While many of you have gone to great lengths to erase the memories of December 21st, 2006, be it through denial, positive thinking, or professional efforts, allow me to reignite the ire which burned within, that ill-fated night amongst the neon of "Sin City."
Recall the ease at which BYU quarterback John Beck picked apart the Oregon secondary. Picture in your head, the seemingly endless inadequacies of an Oregon offense performing three and outs with the flair and panache of warm milk, vanilla ice cream, and Ben Stein's character in the cult hit movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off…Bueller?…Bueller?...Bueller?
Is it coming back to you?
Have you broken into a cold sweat?
Is your inner magma approaching eruption levels?
If so, it should. Oregon's performance before, during, and after that debacle hovered somewhere between bush league and embarrassing. Declarations of BYU's inferiority prior to, lackluster effort during, and reports of carelessness amongst the players after said game left many of us wondering just where this program stood? Who was responsible for such actions? And, who was going to be accountable for the substandard presentation and representation of your beloved university?
Beginning in the spring, through the informal summer workouts, and now into the roots of the 2007 season, we've heard reports of an increased level of intensity, attention to detail, and desire to erase the wrongs of last season's titanic meltdown. Players and coaches have spoken of it, members of the athletic department have professed to witnessing it, and fans of the program have assured me its there.
Well, now it's time to see it.
Oregon's stepping directly into the heart of a hornet's nest this afternoon in Ann Arbor. The previously fifth-ranked Michigan Wolverines have a season to save, a reputation to rebuild, and steam to blow off following the most embarrassing defeat in the history of one of, if not the most storied programs in college football…and they hope to do it at the expense of your Ducks.
Is this call-to-arms the beginning of an impending disaster for Oregon and its supporters?
No, it's a golden opportunity.
An opportunity for Duck players and coaches to display their newfound desire, technique, and most importantly, heart.
Even if Oregon is treated as the sacrificial lamb which many are describing them as, are beaten to near submission by the Wolverines, and toyed with like the Washington Generals during one of the thousands of predictable contests with the Harlem Globetrotters, the Ducks can still leave the "Big House" winners.
"Winners" compete ‘til the whistle blows.
"Winners" treat their opponent, as well as the game, with a heightened level of respect before, during, and after the contest…regardless of the result.
"Winners" put their best foot forward, and if their "best foot's" not good enough, they accept it and work harder until it is.
And "Winners" accept responsibility for their actions, and take steps not to repeat them.
A smart man once said, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." The Oregon Ducks have been down this road before and assured me it would not be traveled again, yet the road looks familiar. I'm anxious to see this new Oregon team. A team with character, tenacity, and desire to excel. A team which represents a proud university, and a team whose worthy of representing a university with such pride…in victory or defeat.
Don't play me for a fool.
Game Day: Awaiting Test Results
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