Why Oregon Fans and Media Should Take The Blame For The Rose Bowl Loss

duck-707078It’s taken a while for me to write anything this week.

It’s part shock, part anger, and a whole lot of mourning. I needed time to complete the five stages of grief, regroup, collect my thoughts and write something more meaningful than a “Chip Kelly effed up that fourth down call” rant.

This was such a great season and it so see it go down this way was more crushing than watching the season finale of “Friends” in 2004 or seeing someone about to get hit by a car knowing you can do nothing to save them.

After spending the last few days figuring out the good, the bad and the ugly (mostly ugly) that happened on New Year’s Day, I have come up with an explanation for why so many Duck fans had such a rocky start to 2010.

And it has absolutely nothing to do with anything on the field.

Here goes.

Winning is a tradition. And unfortunately, traditions don’t hatch over night.

Oregon fans have only recently gotten a taste of winning. In fact, most lifetime fans have suffered through far more losing seasons that winning years, as evidenced by the number of Rose Bowl appearances (5) and wins (1) in the program’s history.

At this stage, winning is sort of a novelty for Duck fans the media. It’s new, it’s fun, trendy even, but it’s not expected.

Look at Ohio State. Every single year, the Buckeye media and fans come into the season expecting no less than a Rose Bowl win. They demand excellence.

The goal for a program is always to exceed expectations. Setting the bar at making the Rose Bowl is one thing, but for Ohio State, getting there is not enough. They expect to win.

You can call them spoiled, sure, but they put pressure on the team to deliver. And for the most part, they do. No team wants to deal with an unhappy fan base or media telling them what they did wrong, especially one that can fill a 110,000 seat stadium and connect with ears all over the country.

Their coaches, players, fans, writers and recruits all expect to win every play, every game, every season. It’s contagious.

Why do teams fire coaches? Because they lose the trust of the players and in return, they stop expecting to win. Mindset is half the battle.

Ohio State’s tradition of winning is over a century long, with 33 Big Ten and seven national championships to prove it.

In fact, their tradition is so strong that fans started an uproar when Ohio State introduced a slightly modified jersey in 2006.

Oregon on the other hand, is all about the now. The Ducks are cutting edge in just about everything: the newest uniforms, offense, locker rooms, training facilities, the list goes on.

There’s not much history or tradition (aside from The Pick) outside of the past 15 seasons, at least that Oregon fans want to remember.

And like the new uniforms, success isn’t something the fans and media can get tired of like a pair of week-old Nike cleats.

After we (yes, I feel like am a part of Oregon football) lost last Friday, you have no idea how many times I heard “Well, it was just fun being here.”

That attitude, more so than talent, preparation or coaching, is the biggest reason why we still don’t have a Rose Bowl victory since 1917.

Duck fans were more interested in tailgating in sunny, palm tree-speckled Pasadena, basking in the experience and taking pictures of the beautiful, overlooking San Gabriel Mountains, than trying to destroy their vocal cords by the second quarter per usual.

Columnists were busy readying their stories about what a great season it had been and how it be just oh so nice to finish the year off with a win.

Just like most teams who screw up in big games because they change their style of play, we as fans should take the blame for change our style in the Granddaddy of Them All.

“Win the Day,” isn’t that Chip Kelly’s mantra? It felt more like, win the season and whatever happens next happens.

January 1st had to be the quietest (aside from at Stanford) Oregon game that I have ever been to.

But this is ok. I can’t expect us to get it right away. Like Aristotle said, we learn by doing.

Now that we have been on the big stage, the crucial transformation is learning from our mistakes. This experience needs to teach us what to expect and how to act for next year, when we’re right back in the Rose Bowl.

We need to build a winning tradition, one where “just being there” isn’t enough. And this takes time. It needs to be instilled from birth (for fans) and letter of intent (for players), read everyday in the newspaper and seen everyday on tv.

If Oregon wants to take the next step in terms of national prestige, fans and media will have to act like we belong with the traditional powers like Ohio State, Florida and Notre Dame.

The reason these powers have been able to maintain excellence is because the fans, the media, the players and coaches are  very critical of themselves and involved in how to make improvements. And those teams listen.

If Ohio State had lost last week, the media and fans alike would be calling for Jim Tressel’s head. Yeah, he’s done a great job for the program, but that doesn’t mean anything unless you win it all.

The powerhouse programs are victims of their own success, but that is a positive. It shows they care.

As it stands right now, Oregon is just the little engine that could, waiting for its chance to finally join the popular group.

We as fans and the media need to start treating the team like grown men and not just kids who need to hear repeated encouragement.

“Nice try, sport, you’ll get ’em next time” only goes so far.

After a Rose Bowl loss like this one, we can’t pat ourselves on the back and say it was a good try, we need to find the reasons why Oregon lost and improve immediately.

It’s up to us for Oregon to get there. We need to demand excellence, and if they know what’s best for themselves, they’ll listen.

It starts now.

You can follow Keith on twitter or on his Facebook page .

Are You Smarter Than the UO Sports Dude?

Well, maybe you are in calculus, quantum physics or organic chemistry, but probably not in picking college football games.

Welcome to the first annual UOSportsDude.com College Bowl Pick’em contest.

I have teamed up with FantasyDaddy.com, 619Sports.net and NFLshouts.com to put on the biggest tournament that is hosted by a University of Oregon student, a fantasy football website, a San Diego sports website and a Twitter-like website that covers the NFL. Beat that ESPN!

619-sports-logo 1nfl shouts uosportsdude

Although I cannot officially announce the prize just yet, it will be good. Think free product from a company that sponsors Oregon football and many high profile professional athletes such as Ryan Braun. If you guess the prize you will earn a high-five and/or free product.

Also, the winner will get free merchandise from the FantasyDaddy.com store, most likely featuring the above beautiful winged logo on it. Duck fans can relate.

This is how you can sign up:

The setup on Yahoo has a confidence scale included.  On ESPN it’s straight up.
Here is what you need to do to enter.
For Yahoo:
1. Log onto the College Bowl Pick’em (click here)
2.  Join the group (www.FantasyDaddy.com, group ID – 7803)
(This is a public group)
For ESPN.com
1.  Create an entry on College Bowl Mania (click here)
2.  Join the group (www.FantasyDaddy.com)
That’s it!  Make sure to pass the word around, we want to make sure we have all the “so called” experts (that means you!) in this contest.

You will be able to make your picks once the oh-so-exciting Army-Navy game is over on December 12th, because you can’t have the college bowl season without the EagleBank Bowl. That’s like having Spaghetti without meatballs or lamb without tuna fish. It just shouldn’t happen!

Why we can’t just make our picks and come back for this one, I still don’t know.

UPDATE: They must have read this because all of the set games are available to be picked as of this moment!

Happy picking!

Finals Procrastination: Open Thread

procrastinate cartoonIt’s finals week. You have two essays to write, three exams to study for, and a final project where one member of your group keeps showing up to meetings drunk (that really happened).

And it all needs to be done by Wednesday.

You’re overwhelmed. You don’t want to study. I understand.

You might have even made it to the library, have your books and notes on the table in front of you, but you just can’t stop checking your @mentions on twitter, your Facebook fan page and googling your own name. Wait, that’s just me?

I have been in the library for eight of my last twenty-four hours and this post is all I have to show for it. FAIL.

Whatever the case, if you’re like me and you’re looking for any excuse to take a break from the books, or just prolong you from starting in the first place, this is your lucky day.

I have scourged the depths of the internet to find the most entertaining, time-wasting, anti-productive, raise-your-chances-of-failing, parent-infuriating, anything-is-better-than-studying-for-anthropology-videos on YouTube.

Here is the best of what I could come up with. Please feel free to add your links or just vent about finals in the comments.

Happy procrastinating!

Stay with this one till the end, it’s worth it.

That’s enough to get you started. Maybe I’ll add more later. Enjoy!

We Have a Winner: And The Best Beaver Joke is…


Who doesn't like a shaved beaver?

If we had lost on Thursday, I might have been too ashamed to even post the winner. But thankfully, we won, and now we’re heading to the Rose Bowl!

Thank you to all who submitted jokes and I hope you enjoyed it. I expect more of these contests in the future so stay tuned!

Ok. Drum roll, please.

And the winner is:

How do OSU Student Health Services promote safe sex?
They labels the animals that kick back.

Congratulations, Matthew! You have won a $20 gift card to Oregon Sports in the Gateway Mall.

I know it’s dirty, but so am I.

Go Ducks!

It’s Finally Game Day: The Biggest Civil War Ever

Duck Voodoo at it's best!

Duck Voodoo at it's best!

Before this year, Abraham Lincoln must have rolled in his grave at the thought of two Oregon football teams making light of our country’s most historic moment to promote a rivalry game.

But this year, good ol’ Uncle Abe understands.

Never before in the history of this game – all 112 years – has this game carried so much weight. The winner goes to the Rose Bowl and the loser, well, the Holiday Bowl isn’t much of a consolation.

Seeing as this is the biggest sporting event of my life – and in the history of Oregon – it’s truly unfortunately I couldn’t spend more time previewing this  game. But I’m a student first and a football fan second, err, well, at least that’s what I lead my dad to believe.

Professors really should know better than to assign final projects, essays, exams the week of the Civil War. One even scheduled a final exam review for 4 p.m. this afternoon. Seriously. Let’s see who shows up for that one.

But I will give you a prediction, and more links,  so I help satisfy you football fix before kickoff.

I honestly just can’t see the Ducks losing this game. Not with how the Ducks steamrolled OSU last year in Reser, not with how explosive Oregon’s offense has been, not when I just found out Oregon State actually has a homosexual Sheep Center on campus (seriously!), and most importantly, not in Autzen.

The one thing that does worry me though, is Jacquizz Rodgers.

In case you were wondering, yes, that is real horse poop.

In case you were wondering, yes, that is real horse poop.

I don’t like him. You don’t like him. No Duck fan likes him. But he is a fantastic football player, and a threat that Oregon State didn’t have last year. He is a total game-changer.

Fortunately, Oregon’s front seven is much improved and stopping the run has turned from a weakness last year, to a strength this year.

This is going to be one of those nail-biting, cover your eyes at the  finish, down to the wire games that makes football so great.

And I can only expect one thing: A Duck victory.

Prediction: Oregon 45, Oregon State, 38

Here are some more links you definitely need to check out:

ESPN’s Ted Miller examines the importance of this game for both teams, the fan bases and even conference awards.

OregonLive’s Bob Rickert has some videos to get you fired up, including – you guessed it- I Love My Ducks.

Sports Illustrated’s Austin Murphy weighs in with his thoughts on the Civil War.

The AP breaks down the differences between a Duck and a Beaver. It won’t just be anatomically, I promise.

And finally, the Oregonian’s John Canzano says the fans need to their part to make this Civil War epic. Shouldn’t be a problem, Johnny boy.

And there you have it, Go Ducks!

I’ve told you mine. What’s your final score?!?!

Why Leave The Civil War Up to Chance When I Can Jinx Oregon State?

Look how pretty the Quizz Show is!

Look how pretty the Quizz Show is!

The biggest game of my life as a sports fan is Thursday. And as the clock creeps closer to kickoff with each minute ticking by, I am only getting more and more nervous.

Obviously, I can’t do anything to directly help Oregon increase their chances of winning, so I will resort to doing what I what do best: using my sharp, snarky, witty (I could go on forever…) humor to jinx Oregon State into losing a game that will only make those blockhead students from Corvallis just that more ashamed to call themselves Beavers.

It’s the least I could do. Seriously.

  • Jacquizz Rodgers has never fumbled once in his 498 career carries.
  • Because of that, his extra year of experience, and exceptionally sturdy knee ligaments, Rodgers is obviously better than LaMichael James.
  • The fly sweep is the best play in college football, much better than Oregon’s pitiful spread option attack.
  • Oregon State is first in the Pac-10 in passing yards while the Ducks sit in last place. There is no doubt that Sean Canfield is a better quarterback than Jeremiah Masoli.
  • The Beavers have allowed the fewest rushing yards in the conference and tenth fewest in the country. It doesn’t matter that teams just decide it’s easier to throw the ball. Numbers don’t lie!!!
  • Crucial statistic: OSU has a better net punting average than the Ducks. Knowing that, why even bother playing the game? The Beavs have it locked up.
  • Jacquizz Rodgers has a 547.6 quarterback rating. Talk about Heisman!
  • If the Civil War was decided by picking two players from each team and adding up the points from their first name Scrabble-style on a per-letter ratio, the Beavers would win in a landslide. Jacquizz and Zeke? Are you kidding me? Can you even imagine how many points that would be on a triple word score?
  • Oregon State had more four-star recruits than Oregon in 2006. Talk about veteran leadership!
  • After last season, ESPN’s Ted Miller ranked Quizz as the fourth best player in the Pac-10. The Ducks didn’t get a single player in the top eight.
  • OSU cheerleaders are way hotter than Oregon cheerleaders, and look, they even took buddy pics! How cute!
  • Oregon State has two more alumni than Oregon who have been in space. Look, they’re even smarter than us too!
  • In a state known for being green, Chip Kelly drives a Land Rover while Mark Riley drives a Prius. Everyone is always talking about how being environmentally friendly pays off in the long run. The environmental karma Gods are watching!
  • And lastly, the Beavers have a player with 12 fingers. Talk about an advantage; imagine what you can do with all those fingers! He could enjoy 12 ring pops at the same time! Delicious!

I sure hope the Gods of reverse jinxing are Oregon alums. Go Ducks!

My Obligatory Thanksgiving Break Rant, Enjoy

No, I'm a thigh man!

No, I'm a thigh man!

This was an extremely weird Thanksgiving break. Up was down, black was white and in-laws were well, in-laws.

I came home Friday afternoon, a whole week before Thanksgiving, so I could spend a few extra days with the girlfriend. I mean, what’s more important: seeing my girlfriend or going to business calculus and philosophy class? (Dad, I don’t want to hear your opinion)

After spending the past few months in the never ending black hole of overcast, rain, and perpetual 40 degree weather that is Eugene, my skin had a minor freak out upon walking out of the airport into 65 degree sunshine–in late November.

If it weren’t for Oregon football, I’d be kicking myself for ever leaving California’s year-round sunny weather.

Ok, enough weather. Why was this week so weird?

I spent more time in a mall than I did watching football. Seriously. That’s what happens when you have a girlfriend. Is it too late to go back?

I missed out on Tiger’s accident, Pete Carroll being Pete Carroll (read: douche), and six hours of planting my ass directly in front of the NFL Red Zone channel on Sunday.

Instead, I got to spend hours waiting in front of the dressing room at Forever 21, A’gaci, Charlotte Rousse, Bebe and every single other store on the San Francisco Peninsula.

I went to three (three!) different malls, including one on Black Friday. I am ashamed.

Quick tangent.

Is it just me or does everyone who works at Forever 21 and the like look exactly the same? It’s always a kinda-gangster looking Asian or Latina chick who wears clothes one size too small, too much make-up and jewelry (almost always huge hoop earrings), a small tattoo (most likely a tramp stamp) and might be cute if she lost 10 pounds.

I even saw one girl, who was almost cute, look in the mirror (while she was working) and remark to a co-worker, “all my blubber is showing.”

Yea, that’s because your shirt is one size too small, you eat McDonald’s on your break, the only exercise you get is walking to the stock room to check if that sparkly mini-skirt is in stock, and you read way too many fashion magazines that say if you want to get a guy you have to dress like it’s Halloween every single day.

Seriously. It’s the same girls at every store.

Don’t worry though, I’m earning my man card back tonight by watching Dennis Dixon make his first NFL start. Check my twitter if you don’t believe me.

It doesn’t matter that I’m only watching because my girlfriend is at the Kelly Clarkson concert, I’m still watching!

And the other weird thing this week?

I don’t think I’ve eaten a single healthy thing since Monday. And I’ve been a super health freak ever since I went from 205 to 145 on the scale since high school.

I fit in every single one of my San Mateo comfort-food favorite restaurants, along with a Thanksgiving feast and my mom’s birthday cake in a week. Pretty impressive, huh?

Burritos, teriyaki chicken, frozen yogurt, pumpkin pie, dim sum face-stuff fest, birthday cake. Not a good diet–even for a college student.

Yet somehow, I think my pants are actually looser on me now than they were last week. Now that’s impressive.

Gotta take advantage of the metabolism while I can.

Bubbling Across the Border with the UO Equestrian Team

Who knew there was even a video game?

Who knew there was even a video game?

Editors Note: Sometimes it’s good to take a break from football and give other sports a little spotlight. In honor of that, here’s a piece by Christina Barth about the University of Oregon’s equestrian team. I bet you didn’t even know they had one. Shame on you!

After a long show day, when all you want to do is shower and change out of uncomfortable clothes that are grimy, wet, muddy, somewhat musky, and covered in horse hair, the last thing you should expect to see is a bunch of girls in a La Quinta Inn Jacuzzi.

That is, unless you are a member of the University of Oregon’s Equestrian Team.

The University’s equestrian team is a conglomeration of girls, from freshman to graduate students, who have been trained in all styles of riding. We have Dressage riders, we have Eventers, we have Hunter-Jumpers, we have Reiners and we have people who just love to ride. Senior Martha Clay loves being a part of the team because “It is such a great way to meet people who share the same interests. It’s a fun, easy way to meet new friends.”

A usual show day starts off with the shrill sounds of someone’s phone alarm going off and the general mumble of “Please- just 5 more minutes.” Sounds like any other student’s day, right? Well, at 5:30 am, in an uncomfortable bed, in a strange hotel, those five extra minutes may mean the difference between a good ride and a bad one. So as the covers are thrown off, and the shuffling for long johns and breeches begins, our day grudgingly starts.

This time, we are waking up in Richmond, B.C. Instead of a 5:30 a.m. hustle to get our things together, we have a leisurely 9 a.m. call for a continental breakfast, before the mayhem of an IHSA (Interscholastic Horse Show Association)  show begins.

Our season opener started off on a gloomy morning, with promise of rain, and lack of a nearby Starbucks. Too bad its time for us to get on the road. Don’t believe that navigating a Motorpool truck and van, which only slightly resembles a DDS van, through narrow downtown Vancouver, to find a riding club set back in a residential neighborhood, is easy.

As we arrive at the show grounds, we are pleasantly surprised to see a facility complete with full racetrack and several indoor and outdoor arenas. Horses are warming up outside, and riders from 12 different teams scattered throughout the Pacific Northwest, look on in anticipation. The call for coaches meeting comes, and slowly, riders trickle to the clubhouse across the arena. Now, the day really has begun.

I definitely couldn't do that!

I definitely couldn't do that!

In an IHSA show, a team hosts the show; in this case the hosting team is University of British Columbia. The hosting team is responsible for supplying the facility, the prizes, the judges, and of course, the horses. The visiting teams drive from their university to compete on horses that not only have been graciously donated to be used throughout the day, but also, horses that they will not have the chance to ride, or get to know, before going in the arena to be judged.

Basically, you’re a rider, in a strange place, on a strange horse, with equal footing as the riders you are competing against. This really is a display of the riders’ ability. The coaches have a meeting prior to the show, primarily to draw numbers, which are indicative of a specific horse, out of a bucket to assign them randomly to members of every team. There is a horse description to get a brief idea of who you will be riding, but no photos, and definitely, no practice time.

On this particular Saturday, the first rider of the day is senior, Brittany Kelley. Kelly, who is one of three Open division riders for the University’s equestrian team, has drawn a horse that is proving to be a true test of her riding abilities–and her patience. Stopping mid-canter to attempt to exit the arena, the horse shows no signs that he is willing to cooperate with his rider. Other riders will share Kelley’s lack of amusement at her horse’s behavior over the course of the day. Though her horse was not the most cooperative of sorts, Kelley completes the round gracefully.

When asked, what was running through her head during her ride with a horse who wouldn’t stay put in the arena, Kelley simply said, “Well, what am I supposed to do now?”

And that- is the way the cookie crumbles in the world of IHSA showing. Junior, Ashlee Branham pointed out “In IHSA it’s always a challenge but it feels good when it goes our way.” Ashlee, who is primarily a Western rider, has flourished in the English flatwork, and represented the UO, along with three other members from last year, at Regionals 2009.

This would never happen to the U of O equestrian team!

This would never happen to the U of O equestrian team!

Sophomore, and also new to the Equestrian team, Katy George, who is also a Duck Football fan said about the unexpected loss to Stanford, “Well, the Ducks may have sucked tonight, but at least one UO Team rocked it today!”

As the 13 UO riders who participated in this competition packed into the vehicles, we added to our load, a colorful array of ribbons, a box of individual boot polish kits, and a team high-point ribbon. All in all, it was a pretty successful weekend in the realm of horseback riding. As a team, we walked away with three firsts, a four seconds, a third, two fourths, five fifths, and lastly, four sixths.

Two Dudes on E. 13th

In the spirit of the Civil War, here’s a funny video from rbdog, original posted on Addicted to Quack.

If you are pressed for time, skip ahead to the 55 second left mark for the best part. Enjoy!


Pac-10 Preview Week 13: A Week Off Before the Only Game That Matters

Monistat: USC's first choice for effective yeast infection relief.

Monistat: USC's first choice for effective yeast infection relief. courtesy: http://duckvoodoo.com

Normally I would be angry about the Ducks having a week off, but to tell you the truth, I could use a break. I am completely spent from that down to the wire, pulling out my hair, covering my eyes, instant classic, comeback win down in Arizona.

I was so nervous in the fourth quarter it felt like I had just drunk 17 cups of coffee. And then when Jeremiah Masoli found Ed Dickson in the back of the end zone on that beautiful post route, it was like I had a Starbucks double-shot to account for the giddiness.

To sum up, I was shaking more than a Shakira music video.

But now we get to look ahead to a game even more important and nerve-wrecking than last Saturday: the 113th Civil War.

And just so we can properly hype up this game to the mammoth proportions it deserves, there will be a Super Bowl-esque break beforehand.

With how much attention the game is drawing already, it will take about seven overtimes for this game to live up to the hype.

But that’s enough about that, for now.

With Thanksgiving on Thursday, I’m making my picks for the rest of the Pac-10 early.

Stanford 38, Notre Dame 24: The Fighting Irish have taken a beating this year, figuratively and literally. If the media hasn’t been hard enough on Charlie Weis and his team this year, fans are going above and beyond to get the message across that 6-5 just doesn’t cut it in South Bend.

After last week’s devastating home loss to Connecticut, quarterback Jimmy Clausen was punched in the face by a disappointed fan. And much like Notre Dame this season, Clausen did not fight back and left.

If the Fighting Irish can’t handle a single fan at a sports bar, imagine what Heisman candidate Toby Gerhart will do to them this Saturday. I don’t like their chances.

Arizona 34, Arizona State 17: This has let-down game written all over it for Arizona. It will be hard for the emotionally bruised Wildcats to bounce back from the disappointing loss to Oregon, especially on the road.

But luckily for them, the Sun Devils just aren’t a very good football team. And hey, they are still in the running for the Holiday Bowl, so don’t tell me they have nothing left to play for.

Washington 28, Washington State 17: As bad as these teams were last year, the Apple Cup was one of the more exciting (yet pathetic) games of the season.

Both of the Washington schools got off to relatively promising starts this season, so it is disappointing for these teams to have a mere combined two Pac-10 wins coming in to this year’s game.

If you have nothing better to do Saturday afternoon, it might be fun to watch these two teams battle for supremacy in the state of Washington. But then again, that’s like being the tallest midget or smartest retard. Even if you win, you still suck.

USC 24, UCLA 17: On the bright side, USC fans won’t have to complain about suffering through another Rose Bowl. With a win, the Trojans will make the execs over at the Holiday Bowl the happiest people alive. And the Bruins? Well, they would be happy with the Poinsettia Bowl.

Can you imagine that if USC loses this game it would fall to 4-4 in conference? I can’t even remember the last time that happened. I am going to attribute the fall of the Trojans to the beating Oregon put on them in Autzen on Halloween. Take that, Matt Barkley! Fear the Juju!