappointed they lost? ABSOLUTELY! If you've been following my musings for even a short while, you know that I am truly bummed. I share that feeling with all of you.
But let's keep our feelings in perspective. This was likely a particularly tough year for any of you or your family, friends or neighbors. Lost jobs, lost homes, lost savings, wage cuts, health care expenses, swine flu, and don't forget the wars.
The one obvious bright spot we shared through 2009, the one escape that kept us cheering and smiling? Our Ducks.
Don't be one of those Duck fans that goes from "I LOVE MY DUCKS" to "Devastated" in four hours.
Stay positive. Stay proud. This was a great team. This season was a great ride. And we all loved being a part of it, didn't we?
On the left, you'll find a poll asking how happy and proud you are as a Duck fan today. Mark what you feel, but know that you'll see at least one vote for '11'. That's mine.
I STILL LOVE MY DUCKS.
"That's all good, KB. But really now, WHAT HAPPENED SATURDAY?"
(Photos from L.A. Times)
LeGarrette Blount lays on a bed of Buckeyes as he stretches
for his final TD as a Duck. How can we ever forget you, Blount?
I saw three factors that stumped Oregon.
1) Ohio State's defense was either better than advertised, or as good as advertised and I wasn't paying attention. Their front four linemen were NFL players. Their ability to shed blocks was frightening. The Ducks were able to either hold or fool them a few times in a series; but they proved too difficult to sustain enough drives.
2) The Buckeyes AND the Rose Bowl itself proved ploblematic for Oregon to establish its rapid pace on offense. Yes, the Buckeyes did own the time of possession: 41:37 to 18:23. That's a wide margin, but the Ducks are used to doing more with less.
The other factor was that it seemed when the Ducks did have the football and ran off three or four rapid fire plays, their flow was suddenly interrupted with a humungously long TV timeout.
Also, injuries to either side often came at an inopportune time it stop the action and their rhythm. They never were able to get into their own flow with the short time they had the ball. Add two turnovers into the mix, and 17 points is about all they could do.
3) Take one guess: Terrelle Pryor. Wow, that kid's pretty good. I'm a Holy Moly Masoli fan, but wow. He made some passes that nobody had any business completing. He runs smooth like a clipper with four sheets in the wind. Oregon sacked him four times (Three by defensive player of the game Kenny Rowe). They intercepted him once. He limped through the game with a knee injury. Geez, that should be enough to shut down any mortal QB.
Watching him reminded me of another Rose Bowl game a few years back. USC, meet Vince Young.
Kenny Rowe sacked Terrelle Pryor three times, but the gifted QB
scrambled away from Rowe and Will Tukuafu too many times Saturday.
The Oregonian's John Canzano wrote a good article about Pryor and Oregon's look to the future about recruiting their own Pryor-quality players.
One side note that Canzano mentioned was the following:
Note to the Ducks football operations department: Immediately educate ABC's Brent Musburger, who talked about the losing team's bright future in the closing minutes of the broadcast but identified Kelly's program as "The Oregon State Ducks."
There's no excuse for that. Musberger knows who the Ducks are. He's been to Eugene plenty of times. He had weeks to prepare for this game. It would be better to call ABC and tell them to fire the bonehead who has been an embarrassment to sports broadcasting for over 30 years.
As for the Ducks future, they return 18 starters. In addition, three JC offensive line recruits are ready to take the field next year. People are already chatting about next year's Rose Bowl and even the National Championship. Oregon will likely have to beat USC and Oregon State on the road to get it done. But hey, no Boise State next year!
Here is an article about next season from the Oregonian.
I'll put together final thoughts on the season later. --kb