It's time Oregon. It's time to decide. It's time to choose between mediocrity and excellence. It's time to decide whether you want to be thought of, or be an afterthought. At 7-2, the Ducks are on the brink of a season worthy of mention, but a stone's throw from unmentionable. If ever there was a team and a season in need of a "Big" win, it would be the Ducks and it would be now.
While seven wins out of nine games can never be scoffed at, it's the road to such a record which has me so concerned. Looking back on the season to this point, I see nary a big win and two losses better forgotten. Certainly beating Oklahoma can and will always be considered a notch on any teams belt, but it carries less weight in 2006 and even lesser weight for reasons need not mentioned. However, aside from derailing the Sooner Schooner, who else have the Ducks beaten? A Fresno State team down and out, a Washington team undermanned and without there best player, a UCLA team in the midst of a four-game-slide, a minor league squad from Portland, an Arizona State team which defines mediocre, and a Stanford team which may not win a game. On the flipside, Cal and Washington State ran Oregon out of their respective buildings and did so convincingly.
I understand that injuries have played a major role, I also recognize this team is young, but in spite of the aforementioned, opportunity knocks. A win versus the Trojans would be that "big" win. The type of win which instills confidence, builds momentum, and expedites growth in a team seemingly idle.
What's their identity?
I've been waiting all season for a statement from this team. A statement that says, "we're going to make that big stop," "we're going to take this ball the distance," or "we're going to dictate this game." I want to see some fire and I'd love to see some attitude.
It's time to be the bullies.
This isn't Southern Cal of recent years. While good and immensely talented, these guys aren't world beaters. There's no Reggie Bush on this team, there's no Matt Leinart on this team, and there's certainly no O.J. Simpson on this team. So what's there to be afraid of?
Take it to these guys Oregon. Protect the ball on offense, hawk the ball on defense, and play like your season's in the balance. A win tonight would improve the Ducks to 8-2 and likely put them in a position to finish the season with ten wins or more, while a loss would put them a step closer to a sub-par bowl game and reserve them a seat at the Kiddies Table of college football.
It's now or never Ducks. Your fate is in your hands. You've got a national stage, a world-famous arena, and opportunity to take a step the size of Trojan Fan's ego.
I'd prefer a stride straight forward.
Game Day: Now or Never
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