Oregon Football: Time to Take Back Your Team

After consecutive wins and a serious level of bravado following them, it’s time the Oregon Ducks regain ownership of what the Arizona Wildcats claim is now rightfully theirs.

"We own you."

That’s what Arizona, its fans, and without question those responsible for “Bear Down’s” twitter account have been saying for roughly 2 months. Shortly following Arizona’s 7-point win a couple months ago, @azathletics took to social media in an attempt to rub your nose in the excrement that was their 31-24 win in Eugene. From a parody featuring Nintendo’s old Duck Hunt video game, to photo-shopped pictures featuring “Won The Day” in Wildcat navy blue and red, Arizona has been reveling in their recent success versus your Ducks, and haven’t been shy about letting people know.

Monday, Arizona Head Coach Rich Rodriguez told ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo that he was aware of the postgame fun-‘n-games, and while he’s not a big proponent of such propaganda, he didn't appear to be running from it either. No one is.

They've trolled you with Anu Solomon (“It’s over Oregon, A-Nu Era Has Begun”). They've trolled you with linebacker Scooby Wright (Using a picture of Scooby in a post-game interview with a Scooby-Doo head, saying “he didn't need a game ball, he just took his from Marcus Mariota”).

And they've trolled you with various other internet slogans pertaining to the end of Oregon’s reign, and the beginning of Arizona’s Pac-12 domination.

These guys have gone beyond a lack of fear of the Ducks; they just think they’re better.

And you know what? They were, both that afternoon late last fall and that Thursday evening a couple months ago; but I’m guessing that while confident in what they’d done after the fact, they’d have been a tad more reserved had they known or thought they’d have to play Oregon again.

It reminds me ofCaddyshack, when Danny Noonan was flapping his gums at Denunzio while standing behind bars in Lou’s pay-window, only to have to face the music when forced to leave said pay-window upon Lou’s return. Lou’s back Arizona, and now you have to step out from behind the protective wall of post game rhetoric, and face an Oregon team that’s no longer in your rearview mirror, but directly in front of you looking for a little redemption.

This isn’t Oregon minus the bulk of its offensive line. This isn't Oregon breaking-in new defensive starters, under a new coach. This isn't an Oregon team lacking a true identity, assuming the one they felt entitled-to, based on the accomplishments of their forefathers. This is a team relatively healthier, far more experienced, and playing and practicing with the purpose the mortality of that loss months ago provided them.

Oh, and with the best player in the college game.

I’m not suggesting this is going to be a cake-walk for Oregon, because Arizona is a good team worthy of the type of respect they've earned via their South Division championship and their consecutive wins over the Ducks. But what I am saying is that it’s put-up or shut-up time for an Arizona team and fan base talking the talk, and an Oregon contingent who’d like to make them stop.

The Ducks are 11-1 and at the tail-end of another great season. However the Pac-12 Championship Game is not where this year’s campaign ends, but rather the first of three remaining beginnings en route to where this team, this coaching staff and one very special player have and are looking to go.

Yes, Arizona does and should have every ounce of Oregon’s attention, but while the team views this as the first step of a process that ends January 12th, the fans and those on the periphery of a program gritting its teeth, would love nothing more than that “first step” to be a big win over a program that’s gotten the better of them recently -- and loving every minute of it.

It’s time for Oregon to back its team.


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