GameDay travels to Duck Country

ESPN's College GameDay returned to Autzen Stadium for the first time since the UCLA game in 2000. Thousands of Duck fans poured into the south fields behind Autzen this morning around 6:00am for the 7:00am start of GameDay showing support for their Duck football team.

After all the talk and all the hype, the Oregon football team's fate may rely on the blessing given by Lee Corso. At least Duck fans hope so. With his celebrated pre-game picks, Corso put on the Duck mascot and selected the Ducks over the Cal Bears by a touchdown in a shootout. Kirk Herbstreit and Desmond Howard, however, went with Cal to uphold their #6 ranking and take down Oregon at home.

A cold Saturday morning wasn't enough to keep away thousands of Duck fans who poured into the South lawns behind Autzen Stadium to cheer for the Ducks outside the GameDay set. Many fans touted Dennis Dixon for Heisman consideration with clever signs while others went for the more conventional slamming of rival opponents. Some were rather humorous while others could be seen as pouring salt into the open wound of opposing teams seemingly falling apart as the Pac-10 schedule becomes increasingly tough.

The GameDay broadcast featured exclusive segments on both Dennis Dixon as well as Jonathan Stewart. Dixon's segment discussed his Summer stint with the Atlanta Brave's minor league squad, his struggles, and his subsequent explosion this year on the football field. Bellotti spoke of the situation with a lot of praise for Dixon and his maturity in coming back and really putting things together thus far this fall. Stewart was also featured heavily documenting his talents and his improved vision this season. The clip covered his offseason work on his vision, in one of the more unconventional manners. Coach Campbell had all of his running backs work on their peripheral vision by using a laser pointer. The training required the players to track the laser in a dark room as it went side-to-side along the walls, essentially improving the ability of their eyes to react quicker and have a better range of sight. Stewart discussed the training technique claiming it has helped him remarkably this year in seeing holes he wouldn't have in years past, and its been reflected in his number thus far this year.

The GameDay crew including Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso, and Desmond Howard, discussed the big matchup between #6 Cal and #11 Oregon extensively. The resounding feeling is that the game will be a shootout with the outcome being decided by who can put up more points on the board. Corso reiterated the point that Cal has averaged 41-points a game this year while Oregon has put up 48-points per game. Desean Jackson was identified as a player who could really open up things for the Cal Bear's offense, as well as special teams. Bellotti plans to kick away from Jackson as much as possible during today's game. Herbstreit pointed out that the Oregon defense will need to shut down Jackson and fellow wideout Lavelle Hawkins if they are going to win today. Forsett was also mentioned as a tough player at running back for the Bears, and a player who could really open up the passing game against the Oregon defense.

With a lot of yellow and green in the crowd in what has to be one of the larger crowds to ever attend a GameDay set, there is much anticipation and excitement for today's national showdown. As Lee Corso has said, today's bout will be an "instant classic." The #11 Oregon Ducks take on the #6 California Golden Bears this afternoon with kickoff scheduled for 12:30pm, with national coverage by ABC.


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