I dropped a minor bombshell yesterday when I announced that I’d be moving to Portland, Oregon on Saturday. While I was completely pumped up that my readers were so supportive of this relocation, it is worth noting how strange it will feel to be flying into PDX the day the Ducks come to town, my town, Los Angeles. It couldn’t be avoided as I am needed at my new job and the local pubs (there’s a bourbon problem, I’ll fix it), but the strangeness of it cannot be denied.
Looking at it through Rose City tinted glasses, the cosmos is literally firing a bearfighting missile into the heart of darkness (or grayness, rather) to start the battle. I am excited to make PDX my new home, but I am coming with a welcome gift. The Shocker in the Southland.
That actually made me laugh. Shocker with USC involved? Never. Anytime we’re on the field, we can win, just as we did last year. We’ve played down on many occasions this year, Oregon has not been tested. I’ll be the first to say this is a tall order for us, Oregon has not been even so much as tested this year. Vegas says they will be at the Coliseum. We’ll certainly see.
First off, Oregon. I’m coming to town. Outside of Saturday, the last scheduled time we play you for two years (though I do expect to see you in a few Pac 12 Championships), I want to make it clear that we’re cool. I’ll drink with you at Rum Club. I’ll eat a plate of funky charcuterie at Nostrana. I’ll drink something barrel aged at Kask. We can Pok Pok. Hell, I’ll dip a Voodoo Donut in NyQuil and do a rain dance with you. We’re going to be buds. I’ll be working for Nike’s agency, hell you never know, you might see me dressed running around like a neon banana in Forest Park. USC is a Nike school. I just think you guys dig fingerpainting too much. But I accept that. We’re good. We’re going to be hanging out all the time, you will see my wife who has roots in the PNW at the Farmer’s Market on Saturdays and if you see me eating a Reggie, we can share a high five. Maybe a SoCal one arm bro hug to exchange cultures. I am ready to embrace your locally crafted everything and I may even not run over bikes on the streets. I won’t use an umbrella. I’ll do my best to appreciate all that you are and you will come to find, I am awesome to drink bourbon with. I’ll even talk reasonably about your teams. Hell, I may even become a Timbers fan. It seems awesome.
The thing is, on game day, I’m not backing down. Not even a little.
Let’s set the scene. Oregon won their first Rose Bowl (although with sanctions, take it from us, you may not be keeping it). They have won the Pac 12 I think like three times in a row. They have redefined the concept of letting children dress themselves when they go to school and in fairness, a lot of the country gets a huge kick out of their millions of uniform combinations (including my favorite, Las Vegas Casino Security Camera):
We’re in an interesting place. The historical rivalry is not much of one. USC, on the national level, is the only relevant west coast team, but Oregon is working incredibly hard to change that. They have made a nice start. After losing a ton of opportunities in big national games to make a point, they won a Rose Bowl and finally put some hardware at Autzen to prove they were good in their own right, regardless of USC being sanctioned or in “down years”. Unfortunately, in that same season, they lost to USC and those sanctions prevented a rematch that they wanted, needed and were deprived of.
Facing down a school with a uniform recognized anywhere on earth, 11 National Championships, 6 Heismans (that we count) and like a third of all Rose Bowl wins ever (seriously, take that in) is no small task. So Oregon has to focus on the present. Outside of losing to USC last year at home and costing themselves a chance at a title shot, they finished strong with a Rose Bowl. They need to do that A LOT in the next decade to have the Duke effect.
That’s what Oregon wants, I don’t know if they realize that yet. Most current Ducks will be long buried before Oregon could be considered a historical power like an Alabama, USC, Ohio State or Michigan. These are schools that have gone on monster runs in so many decades (including recent ones) that they just never are a surprise and even when they lose it’s assumed that they will win again, as they have proven over the last century.
Oregon needs the Duke effect because the Ducks have no football history to speak of. The last five years have been their greatest and in fairness, they have been some great years. The thing is, they need to win a lot of Rose Bowls. They need to win some National Championships. They need to get the Duke effect. This Duke effect is that after not being a powerhouse, they got a great coach who stayed and became a perennial powerhouse. It started in modern times and has been consistent.
Oregon is close to starting this. They have a coach who somehow makes it work with non-NFL talent (for the most part). I think we all dig DAT running all over the place, but he’s undersized and probably a Teddy Ginn punt returner for 5 seasons in the NFL. Chip Kelly has this team in position to keep making waves. They need to win the Pac 12 every year for a long time. They need to rip down like 5 Rose Bowls and 2 National Championships in a 10 year span and then it’s started. Then there is the argument to the historical powers that “yeah you guys are great, but we’re the new hotness and you’re more likely to guess what color uniform we’re wearing than beat us this week”.
Oregon isn’t there. Not yet. They took a big step last year. What will happen this year? The pressure is entirely on them because I think most of us feel their window is closing. Chip Kelly will not stay forever and it’s not a pro style he’s running. To his credit, he makes a lot with a little. He puts a freshman QB in, they still score at will. It’s a system designed to win college football games. I wonder what it will be if he tries the NFL or if the Seastrunk/James/Lyles hammer ever falls and makes it uncomfortable, as if it wasn’t uncomfortable enough to look like E from Entourage locked himself in a cellar and just ate meat lover’s pizzas around the clock for a year.
The truth is though, Oregon has achieved one major stepping stone towards being an alpha dog, towards the Duke effect. They are the date we circle on OUR calendar now. It’s who we get up for. The key is, they have to make it last.
Vegas sees this game as a lot closer than the pundits and for me, I have a simple prediction. If we do not turn the ball over, we’ll win the damn game. That’s not an easy task, especially when it’s hard to evaluate an Oregon defense that’s been relatively untested. I say relatively because it’s D1 football and they have been shutting teams out.
There is so much on the line for them in this game and their style requires perfect execution. A chance at a National Title (although they probably don’t get in even if they win out if KSU decides to do the same). Their undefeated season, alpha dog position in the Pac.
For us? Well, we’re still USC and we will be next year. I don’t have to think too far back to remember the fistful of recent Rose Bowls and a couple National Titles that the AP still recognizes. A win and we’re popping champagne. A loss and in the end, we’ll have to be lucky AND good to get into the Pac 12 Title game. In the end, though. If Kiffin left, or whoever left, I am confident I’ll see another run in my lifetime.
Oregon cannot feel that way. THIS is their run. Like I said, they need their hardware or it’s if a tree falls in the forest and no one hears… How long will Chip stay?
I think this might be a game for the ages. USC has so much talent, Oregon has so much offense. USC built it’s D for this game. No one has stopped Oregon’s O. It’s just such a pivotal game in the Pac 12’s history.
Oregon has their traveling faithful prepared with this ridiculous website that tells their fans what color to wear. Look, I know we are attempting to “red out” the Coliseum, but I’m sorry, who fucking cares. We only have two colors on our uniforms. We look organized all the time. You only need a website when your team mysterious abandoned their colors for carbon fiber, mirrors, neon yellow and chain metal wings. There are certain outfits they wear (yes, I said outfits) that literally look like something worn in the Red Light District. I am waiting for Mariota to have whips and leather instead of a towel and wristband.
Like a bunch of girls going out on Friday night, they made a last minute addendum to wear white. The only time that was cool was in New Orleans where we suddenly realized we were in an impromptu white linen party and I paid a street woman $20 to serve cupcakes to the entire bar because she had cupcakes and I had been drinking Abita and hand grenades. Sometimes you just do shit.
By the way, how “Geocities 1997″ does that screenshot look?
Another thing is, when you are going for intimidation and tradition, aim bigger. Don’t go with “Win The Day” when Pete Carroll already did Win Forever (and he almost did). How about “Win A Title” or “Win More Rose Bowls”. This isn’t me picking on Oregon, I am giving advice to my new neighbors who have every chance of getting the Duke effect and turning this into a killer rivalry, not just the big game of the season. I am rooting for that. I’ve found certainly Portlanders to be great people, so much so that I was down to move there. This is advice from a perennial winner. You’ve already surpassed UCLA in strategy by being “the new hotness” instead of “pretending we have a football tradition”.
Now please stop doing shit like this because it sets you back:
I completely endorse the use of Oregon cheerleaders, which I’ve found to be, outside of the Song Girls, pretty high up there on the “you make me forget I hate your football team” list. What I can’t endorse is taking your coked-up, rolling on E captive duck mascot and doing a PSY parody like you are a bunch of teenage girls. It’s not fun. It’s torturing a duck and me, who watched this. In the video, there is:
- unsanctioned use of the Muppets that would probably get this video taken down if anyone at the Muppets knew what Oregon football was
- Puddles coming out of a port-o-potty and spraying something in the air (clear duck urine, I think)
- being sprayed with fire extinguishers
- dancing on a boat with a half naked guy who is also drugged
- dancing on a dock with about two dozen half naked guys on drugs
- Puddles being raped in an elevator (watch the video, it actually is more convincing than this already convincing photo)
- A cute girl about to hook up with Puddles (good for Puddles, but that’s bestiality)
- Unauthorized use of Yoda, created by a Trojan, sold to Disney this week for 4 billion dollars
- Puddles mugging a version of the Stanford tree (I actually totally endorse this and possibly the bestiality)
- Puddles humping the back of a man’s head
So look, I really dig all the hot cheerleaders (even if they aren’t Song Girls, who invented being hot), but when LSU gets their mascot in an EA commercial and the Duck is tripping on acid and having sex raves to a flash in the pan K-Pop song, we’re not screaming “relevant”.
Again, none of this is going to matter on the field and I expect a war and take it from the Bearfighter, I will be ready to shake hands with my new Oregon neighbors in either outcome. Ultimately, I was just giving advice.
My advice to Matty Trojan and the team? Don’t turn the ball over. Wrap up your tackles. Don’t take cheap shots and WIN THE DAY. See what I did there.
I predict I will be watching this game in a hotel room in Oregon.
Oregon 55.5 (3OT)
I think it’s a game for the ages. The excitement may be too much for Puddles. EMTs are on the scene if he ODs on cocaine.
KIFFIN OUTFIT PREDICTION:
I think I am going to be wrong, but I know the athletic department reads this. Kiffin must come out in all black. A black visor even. We need evil Kiffin this game. He should make out with Layla in the tunnel, sprint on the field and pinch Chip Kelly’s man boobs. That’s what it will take to beat a VERY GOOD Duck squad.
2 PT CONVERSIONS
We’ve totally shit the bed on these. None. Who cares.
KYLE NEGRETE PREDATOR DRONES
Look, he better not have to punt much or this will be a tough one to win. That said, if he has a mustache going for Movember, it will strike fear into the hearts of the Ducks, the only down side being that it will probably make Puddles try and hump the back of his head like that guy on the dock.
I’M ON INSTAGRAM @LOSTANGELESBLOG – FIND ME ON GAMEDAY FOR BOURBON