Game Day: Why Not Perfect?

I understand as well as anyone the importance of the "Civil War." I've sat through a number of them in Autzen, too many of them in Reser and watched a few more from the living room couch. I've cheered, yelled, beamed, steamed and even thrown an item or two during a fit of controlled rage, but this year will be different, it's going to be perfect.

I know what's on the line, a number one ranking, undefeated season and an unprecedented shot at a National Title. I know what's in the way, a team, coaching staff and fan base that would trade all five of their 2010 wins for a victory Saturday afternoon. And I know who'll be sweating from their palms, grinding their teeth and fidgeting before and during every painstaking minute of a game with so much at stake. You and everyone else hoping and praying for the Ducks to do what a decade ago seemed unthinkable.

It's been nearly three months since that opening game against New Mexico, and slightly less than that since the rain and lightening almost divinely stopped and allowed a group of stunned Duck players to regroup in Tennessee, slow things down and pen the first passage of a novel nearly complete. It was prior to that game that I made a conscious decision to buy what this Duck team was selling. I chose to believe LaMichael James was a Heisman candidate, Nick Allioti's defense was for real and Darron Thomas was ready to lead this team. I believed in Chip Kelly and not of a sophomore jinx, and I believed that in spite of last year's conference championship and Rose Bowl appearance, this team and this season could be better.

And I was right.

I remained optimistic during those sluggish first halves at Arizona State and Washington State, when those around me squealed with frustration. I stayed the course when Kenjon Barner and Thomas left the field in Pullman, when many screamed "why us?" I took the high road at the sight of Nate Costa, who had almost certainly suffered his fourth knee injury, writhing in pain during that broken extra point conversion against the Huskies, leaving Oregon with only true freshman Bryan Bennett to back-up a quarterback position which had derailed magical seasons past. I've been steadfast with my belief and that's what I'm clinging to now.

I refuse to believe that Oregon State will win. Sure, they've got some talent, but Oregon has more. Of course it's never easy to win a rivalry game on the road and Reser will be rockin' Saturday afternoon, but Oregon has slain that dragon before. Certainly the Beavers would love nothing more than to end the Ducks' hopes of an undefeated season and national title run with an emotional win in front of 45,000 of Oregon State's finest, but Oregon won't let them. You're probably wondering how it is that I can be so confident? Well, I'm wondering how I could not? While I believe in statistics, the eye ball test and results on the field - all of which point to a Duck triumph - I also believe in gut feelings, karma and outside influences. I believe in things that are meant to be, the power of positive thinking and looking at the Brightside, each and every one of which I've adopted and waved the flag for over the last three months, and each and every one are telling me it's time to finish.

To this point the Ducks have been perfect, it's only fitting that they ice this cake with equal perfection. I don't just want the Ducks to win; I want them to do it with ease.

I don't say that with any disrespect for the Beavers, for I strongly believe that they are a good football team who've merely not played a lot of good football.

I say it because that would be the perfect ending; the ideal way to finish a season full of firsts and empty of seconds, for the players, coaches and fans of this and every Oregon team prior.

Why not play your best game? Why not get it all right? And why not end this season the way everyone in the green and yellow is dying for it to end?

Why not perfect?


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