Wednesday, May 29, 2013

How Great Is It To Be A Duck?

How great is it to be a Duck? Think about how close they've been recently: played for a NC in '10, and were close to playing for one in '07, '11, and '12. Yeah they've come up short, but the fact that they're in the mix every year is something I'll take.

I live for Duck football. I was raised to be a Duck. Everybody's gotta be a diehard fan of some team, I'm so lucky that this is mine. The amount of pride I feel is like that of a father who watched his son grow up and make it.

The Ducks are new money in college football. The old school traditionalists don't like them because they're a threat to them. 
Traditional programs like SC resent Oregon's success
The Ducks are cool, trendy, have fancy uniforms, crazy facilities, and score a bunch of points too. Traditionalists don't even like Oregon's offense because they say it's unfair. 
Here's my little violin I'm playin for ya. Hate all you want, you're just mad that Oregon's doing what you do, but look better doing it. 
The Ducks rose to power by doing it THEIR way! Their rivals don't like them because they will NEVER be like Oregon (osu), or, they remind them of what they once were, only better (uw). 
The pooches once stuck their chest out at Oregon. Not anymore.
They keep expecting Oregon to fall off.  I guess they haven't been paying attention because history would suggest otherwise. Since '94 the Ducks have been steady climbin, and it won't stop.

 They've been close many times already...sooner or later they'll be holding up the crystal football.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Birdgang Taking Over

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The Birdgang is taking over. We claim 10 different states on both sides of the country. We're the hardest group that supports their team and the elitist of Duck fans.  We're like SEAL team six of Duck fans...many people have asked about getting in, but you have to EARN your wings to get in!

All birdgang artwork is done by Shawn M. Crosby not me.

Ducks Popular In Preason Polls

Speed blur: Josh Huff (4) blows right past a Trojan

Here's Oregon's most memorable moments according to bleacher report.  Pretty good list. Whether they're good moments or bad moments, they'll always be remembered for something.

Everybody is starting to put together their preseason top 25 list, and most have Oregon between 3-7.  Here's a few of them, followed by their outlook on the Ducks:

Phil Steele ranks Oregon No. 3 ranks Oregon No. 4

Scout ranks Oregon No. 2

Sporting News is the only one that had Oregon this low at No. 8

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Post Spring Game Thoughts: New Coach, Same Team

Oregon Ducks WR Josh Huff heads to the tunnel before the Spring game 

Spring football at Oregon has become a big deal over the last few years due to the program's continued success.

Like with other major programs across the nation, the demand for football here is high.  

Fans craving for a taste of Duck football, since they last saw them cruising to a 35-17 Fiesta bowl victory over Kansas State back in January, were treated to a show.

A lot has happened to the program since January.  Namely, the departure of former head coach Chip Kelly, and the replacement of him by Mark Helfrich.  

And of course as seniors move on, new faces emerge.  

Anxious to see how the Ducks would look under Mark Helfrich, and some of the new talent on offense, 37,000 filled Autzen Stadium last Saturday to get the answers they were looking for.

What they saw was an offensive out pour to the tune of 800 yards and a 65-10 win.  

Marcus Mariota looked to be in usual form, going 13-15 for 169 yards and two touchdown passes.  His backups also performed very well.  Jake Rodrigues was 13-19 with 165 yards and two touchdown passes, and Jeff Lockie was 22-28 for 217 yards and two touchdown passes.

Other new faces stepping up were RB Byron Marshall, who's trying to replace Kenjon Barner.  Marshall carried the ball 6 times for 60 yards and had a touchdown.

Oregon receiver Bralon Addison (#11 in white) catches a pass
Also, Bralon Addison (another one of those weapons on offense that nobody has really heard about yet) had 8 receptions for 136 yards and a touchdown.

I know it was just the spring game, and the offense was playing against a beat up defense, but the fact of the matter remains...this is the same Oregon team, going at the same speed, and they're just as loaded as ever.

Which is good news if you're a Duck fan, bad news for the rest of the conference.      

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

What The Possibility of Sanctions Really Means For Oregon

We already knew that Oregon was probably gonna get slapped on the wrist for their connection with Willie Lyles, a Texas-based talent scout.  

On Monday, KATU in Portland, reported that Oregon and the NCAA determined that the Ducks probably committed major violations.

And already I see people overreacting and fearing the worst.  It's really not so bad for Oregon, and Ted Miller lays out why in Bad news, good news for Oregon.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Oregon Football: Spring links

One of the more intriguing teams to follow heading into next season will be the Oregon Ducks.  They are loaded to make another run at a national championship, but how will they handle the transition from Chip Kelly to Mark Helfrich?

The quest for another national championship starts NOW, not in the summer.  

Here's what they're saying so far:

Thursday, April 4, 2013

What We Already Knew: Auburn's Title Is A Fraud

Congratulations Auburn on your cheap ass tainted title.  Of course it should really come as no surprise to anybody.  Where there's smoke there's fire, and this thing started smoking weeks before the 2010 national championship.

Among the allegations that just came out were changing players' grades so they could be eligible to play, offering money to potential NFL draft picks, so they could return for their senior season, and recruiting violations committed under former head coach Gene Chizik. 

I've never understood what good vacating wins does because we all know who won, but if there ever was a case where a team deserves to be stripped of a title, it's this one.

The whole team was full of dirty players who were getting paid and bribed to be there, and didn't even have to go to class to be eligible to play.

Think about the players playing in that game that shouldn't have been, starting with Cam Newton.  The laptop thief from Florida bailed on them and wound up at Auburn, who just did a better job at outbidding others. 

That's obviously a violation.  Then there were nine others that were academically ineligible (or should have been) but had their grades changed, just so they could play.

Included in that nine was star RB Michael Dyer.  Duck fans know that guy.  If it wasn't for him and his stupid wrist that touched the grass, and the blind official that missed it (probably paid for by Auburn), Oregon may have won the game.

He shouldn't have even been playing!  Take him and Cam out of the game and Oregon wins easily.

Hey Auburn, how does it feel having basically a team full of semi-pro and ineligible athletes and yet you could only beat Oregon by 3?

Auburn fans should be embarrassed.  You can't take pride in winning it that way.  It's so obvious they were cheating.

Just look at what happened once those players started trickling out.  How did Gene Chizik following the year they bought their national championship?  8-5 to 3-9 to jobless.

That 3-9 record gotta sting a little eh Auburn fans?
What's the matter?  Run out of money and couldn't afford to buy anymore players?  You deserve whatever the NCAA throws at you, and it probably won't be enough.           

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Rise Of Oregon Football

Despite all of Oregon's recent success, I still get the occasional "we used to whip up on Oregon every year."  It's no secret that prior to 1994, the only thing Oregon was known for was their track program, and some movie called "Animal House."

1994 was a significant year in Oregon football.  It was the year they decided to take this football thing serious, and turn the program into a national powerhouse.

Oregon in the 1994 Rose Bowl
It was also significant because Rich Brooks took the Ducks to the Rose Bowl, their first trip to Pasadena since 1958.  Oregon lost to Penn State and after the season Brooks left Oregon for the NFL.  

Replacing him was offensive coordinator Mike Bellotti, who had the vision of building upon the success Brooks started. 

The 1995 season brought Oregon's second straight 9-win season and New Year's Day bowl game.  This time it was the Cotton Bowl, and another loss, but the program was still gaining attention.  In particular, from a very important graduate.

Nike founder Phil Knight wanted to help Oregon sustain their success and continue to build upon it.
His vision was to make Oregon into a national powerhouse as well.  

The result has been one of the greatest rises in college sports history.

The 2000 season brought Oregon their first 10-win season in program history following a 35-30 win over Texas in the Holiday bowl.

Oregon vs. Texas from the 2000 Holiday Bowl
The following year they earned their first ever 11-win season with a convincing 38-16 victory over Colorado in the Fiesta bowl.  They also finished the season ranked #2 in both final polls, their highest ranking in the final polls in program history.

By now Oregon was recognized as a legitimate player on the West coast.  Elite players were slowly starting to trickle in to Eugene.

Meanwhile, Phil Knight was at work behind the scenes donating money to the program to improve the facilities, and also by working with players, allowing them to be part of the uniform design.

Nike's partnership with Oregon appealed to elite recruits like former five star recruit (WR) Cameron Colvin, who chose Oregon over programs like Michigan and USC.

"Nike is the elite in sports apparel and having the ability to work with them and give feedback, while also helping with uniform design is a big deal to a teenage kid," Colvin said.

2005 brought another 10-win season and more uniform changes.  On Nov.19, Oregon played Oregon state in their rivalry known as the civil war, and the Ducks debuted some uniforms that had never been seen before.

Shocking and cutting edge to some, disgusting to others, it got people talking about Oregon football.
The players seemed to like them...they went on to crush the beavers in that game, 56-14.

In 2007 Oregon introduced Chip Kelly as offensive coordinator, who instilled a flashy new spread offense to match the uniforms.  

Oregon QB Dennis Dixon scoring on a fake statue and liberty play vs. Mich
They took their show on the road to Ann Arbor for an early season showdown on national t.v. with Michigan.  The Ducks uniforms and offense were on display for everybody to see that day, and they earned a program defining win, handing Michigan their worst home loss in school history (39-7).

Oregon climbed as high as #2 in both polls and were in the drivers seat to play for a national championship, until QB Dennis Dixon tore his ACL and was lost for the season.  

The season could have been so much more for Oregon, but they finished with a 9-4 record and a Sun bowl victory over South Florida, 56-21.

2008 was another 10-win season for Oregon, and was also Mike Bellotti's last as head coach.  In 15 years Bellotti went 171-55.  Replacing him was offensive coordinator Chip Kelly.

All Kelly did was take Oregon to even greater heights.

In 2009, Kelly led the Ducks to a 10-3 record and a birth in the Rose bowl against Ohio State.  Even though Oregon lost (26-17), recruits were taking notice across the nation about this Oregon offense, and wanting to play in it.

2010 was a year of many firsts for Oregon: their first 12-win season, first time to ever start a season 12-0, first time being ranked #1 in the nation, and first ever appearance in a national championship game.            

If it wasn't for the refs blowing this call (his wrist was down) Oregon may have a national championship by now


A heartbreaking 22-19 loss to Auburn it was, but Oregon was still riding high.  They had become the "it program" with the "it coach."

The following year was another 12-win season and another trip to the Rose bowl.  This time Oregon won, defeating Wisconsin 45-38.  In 2012 Oregon earned their third straight 12-win season and a Fiesta bowl victory over Kansas State.

Kenjon Barner (24) and Oregon ran away from Kansas State in the Fiesta bowl
 Following the season Chip Kelly stepped down as head coach, leaving for the NFL.  He led Oregon to a 46-7 record, 2 bcs bowl wins (4 appearances), and had them in contention for a national championship every year. 

Now Mark Helfrich takes over as head coach, who previously served as Oregon's offensive coordinator (see a pattern going on here?)  If history is any indication, Helfrich is gonna continue to sustain the success left by his predecessors.

Since 1994 Oregon has risen to the top of the college football world.  What was once viewed at as a team that everybody whoops up on, became the bully's on the block.

This has been made possible thanks to coaches dedicated to building on the success, and one very rich alum, with the vision of making Oregon into a football power.

The talent is there, Nike, the facilities, and the commitment.  In other words, don't expect Oregon to fall off anytime soon.

  • 1994 - Oregon goes 9-4 and plays in their first Rose bowl since 1958 
  • 1995 - Oregon goes 9-3 and was the year Nike founder Phil Knight got involved
  • 2000 - Oregon's first 10-win season
  • 2001 - Oregon wins 11 games and finishes #2 in the nation after crushing Colorado in the Fiesta bowl
  • 2003 - Oregon gets a marquee win at Autzen over Michigan
  • 2005 - Oregon gets another 10-win season and debuts a cutting edge new uniform that gets the people talking
  • 2007 - Oregon clobbers Michigan 39-7 and spent the majority of the season in contention for the national championship. At this point Oregon became a national player.
  • 2008 - Oregon gets a 10-win season and Mike Bellotti steps down as head coach
  • 2009 - In Chip Kelly's first year as head coach, he leads Oregon to a 10-3 record and appearance in the Rose bowl
  • 2010 - Oregon starts the season 12-0 and plays Auburn for the national championship
  • 2011 - Oregon wins 12 games again and defeats Wisconsin in the Rose bowl 45-38
  • 2012 - Oregon's third straight 12 win season is capped with a 35-17 win over Kansas State in the Fiesta bowl