Finally football is back. It’s been a long offseason, lockout in the NFL and scandals in college but now all that is in the rear view mirror. The NFL is back next Thursday and college football kicked off last night. Tomorrow comes the big time matchup in the Cowboy Classic between Oregon and LSU. Oregon is going to beat LSU (and a side note, Boise St beats Georgia in a “neutral” site away game by 10 points) Oregon is more experienced and has better matchups but I will get into that later. Right now my job is to educate you on just how awesome Oregon is, way more awesome then most schools in the nation. We have the some of the best fans, best atmosphere at Autzen Stadium, hottest cheerleaders and best uniforms.
Lets start with the uniforms. As a player, I can tell you that when you think you look good, you play better. If you think you look like a bum before you enter the field, you’re going to play like a bum. Sports are 90% mental. If you play college or professional sports, you have talent. What separates the best from the rest is what’s between the ears. Same applies in business, wearing some crappy slacks and business coat verses a nice tailored suit. Guy in business suit probably feels better about his chances in a meeting, maybe is more confident in an interview. Now check out these uniforms for the Cowboy classic.
Yes, bad ass.
No denying it.
And if you deny it, you’re just lying to yourself. Remember a few years ago when Oregon decided to wear multiple uniforms and everyone thought we are just wacky and crazy? “Oh those crazy ducks with their multiple uniforms, how can they do that?” Well guess what, now everyone has multiple uniform combos. Oregon started this trend. Schools that wear black uniforms that don’t have black as a school color, well we did that first in 2005.
So when you see a cool new uniform your school is wearing, make sure to thank Oregon for that.
Now on to our fans. We might have a smaller fan base then LSU or any other big SEC program, but they are just as fired up about Oregon football, many even more so. I can’t do Autzen Stadium justice by writing about it. I could pull quotes off the internet and find noise level facts but still you just have to be there to experience it. Maybe the fact that no school wants to come out to Oregon is enough to explain the affect the stadium has. Our fans also show support by making amazing videos about Duck football. I did a quick search for fan pump up videos for a bunch of SEC schools to compare to Oregon fan videos, because I already know what Oregon fans bring to the table. Nothing can compare to what our fans do, and how our athletic dept embraces this concept of videos.
First video has over a million views. It was created before the 2009 Civil War when we were playing for the chance to go to the Rose Bowl. Here it goes:
Here is the follow up made for last year’s Civil War, 10x better and more creative then the first.
Now a new one for this season, made by a different group. This one is special because it has our smoking hot cheerleaders:
It’s this creative spirit that makes Oregon one of the most unique and awesome fan bases. Our fans show their support in so many different ways than just showing up on Sat and making Autzen one of the loudest and most raucous stadiums in the nation.
And now on to actual real analysis of the Cowboy Classic. I know most everything about Oregon’s roster and schemes. I admittedly don’t know the same about LSU so I need to rely on stats, depth charts, word of mouth and memory. I believe both teams are pretty even at most positions, LSU has bigger skill guys, but that doesn’t mean they are faster. Oregon has never had an issue competing with teams on the field because of the lack of speed on its team.
The two most important factors to winning football games nowadays is line play and QB play, nothing too earth shattering there. And I will throw in a third factor for an opening weekend game, scheme and new wrinkles.
Oregon’s last two losses, tOSU and Auburn, were because it played inconsistent upfront in both contests and had slightly poor QB play. Three of those OL from those games are gone, replaced with new guys who will be better. LSU was ranked 43rd in rushing defense last year, and with young guys returning upfront on their DL you’ve got to give the Ducks, 4th in the nation in rushing, the edge in the run game with three seniors and a junior starting on the OL.
Regarding QB play, the NCAA is different then the NFL. A QB can single handedly take a team to heights it never imagined. In the NFL, you need a great QB to win it all, but you also need other parts; playmaker at WR, slot WR, great defense etc… Last year in the Natty v Auburn, Darren Thomas (QB) was admittedly nervous before and during the beginning of the game and it showed, he got better as the game progressed but Cam Newton was better overall. Cam Newton appeared at Auburn and wins the Heisman and led them to a Natty. That is what one QB can do in a year for a college team. Thomas is now a year older and wiser, and LSU doesn’t have their starting QB so the advantage at QB goes to Oregon.
Now maybe the most important part that gets overlooked in the first game of the year and that is scheme. Both sides have had six months to prepare for this game and bring out new wrinkles. I know Les Miles has been creative in the past but also has been careless but somehow lucky enough to win. Good for him. I think I’d take Chip Kelly over Miles anytime. Kelly is an offensive genius. This might surprise people but most games Oregon only runs 2-3 of the same plays over and over again. What we do is dress them up and add wrinkles each week to keep the opponent guessing. That is extremely tough to do. There are only so many ways to run a play. Plus, Oregon uses the tempo to its advantage. There is no way to prepare for the tempo. Every conditioning doesn’t work. You just have to hope you are deep enough on defense to play fresh bodies that can make plays.
Okay so here we go. I got Oregon 31 LSU 21. I think the game stays close through halftime and then Oregon breaks away at the end as it wears down LSU.
As always you can direct comments to me on twitter @GeoffSchwartz74
Geoff Schwartz was an offensive tackle for Oregon through 2007. He is now a tackle for the Carolina Panthers. He is also the self-proclaimed largest Jewish person in the world.