That Yellow Blur? Oh, It’s Just Oregon
No, that first sentence isn’t a typo. I just thought I’d better try to write as fast as Oregon’s Ducks play football, which is just about the fastest anybody has ever seen.
It was certainly the fastest UCLA has seen. And after that 60-13 demolition by the blurs in their canary yellow uniforms, you have to think USC isn’t exactly dry washing its hands in anticipation of hosting Chip Kelly’s sprint relay team on Oct. 30.
Seriously, these guys aren’t only fast. They’re good. Really good. Those computer geeks who have them rated so low in their BCS standings should be ashamed.
You knew LaMichael James could gain yards in globs. You knew the Ducks’ defense was better than most people suspected. But what you didn’t know — or what I didn’t know — is that quarterback Darron Thomas can throw the heck out of the football.
I mean, a knee injury is all that kept Dennis Dixon from winning the Heisman Trophy a couple years ago. And Jeremiah Masoli would have been a Heisman frontrunner if he hadn’t been kicked off the team and left school for an assortment of problems. But neither of them had an arm like Thomas, who whistles the football with NFL-like strength and accuracy.
So now you have Oregon with speed everywhere you look — rumor is even the ball boys run 4.5 40s — and that breakneck pace that doesn’t allow opponents to catch their breath. Then you throw in this Thomas kid, who not only throws the ball shockingly well but runs like Dixon and Masoli.
So how do you defend a team like that? Obviously, as UCLA proved, you don’t.
All you can do is try to control the ball as long as you can to keep their offense off the field, score as many points as possible and hope you’re close at the end.
As difficult as it sounds, that should be USC’s basic game plan for Oct. 6.And oh yeah, it might be wise to have a few extra oxygen masks available on the sideline.
THE NEW PAC-12 ALIGNMENT
I wasn’t big on expanding the Pac-10 in the first place, but if it had to be done, USC and UCLA have come out of it in good shape.
They’re both in the softer South Division and all their annual California rivalries have been kept in place.
About the only thing I don’t like about the new setup is the idea of playing the conference championship game on the home field of the division winner with the best record. To me, a title game on a neutral field like, say, San Diego, would have made more sense.
Now, there is a decent chance the conference championship could be decided in December. In Oregon or Washington.
And won’t that be fun, a Pac-12 title game played in the rain and the mud.
You tell me, what exactly are these conference suits thinking?
PICKS OF THE WEEK — Considering we came just a bobbled, then dropped Oregon State two-point conversion pass in the end zone in overtime from being 2-0, it wasn’t a bad week. A 1-1 finish kept us still peeking out over .500. Let’s see if we can keep it that way with this week’s picks:
MICHIGAN STATE (MINUS 5) AT NORTHWESTERN — The Spartans are on a roll and considering they don’t play Ohio State this season, they’re starting to dream about a BCS bowl berth. It could happen but they have to avoid any upsets along the way. The frisky Wildcats are better than people think, but Michigan State has all that momentum and seems too solid not to keep it going.
RAVENS (MINUS 13) VS. BILLS — Baltimore’s gritty defense should overwhelm the AFC’s only winless team, especially playing at home. Joe Flacco and Co. can use this one to get the offense cranked up again for the bigger games down the road.
RECORD LAST WEEK: 1-1 OVERALL RECORD: 6-5-1