Ducks' Dream Falters
Before SEC Superiority
By Fred Delkin
Outcoached and outplayed, Oregon was embarassed in the inspiring confines of Cowboy
Stadium, for all the nation to see on television screens. LSU coach Les Miles conjured up
strategy that will now be aped by Pacific 12 conference members. The UO 'hurry-up' spread
offense was foiled by LSU defensive secondary switches prior to the ball snap that caused Duck
QB Darron Thomas to constantly change his signals and delay his execution. An LSU defensive
lineup had both bulk and speed that overcame Webfoot blockers and stymied the formerly
fearsome Webfoot rushing attack. The Duck passing prowess was reduced to short completions
and a paucity of lengthy vertical strikes. The UO defense played well, but lack of support from
the offfense finally tired defenders in the second half.
This week, the U) coaching staff will be schooling freshman runner DeAnthony Thomas in the
fine art of holding tightly onto the ball after his crucial fumbles. There's also the fact that the
'Big Game' pressure affected a UO squad that committed a rash of 'false start' penalties and
seemed to believe it truly deserved its pre-game national #3 ranking. Reality has returned, coach
Chip Kelly's "Win the Day"mantra has been violated and a good Nevada squad comes to Autzen
Saturday. We think the Quackers will rebound on home turf. OREGON by 14.
It is very difficult to find a rationale for the collapse of Oregon State before a 27-point underdog
Sacramento State. Beaver coach Mike Riley has fans clamoring for frosh QB Sean Mannion to
replace veteran Ryan Katz at QB, and Riley says both signal-callers will play versus Wisconsin,
never a positive strategy for success. The host Badgers appear to be the class of the Big Ten and
a Beaver humiliation is guaranteed. WISCONSIN by 35.
Stanford easily overwhelmed San Jose State and Cardinal QB Andrew Luck buffed his Heisman
credentials that will only be enhanced this week as the Cards go cross-country to battle a weak
Duke squad, which can only match their visitors academicaly. STANFORD by 28.
Washington was almost done in by the plethora of western Washington players populating an
Eastern Washington team that earned a national title at a lower level last season. The Dawgs do
have enough talent to thump visiting Hawaii, but the Rainbows won't go quietly. DAWGS by
California played like a title contender in vanquishing a visiting Fresno State group and the
Golden Bears won't be devalued this week in a trip to Colorado, easily the weakest link in the
new Pacidic 12 conference. CALIFORNIA by 21.
Washington State rivals Colorado for a conference tailend designation, and the Cougars lost their
veteran QB Jeff Tuel while running over an overmatched Idaho State. Fortunately for the Cougs,
this week they host a sorry UNLV squad. WASHINGTON STATE by 10.
Should be an entertaining struggle this week in the L.A. Coliseum between Utah and USC. The
Utes whipped a lower division Montana State Saturday, while the Trojans had their way with
Minnesota. Playing on their home sod, SC should edge their guests, but it won't come eaasy.
SC by 7.
Arizona State easily vanquished Cal Davis last week, but they now host a strong Missouri bunch
and questions about Sun Devil coach Dennis Erickson's future will get a true answer this week as
Missouri comes to the desert. Dennis has a 6-5 QB Brock Osweiler who should complement the
usual vicious defense that has marked Erickson's long career. SUN DEVILS by 10.
UCLA mentor Ricky Neuheisel almost let host Houston stifle his many critics, but the Texans
prevailed last week. This week a sorry San Jose State bunch will wander into the Rose Bowl and
Ricky will survive for another outing, but that's hosting Texas and that should enhance the
'replace the coach' movement among Bruin faithful. UCLA by 20.
Arizona had no problem beating up Northern Arizona last week, but it was not good preparation
for trip to Oklahoma State Saturday. The Wildcats' defense can be expected to wilt before the
host Cowbys' aerial assault, contrary to Arizona's Alamo Bowl win last year over this same foe.
OKLAHOMA STATE by 3.
ROSES & RASPBERRIES...Portland State's Vikings earned a season-opening victory bouquet
with a 52-0 romp over a Southern Oregon patsy in the Viks new home field debut at Jeld-Wen
Field, and they get a rest this week...a hearty boo to those who still believe that baseball is
'America's sport' or that 'futbol' can compare to the joys, sorrows and complexities of American
football...Posies to the Jeld-Wen folk for restoring high school football appearances in downtown
(OMED: Apologies to fans who expected this on Friday. I was attacked by pirates while
salmon fishing, and couldn't get the ransom money until Saturday.)
© 2011 Oregon Magazine