Friday, November 16, 2007

Oregon - no excuses

Oregon came into last night's game in Arizona primed to make a run at the national title, being ranked at #2 in the BCS (though many speculated they would have been passed by the Big 12 champ). Well, all that is moot now after one of the most uninspiring football games I've ever seen on either end. Oregon QB and Heisman candidate Dennis Dixon hurt his knee early, and pretty much the entire team quit after that. The backup was Ryan Leaf's brother, and the coaches didn't adjust the play-calling, running the spread option with Ryan Leaf's brother. It would have been like if PSU kept the Michael Robinson offense for Morelli. Ryan Leaf's brother also is from the Kyle Orton school of "don't throw the ball more than 10 yards downfield so my completion percentage will look pretty", which is bad for a team that is behind by a lot. Why were they behind by a lot? Because of piss poor effort on defense and special teams in the first half after Dixon's injury. Last time I checked, Dixon doesn't play defense or special teams, so they weren't losing anything there. The blame for this loss has to fall on Mike Belotti and the Ducks coaching staff. In a game as physical as football, you have to be prepared for injuries to your key players. The Ducks clearly were not prepared for Dixon's injury, as evidenced by the lack of adjusting the play calling to Ryan Leaf's brother's skill set (which admittedly, is less) and the obvious lack of heart shown by the entire team. Truly great teams are able to win despite injuries, especially against an extremely mediocre team like Arizona. Oregon (#1 in the SFH poll) obviously isn't a great team.

This does clear up the BCS picture a bit. The title game at this point would appear to be LSU against the Big 12 champ (Kansas, Oklahoma, or Missouri). If LSU slips in the SEC title game or something bizarre happens in the Big 12, Arizona State (if they beat USC) and even Ohio State (if they beat Michigan) would be back in the picture. It still appears that a lot would need to happen for WVU to sneak into the Top 2, despite being ahead of ASU and OSU at the moment.

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