I think that's a legitimate question. Seven days ago Oregon could do no wrong. Their offense was unstoppable, defense was formidable and special teams were ahead of the curve…not anymore.
At least, say some.
A week ago tonight I laced up my mental sneakers, tempered my patience and jumped from the blocks beginning a sprint through the gauntlet I call message boards. I do this on a regular basis, often for information, but periodically as a test. A test to gauge levels of patience, sensibility, and dare I say…rationale. Albeit depending on the board, I'll find at least a bit of all the aforementioned. There are patient, sensible and rational individuals everywhere you go, but sadly they're often not among the masses.
I should preface what I'm about to say by admitting a personal fondness for the boards, hence debunking any presumption I'm a naysayer. I enjoy reading people's opinions, statistical breakdowns and theories before, during and after games. They're often intelligent, well thought out, and factually based, therefore educational at times.
Unfortunately, often they're not.
Prior to last week's game at Stanford, Nick Aliotti was "getting it done," "earning his pay," and "the difference in this year's team." Following last week's game at Stanford, Nick Aliotti "should be fired," had "cost the Ducks at shot at a national title," and "back to his old self."
Isn't it possible he just got out-schemed?
Prior to last week's game at Stanford, Oregon's defense was "better than the heralded Gang Green defense of 1994," "flying all over the field," and had "athletically superior talent to USC." Following last week's game at Stanford, Oregon's defense was "undersized," "slow," and had been "over-achieving due to smoke and mirrors."
Isn't it possible they had an off-night?
And Prior to last week's game at Stanford, the Ducks had finally "ended USC's run," were "building something great," and had "their sights set on a BCS Bowl game."
Can't they still?
Last week's loss to Stanford was a tough defeat and yes, the defense was exposed, but broken and incapable of repair? Absolutely not. This team is still good. This team still plays hard. And this team can still win the conference, play in a BCS Bowl and all simultaneous to ending the dominance of a conference second to none.
One bad performance does not a Las Vegas Bowl make.
I sometimes wish they'd enact a message board moratorium for 24-hours following a game. Such a grace period would allow everyone to calm down, process what they'd just seen and not-so-coincidentally react accordingly.
Don't let one game erase the previous seven. Oregon, their defense and Nick Aliotti have played and coached too well to be judged, hung-out to dry, and given-up on based on their performance in one game. Believe they can right the ship. Believe they can do better. And believe that last week's unfortunate display was a small picture of ineptitude, amidst a larger picture of competence.
Seven consecutive wins, a #8 ranking and a 27 point win over perennial power USC may not be enough if you're trying to win a National Championship, and ultimately Oregon is, but to deny anything else and render such as failure, isn't realistic. Losing to Stanford didn't crush the Ducks' goals, it just altered them. The Pac-10 title is still out there. An 11-win season is still out there. And a top-10 end-of-year-finish is absolutely still out there, all rungs on a ladder of success.
What have you done for me lately? Had a bad day, against a good team, resulting in a loss. What will you do for me ultimately? Yet to be determined, but I like the possibilities.
Game Day: What Have You Done For Me Lately?
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