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Time For Hope: Let The Freshman Play

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We have already seen some crazy ups and downs this season, and the injury bug has not been remotely kind to this year’s Oregon team. It has taken star players out of multiples games, such as Kayvon Thibodeaux, or ended seasons (Justin Flowe and CJ Verdell), and it has even taken coaches off the sideline with Joe Moorhead missing the ...

 

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If not now, against a weak Cal team, then we should start one of the freshman next year against Georgia, in Atlanta, our first game? The next game would be against Eastern Washington, who are 5-0 right now. The following game would be against BYU who are 5-0 this season after knocking off 3 Pac-12 teams.

 

If Cristobal isn't just looking at this season then look at what is going to happen next season when he starts one of these freshman. They will have to face 3 teams who are a combined 15-0 this season. One of these freshman isn't ready for Cal, but they will be ready for that gauntlet? Is he just going to bring in another transfer, because these guys aren't ready!

 

I realize this is a tough decision, but the future is now. Many have wanted Oregon to become the Clemson of the Pac-12. Clemson is sticking to their Freshman qb, even though they have lost two games. This is the way a program recruits and develops talent, long-term.

 

Anthony Brown was brought in as an insurance policy, against a disaster. We used the policy, now lets move on, and build the program. 

 

We aren't the Oregon Football Program under Helfrich who couldn't recruit a qb. We have 3 guys who are waiting to be developed and can run the show. 

 

This is Oregon's 2021 run it up the gut moment. We have moved on from the continual run it up the gut plays, congrats Cristobal. We now need to move on from the transfer qb decision. He is just an extension of the stubborn, conservative decision making process of the past. Time to move onward and forward, time to move on before next seasons start is doomed too.

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This from the practice report, and our young guys aren't ready? 

 

Ashford electrified the sideline late in practice with a series that included a pass feathered through the defense for a completion to Jack Vecchi, a ball down the sideline to Moliki Matavao and a deep ball over the shoulder and into the hands of Spencer Curtis. … In the final 11-on-11 period, Butterfield completed 7-of-8 passes to set up a final-play scoring chance from the 5-yard line. Butterfield took another shot into the end zone as practice ended but the ball was slapped away by Trikweze Bridges.

 

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On 10/8/2021 at 6:20 AM, Haywarduck said:

I realize this is a tough decision, but the future is now.

 

Completely agree.  I want freshman receivers, freshman QBs and freshman RBs playing to go along with our freshman TEs.  

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Mr. FishDuck

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Yes the practice report always sounds good, but MC's presser yesterday, he said "Brown is still the guy, gives us the best chance to win" or something like that.  Don't be surprised if it's AB against Cal, and a 52-0 win ends up being 35-24.  The playoff is mathematically possible, but Stanford has to lose another Pac-12 game for us to even win the NORTH!  And have a shot as ASU or whoever wins the south.  Stanford plays ASU tomorrow, should be interesting.  I think ASU wins.  Can we even beat UCLA on the road with this offense?  UW?  OSU?  I think so but not with a QB who consistently blows reads and can't throw.  I'm thankful for beating tOSU but still wondering how???

 

Haywarduck, great point about next year's non-conference schedule.  I agree, let Flowe and Williams, others heal up, and get the vaunted recruits some game time this year...we're not winning a natty this year

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Another great read David, thank you.

 

But I have to demur regarding Oregon's PO hopes in 2021? The ACC is out of it. TX beats OK on Saturday or the B12 champ otherwise finishes 12-1 and with the W at Ohio State, a 12-1 OR will have a better resume than any B12 champ.

 

One of Iowa/Penn State will come out of Saturday with an L. I do not see Michigan or Michigan State running the table in the B1G? I see the B1G champ with an L. If that is Ohio State, the Ducks win in Columbus is even better. I don't think Iowa's O is good enough to go undefeated. Same with Penn State. If Iowa wins the B1G, its big OOC win will be versus a disappointing Iowa State team.

 

Yes, Bama could and likely will finish 13-0.  And UGA could finish 12-1? But today, how impressive is the win against Clemson? A 12-1 conference champ Oregon will be in the discussion with a 12-1 conference runner-up Georgia. Especially, if tOSU runs the table and wins the B1G.

 

Stanford? I see the Cardinal taking an L Friday at ASU. And I do not see Stanford, with an L at UCLA, finishing with but 1 conference loss? Stanford is 112th in the country per play against the rush. Stanford, unlike against Oregon, does not get every break and every call going its way.

 

ASU keeps winning and the Beavers keep winning and both will likely be in top 25 when OSU plays Oregon and should Oregon play ASU in the champ game?

 

But make no mistake, I'm all in favor of getting the best guys, regardless of youth, on the field. No one has been more suspect of Mario's HC ability than I. But I simply cannot conceive any coaching staff playing guys who are not the best in practice?

 

Do not give up the ship. This idle week comes at a perfect time for this Ducks team. As does CAL coming to Autzen next Saturday. Oregon has the talent to defeat every team on the remainder of the schedule, to win the Pac-12 title and finish 12-1.

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I will add one more point, the back-up is often the most popular qb to the fans. If the qb truly struggles this sentiment will infect the players. 

 

Cristobal can tell us "Brown is still the guy, gives us the best chance to win" and the players and some fans might believe, but for how long. 

 

As the practice report stated, Ashford "electrified the sideline," how long until the sideline starts turning on, questioning the outcome with the transfer?

 

If we win big against Cal, the controversy will be put down, temporarily. This is a tightrope Cristobal is walking with more than the outcome of the game. He needs to keep the players on his side and AB's.

 

It will be interesting to see how this all plays out through the season. Expectation are high, and dropping, along with the sentiment on our qb.

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On 10/8/2021 at 11:58 AM, Haywarduck said:

I will add one more point, the back-up is often the most popular qb to the fans. If the qb truly struggles this sentiment will infect the players. 

 

Cristobal can tell us "Brown is still the guy, gives us the best chance to win" and the players and some fans might believe, but for how long. 

 

As the practice report stated, Ashford "electrified the sideline," how long until the sideline starts turning on, questioning the outcome with the transfer?

 

If we win big against Cal, the controversy will be put down, temporarily. This is a tightrope Cristobal is walking with more than the outcome of the game. He needs to keep the players on his side and AB's.

 

It will be interesting to see how this all plays out through the season. Expectation are high, and dropping, along with the sentiment on our qb.

 

I think the following is most likely to determine Mario's future? When will a pedestrian O and 1 score struggles against overmatched opponents stop fans from paying to watch live in Autzen?

 

Mullens cannot ignore this question.

 

Winning on signing days when you don't win or win with style on game days, is a curse as well as a blessing.

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I don’t know… I get the feeling that TT is just not ready for prime time and the coaches don’t want to sacrifice him in what could be a vain attempt to better the season.  Maybe in practice they’ve seen that he has a long way to go in reading defenses? On the one hand, yes, he’s been here since January. On the other hand, he is a true freshman.

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"The calm voice comes over the headset right as things are getting a little tense in Corvallis. Oregon State is trailing Washington by 7 with 10 minutes to go and Beavers  OC, Brian Lindgren, is feeling some pressure.

 

Then, Lindgren hears the casual reassuring words of the man in charge, Jonathon Smith, 'We're doing all right. I love your plan. You're great coaches. Let's relax and put together a great drive. Don't panic.' 

 

From an article by The Athletic's (TA) Brody Miller,  who is the TA beat writer for LSU, up today and describing how Smith in his 4th season has patiently stayed the course in a monumental rebuild that currently has the Beavers in 1st place in the Pac-12 N.

 

Made me wonder? Is the same demeanor in play on the Oregon sideline in close games?

 

Did 6th year QB, AB, HC Mario, OL coach Mirabal, gather the OL around before the late 4th Q drive that could have put the game away at Stanford, and say something like: "Our back up center is doing a great job. No false starts here guys. Move on the snap of the ball and not before. Let's ice this game?'

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MC listed a LOT of responsibilities a QB has to master. I think he was communicating that Brown is ahead of the others as far as being a complete QB without spelling out the exact areas where they all differ.

 

It's always going to be almost impossible to know why certain decisions are made because by answering questions in too much detail a coach might be enlightening the competition, of course. That can make being a spectator frustrating. 

 

 

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Will the AB that beat Ohio St ever return? I look at AB like a Country Club pro instructor. They know how to do all the swings and can clearly see what's wrong with my swing but they aren't as gifted as the guys on the tour that make a living playing golf vs being instructors. The CC pro may play in some regional events but will never make the big ones.

AB is that kind of QB IMO. He knows the game but isn't gifted enough to make a big impact.

 

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On 10/8/2021 at 9:33 AM, Annie said:

I don’t know… I get the feeling that TT is just not ready for prime time and the coaches don’t want to sacrifice him in what could be a vain attempt to better the season.  Maybe in practice they’ve seen that he has a long way to go in reading defenses? On the one hand, yes, he’s been here since January. On the other hand, he is a true freshman.

While I agree TT may not be ready, he isn't a souffle, we are waiting to get just right in the oven, going back the bakery analogy. These guys aren't delicate little tarts, or sweet little pastries.

 

These guys need to see the field, make mistakes and grow from them. If we just allow AB to flounder and continue to be flummoxed we aren't going anywhere this season or next. 

 

It looks like the time is now, but I have been wrong before and will be again. I wish AB luck going forward, Go Ducks! 

 

 

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On 10/8/2021 at 9:56 AM, Jon Joseph said:

Then, Lindgren hears the casual reassuring words of the man in charge

I read the same column this morning.  Smith was an excellent college QB and it appears that his confidence has translated into coaching.  After reading the column, I also had questions about comparisons to the Ducks coaching staff.  In my experience playing sports, there are two types of individuals in close games.  For some, the game slows down and everything comes into focus.  For others, everything speeds up and results in panic.  It did not look like the game slowed down for the Ducks in overtime, particularly on offense.  At this point, I expect another close game against Cal next week so we could get to see this all over again...hopefully with a better outcome!

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The Ducks are a one loss team.

 

I want to see the young talent as much as anyone but until there’s another loss or the offense fails to improve I don’t see changing QBs quite yet.

 

But the ceiling people discussed preseason looked to have been reached at the moment at several position groups, not just at QB. 


WR, RB, QB all have starters who likely WONT play on Sunday. Verdel, Dye, Redd, Johnson, Brown don't at present look like Sunday players. 

 

Whose going to step up and take starting roles?
 

I understand and almost agree with putting the young guys in for experience. But I’m not sure that at one loss and ranked 8 its quite the time to start to play for next year. 
 

I think continuing to compete and weathering this storm of injuries together will pay culture dividends next year
 


 

 

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What do we know about recent head coaches?

 

Chip could not recruit well enough.  He brought in great players, but he never had a full roster of enough talent, especially linemen and linebackers.

Helfrich was clueless about defense and recruiting dropped off.

The Snake used Oregon as a stepping stone.  So whatever his potential was, it was only very short term. 

 

Cristobal won't change QBs.  He doesn't have his team playing the right schemes.  He can't make in game or post game adjustments.  Players get hurt in training and practices. 

 

I don't see any reason to expect any change. I am kind of numb right now and may be losing interest. 

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On 10/8/2021 at 10:52 AM, Vandownbytheriverduck said:

The Ducks are a one loss team.

 

I want to see the young talent as much as anyone but until there’s another loss or the offense fails to improve I don’t see changing QBs quite yet.

 

But the ceiling people discussed preseason looked to have been reached at the moment at several position groups, not just at QB. 


WR, RB, QB all have starters who likely WONT play on Sunday. Verdel, Dye, Redd, Johnson, Brown don't at present look like Sunday players. 

 

Whose going to step up and take starting roles?
 

i understand and almost agree with putting the young guys in for experience. But not sure at one loss and ranked 8this quite the time to play for next year 
 


 

 

I wouldn't at first play the youth vs UCLA, but against Cal - you can take the chance and still not lose.  If they do well, then move forward.  If they make too many mistakes, then go back to your previous starters against UCLA. 

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On 10/8/2021 at 10:53 AM, oregon112 said:

I am kind of numb right now and may be losing interest. 

 

I fear for the Athletic Department that this has already happened with a percentage of fans and will continue to.  It is not smart football and everyone can see it...

Mr. FishDuck

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On 10/8/2021 at 10:57 AM, oregon112 said:

I wouldn't at first play the youth vs UCLA, but against Cal - you can take the chance and still not lose.  If they do well, then move forward.  If they make too many mistakes, then go back to your previous starters against UCLA. 

Another option is the give the vets the first half. If they put the game away then great, even if they don't the young guys are coming in.

 

If Cristobal wants to start AB only give him the first half. Let's see what one of the young guys can do with a complete half, against a Pac-12 opponent. We can then compare apple and apples.

 

I also want to see Dont'e Thorton play a complete half with somebody who can pass. Are his stats an anomaly, or is he the real deal, I want to know!

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On 10/8/2021 at 8:51 AM, Jon Joseph said:

But I have to demur regarding Oregon's PO hopes in 2021? The ACC is out of it. TX beats OK on Saturday or the B12 champ otherwise finishes 12-1 and with the W at Ohio State, a 12-1 OR will have a better resume than any B12 champ.

I don't think we are completely out of it. 

 

But there is a lot out of our control. We need to see a team playing for the future and playing to win. 

 

We see a lot of playing to not lose right now out of Brown. That invites more losses. 

 

Better to believe we are out for now and swing for the fences and if we get ourselves back in it we are a better team for it. 

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On 10/8/2021 at 8:28 AM, JDuck said:

but MC's presser yesterday, he said "Brown is still the guy, gives us the best chance to win" or something like that.

 

I said it in another forum post somewhere... but this is completely the right thing for Cristobal to say regardless of what the decision is behind the scenes. There is no reason for him to give away a quarterback change, if one has occurred, until the game itself, especially during a bye week. No need to give Cal any information they may use to better prepare themselves for next weeks game.

 

I'm still hoping we will see some changes coming because Brown isn't cutting it.

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On 10/8/2021 at 10:53 AM, oregon112 said:

I don't see any reason to expect any change. I am kind of numb right now and may be losing interest. 

 

Yes, this is a REAL issue. This is not fun football to watch. No passing game....defensive backfield always on skates.....little to no pressure on the QB.....O and D lineman constantly being stood up and pushed back. Something is going to have to give or the wheels will eventually come off completely.

 

On 10/8/2021 at 9:33 AM, Annie said:

I don’t know… I get the feeling that TT is just not ready for prime time and the coaches don’t want to sacrifice him in what could be a vain attempt to better the season. 

 

I agree this could be exactly the issue. However, it wouldn't be a vain attempt to better THIS season. It would be a necessary chess move to ensure we don't lose a bunch next season as well. This season is a loss in my mind. You can not play the way this team has in 4 out of 5 games and expect that we will see the needed wins the rest of this season to go anywhere except probably the Cheez-it Bowl. I sincerely hope I eat crow on this statement but.............

 

On 10/8/2021 at 11:07 AM, Haywarduck said:

Another option is the give the vets the first half. If they put the game away then great, even if they don't the young guys are coming in.

 

Good alternative option here. Problem is Coach's track record is not such that he seeks alternatives or options. So while we come up with many alternatives and options I just don't see Cristobal budging on anything. This pattern looks familiar to a pattern down at a university with spoiled children.

 

On 10/8/2021 at 11:19 AM, David Marsh said:

Better to believe we are out for now and swing for the fences and if we get ourselves back in it we are a better team for it. 

 

Yes, we are out. Unless we play every game the way we played when beating tOSU then we are most certainly out. I don't see anyway we win at UCLA or even at home against the Beavers. Wouldn't be surprised if we lose at Utah as well. We will lose a few more games playing the way we have most of this year.

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On 10/8/2021 at 10:48 AM, Duckman said:

For others, everything speeds up and results in panic.  It did not look like the game slowed down for the Ducks in overtime, particularly on offense.

And then there's Mike Leach. Everything stops while the world waits for him to call a play. LOL

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If Joe Moorhead is healthy enough to call plays against Cal then he needs the bring out Thompson and both freshman receivers. He has been playing with them consistently on the 2nd team. He clearly is comfortable throwing to Ferguson and Matavao. His passing ability will allow the run game to take its lumps while it sorts itself out. But the sheer threat his vertical playmaking ability presents will at least keep Cal from stuffing the box to prevent the run. Even with rookie mistakes I see him learning on the fly quick (was said of him during spring and fall camp) and producing well in the pass game.

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On 10/8/2021 at 2:19 PM, David Marsh said:

I don't think we are completely out of it. 

 

But there is a lot out of our control. We need to see a team playing for the future and playing to win. 

 

We see a lot of playing to not lose right now out of Brown. That invites more losses. 

 

Better to believe we are out for now and swing for the fences and if we get ourselves back in it we are a better team for it. 

 

True, but 1 more conference L by Stanford and there will be at least 1 more L for this Cardinal team, and the Ducks conference-wise, is totally back in control. 

 

Run the table and OR has the tie breaker against  a 1L OR ST. Even if ASU only has the L to BYU, Ducks play ASU in the champ game and win, Oregon is potentially a 12-1 conference champ.

 

I do not think that a 12-1 Pac-12 champ with a big and possibly bigger OOC win, if Ohio State runs the table and wins the B1G, will be left out.

 

The win at Columbus is still the biggest OOC win to date. UGA's W over Clemson? Iowa over Iowa ST? Not close to the win in Columbus.

 

Swing for the fences? Heck yes! But don't panic with so much left to play for.

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On 10/8/2021 at 12:42 PM, Jon Joseph said:

True, but 1 more conference L by Stanford and there will be at least 1 more L for this Cardinal team, and the Ducks conference-wise, is totally back in control. 

 

Run the table and OR has the tie breaker against  a 1L OR ST. Even if ASU only has the L to BYU, Ducks play ASU in the champ game and win, Oregon is potentially a 12-1 conference champ.

 

I do not think that a 12-1 Pac-12 champ with a big and possibly bigger OOC win, if Ohio State runs the table and wins the B1G, will be left out.

My friend I find myself conflicted... In all our back and forth over the last few years I have always found myself the optimist and you the realist. 

 

On this occasion I feel our roles have been reversed. I am finding it difficult to find any confidence in the current state of the team... Though there is a small part of me that is hopeful. 

 

I just want to see growth from this team and coaching staff.

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On 10/8/2021 at 1:27 PM, GODUCKS15 said:

Will the AB that beat Ohio St ever return? I look at AB like a Country Club pro instructor. They know how to do all the swings and can clearly see what's wrong with my swing but they aren't as gifted as the guys on the tour that make a living playing golf vs being instructors. The CC pro may play in some regional events but will never make the big ones.

AB is that kind of QB IMO. He knows the game but isn't gifted enough to make a big impact.

 

 

And AB may play OK in the Canadian Football League?

 

Great analogy. Lots of guys can bomb it but have no on-course strategy and have not mastered the short game nuances. The little things that distinguish the bombers from the guys and ladies on the pro tours.

 

However, there are lots of CC pros who can teach. Can communicate how to 'spin the wheel' and make hackers better players. 

 

And Mario is not coaching guys with hand-eye coordination issues. He is coaching guys with great potential.

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On 10/8/2021 at 4:07 PM, Jon Joseph said:

 

And AB may play OK in the Canadian Football League?

 

Great analogy. Lots of guys can bomb it but have no on-course strategy and have not mastered the short game nuances. The little things that distinguish the bombers from the guys and ladies on the pro tours.

 

However, there are lots of CC pros who can teach. Can communicate how to 'spin the wheel' and make hackers better players. 

 

And Mario is not coaching guys with hand-eye coordination issues. He is coaching guys with great potential.

At this point I would say he is the guy everyone is impressed with at the driving range and off the first tee. He then comes in with an 89 and lots of stories about what could have been.

 

His coach sees him on the driving range and says keeps the faith. The problem is when the game starts the dynamics of it all kill most good players, and you can tell pretty quick who has it. 

 

When Justin came in and lost to, got crushed by the dawgs, most people came away thinking that kid has go 'it' even though he lost. This isn't happening with AB and won't be anytime soon. One of these guys behind AB is that guy, and we won't find out until we travel to Atlanta next year unless something changes.

 

Once again we will get crushed and the new kid will be playing.  Many on Fishduck will be saying if only he had played last year we might have had a chance!

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On 10/8/2021 at 5:43 PM, Haywarduck said:

crushed by the dawgs, most people came away thinking that kid has go 'it' even though he lost.

Oddly enough I think Helfrich would have held onto his job for another year if he played Herbert from game one. 

 

Fans would have been appalled by the defense but the bigger question around Helfrich was could he replace Mariota without a grad transfer? The answer was yes, with Herbert but too late. 

 

Not saying Helfrich would have lasted much longer regardless but just a thought. 

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On 10/8/2021 at 5:20 PM, David Marsh said:

My friend I find myself conflicted... In all our back and forth over the last few years I have always found myself the optimist and you the realist. 

 

On this occasion I feel our roles have been reversed. I am finding it difficult to find any confidence in the current state of the team... Though there is a small part of me that is hopeful. 

 

I just want to see growth from this team and coaching staff.

 

Great take and observation. I am usually Debby Downer. But Stanford was but 1 conference loss. Stanford already has 1 conference loss. 

 

I have many the doubt about this Ducks team from here on out.

 

But, and I hope it happens, if Oregon can re-group it could and on paper should run the rest of the Pac-12 table?

 

That was the Stanford Voodoo happening in Palo Alto. How many pratfalls and extenuating circumstances had to happen for Stanford to win this game? The late game calls were called out not only by Ducks fans by but by many the CFB 'expert' across the nation.

 

As I noted above. I am far from opposed to getting younger guys on the field. I was opposed to starting a guy at QB in his last season of eligibility.

 

But I am trying to stay positive. I have watched every Pac-12 team play this season. If Oregon can show up with its B game it has a chance to win out. It defeated Arizona with its D game.

 

Will it happen? I doubt it but at this point in time I am hopeful of seeing what many believe to be an improbable or even an impossible run.

 

The idle week could not have come at a better point in the season. And getting CAL at home before tripping to UCLA is very favorable.

 

1 more L suffered by the 2021 Ducks, David, then I am completely down with everything you advocated in your excellent article. I shall return to the Dark Side.

 

To date, the Ducks have the best OOC win in the country. And it came on the road. THIS will count when the Committee meets. And it will count even more if OH ST as I believe it will do wins the B1G title?

 

The ship is listing but it has yet to capsize.

 

 

 

 

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On 10/8/2021 at 12:42 PM, Jon Joseph said:

Run the table

Jon, do you really think we have a chance to run the table though?

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