The Oregon Ducks and the NFL Playoffs
One week after our loss to a superior Ohio State team, I can reflect on a great season of Oregon football without feeling too much pain. After the debacle of LaGarrette Blount's punch on national television, this team seemed to improve exponentially week to week. We struggled at home against Purdue but won. We were victorious over a game Utah squad. We hit the PAC-10 schedule with a vengeance, winning decisively over a solid Cal team. We beat USC on the road and hung more points than anyone ever had on USC. We played the best college football game I've ever seen against Arizona down in the desert, and we beat a decent OSU club.
Oh yeah, and we spanked the Huskies for the sixth time in a row on their home turf.
The future is extremely bright for the program. Donor funds are pouring in, and Phil Knight continues his staunch support of Oregon athletics. Chip Kelly is a good man. His leadership, decision making and work ethic excite me about the possibilities of what the future holds for Oregon. Take into account our team's youth (no one on the o-line above sophomore standing; Barner and James are both young; defenders like Lewis and Harris heading into their true sophomore campaigns) and the fact that Masoli will be back at QB and we should be a true national contender in 2010/11.
Thanks so much to the University of Oregon. I'm heading in for my two-hour surgery this afternoon. Surgeons will go into my back panel and flip the toggle switch that reroutes my sports passion from football to hoops, just in time for Oregon to play Oregon State tomorrow in Eugene.
In terms of the NFL, this is a strange weekend. All four games are rematches. I like the Jets to go into Cincy today and take down the Bengals, even with a rookie QB in Mark Sanchez. I like Thomas Jones to control the tempo on the ground, and I think Rex Ryan will have the defense dialled up to stop the Bengals on offense. New York 24, The Nati 10.
I like the Cowboys to finally get over the hump. It's asking a lot for one team to beat another three times in a season, but I think Romo, Witten, Austin, Jones, Barber and the boys get it done tonight at home. I like a shoot-out. This game should be a lot of fun to watch--one of those '90s throwback playoff games. Dallas 38, Philly 34.
I like Tom Brady to do his thing against Baltimore. The Ravens struggle with the pass, and Moss will be locked in and fully engaged. Brady to Moss for 8-157-2. The Patriots can't stop anyone on 'D', but they'll do enough to get out with a win. Pats 34, Ravens 27.
I don't know what to think about the Packers/Cards game. It'll depend on Warner, I think. With Bolding likely out, look for Breaston and Doucette to step their games up. I like the way the Packers are passing the ball, and I think they're swarming on defense. I see another shoot-out, but this one won't be as close. Green Bay 41, Arizona 31.
And finally, don't count on orange juice being affordable this year. It's 30 degrees outside right now and snowing in Orlando. I wanted to play golf this afternoon, but with the windchill the temperature is in the mid-20s. The overnight low for Monday is 16.
Sheesh, that's cold!
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