Game Day: What's To Gain?

It would be easy to get caught up in the prize which awaits the victor of the Duck vs. Bears contest this afternoon, but while another "W" is the obvious result of a winning effort, there's far more at stake on September 29th in Autzen Stadium.

By now we've all succumb to the hype that surrounds today's game. With the presence of ESPN's "Gameday," to various national radio shows' week long coverage, and ending with the 12:30 PM kick off on ABC, this is a big game, a game which involves national rankings, recognition, and Heisman legitimacy.

Take a deep breath Duck Fan.

Think about this game.

Do you understand what's at stake?

Have you considered the return on the investment that is a win over sixth ranked California?

Let me tell you; it's huge.

A win means a top-seven ranking. A win means national respect. And a win means notoriety and scrutiny to the nth degree.

This is the "breakthrough" which teams and programs long for. A win today means you're part of the discussion; the discussion which consists of "National Championships," "Heisman Trophies," and LSU, USC, and defending National Champion Florida.

Dennis Dixon can make a name for himself today. Chip Kelly can become "someone" today, and Mike Bellotti, Autzen Stadium, and the University of Oregon can return to the stage which has eluded them since the Fiesta Bowl of 2001. The stage which transcends the west coast and Pac-10 Conference, which unfortunately leaves formidable teams such as Oregon mired in regionality…if such a word exists?

The Ducks can become players today. Not a second-rate story whose fifteen minutes is ticking away, but contenders for a crown previously thought to be out of reach. A crown usually reserved for historical programs either south of the Mason Dixon line or which are direct descendants of decade-old-curmudgeons with an infinite amount of collegiate gridiron history. Players in the game of individual and team success, along with notoriety and popularity which follows such teams like the Pied Piper himself.

So what do you say Oregon, are you ready for the unsavory reputation which accompanies such success? Do you like the idea of a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate, talk of…dare I say, a national championship, and fanfare rarely seen in or around the Willamette Valley? If so, buckle up and savor the step which you're on the verge of taking. It may be a big one, but one you can't be afraid to take.

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