It’s about this time every year that the collective University of Oregon fanbase comes out of our deep football-induced coma. It takes a moment, but we rub our eyes, yawn, pour a bowl of cereal and then say “OH YEA! BASKETBALL!” If you’re like me, then your 2015 basketball moment happened sometime on Sunday after thumbing through your respective sports scores and news smartphone application to find that the Ducks took down the Bruins in rout-like fashion the night before. Just like that your metaphorical football season wounds began to heal and regenerate X-men style.
Over the holiday season, The Duck Store hosted a book drive at its Eugene stores that benefited the Eugene/Springfield Relief Nursery. Relief Nursery is a non-profit child abuse and neglect prevention agency proven to strengthen high-risk families and keep young children safe. We’re happy to say we collected 528 books for them to add to their collection! Thank you to everyone who donated!
The Duck Store’s Senior Team Leader, Brian Wright, stands with Relief Nursery’s Director of Community Engagement, Angelynn Pierce, before moving about 300 books into the Relief Nursery.
We delivered the books to Relief Nursery last week, and they were overwhelmed by the community’s generosity. According to Angelynn Pierce, Relief Nursery’s Director of Community Engagement, this donation is, “by far, the largest single book donation Relief Nursery has ever had!” These books will be used in a variety of ways — as gifts, in classes, and some will be added to the Nursery’s small library.
We can all agree that the 2014 football season was historic for the Oregon Football program. To recap some of the accolades earned by our team and its players this year (more are still coming in):
Rose Bowl Champions
Davey O’Brien Award
Walter Camp Award
Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award
Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year
Pac-12 Championship MVP
Rotary Lombardi Award
Doak Walker Award
Bonko Nagurski Tophy
Jim Thorpe Award
We are tremendously proud of all that the Ducks accomplished on the field this year, but we’re equally proud of their conduct off field. After Marcus Mariota’s acceptance speech for the Heisman Trophy, Coach Helfrich had this to say: “Boys and girls across the country watching the Heisman presentation, if they need somebody to look up to, I can’t think of a better person. Looking up to how this guy works, his humility and his competitiveness, that’s a great thing for all those young people.”
College Football Playoff National Championship
Jerry’s World, Arlington, Texas
Monday, January 12, 2015
Weather: Cloudy, low 40’s
Vegas Says: Ducks -6.5
Game Color: Yellow
There’s been no shortage of buildup to this National Championship; the entire season has been building up to this moment. The question was “how will the playoff system work?” or simply, “will it work at all?” To me, the answer is pretty clear: the BCS would have given us Alabama against Florida State in the National Championship, which are the two teams that were knocked out first in the playoff era of college football. TCU fans may have some misgivings, but overall I think the system has given us the two best teams and an extremely intriguing matchup.
Headlining the game are the two quarterbacks. By now we’ve all heard plenty about Cardale Jones and the fact that he was indeed the third string quarterback coming into the season. But let’s not treat Jones like any ‘ol third stringer. Yeah, he was down on the Ohio State depth chart, but he shared reps with JT Barret during spring ball while Braxton Miller was injured, and he was the number 12 ranked quarterback (rivals.com) coming out of high school. He’s also 6’5” and 250 pounds, lending to the adage “you can’t teach big.” Lastly, he’s 2-0 so far in his career as a starting quarterback, with those two games being the Big 10 championship and the Sugar Bowl. He definitely won’t be afraid of the big stage.
Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California
Thursday, January 1, 2015
Kickoff: 2 PM
Weather: Mid 50’s
Vegas Says: Ducks -8
Game Color: Green
The high seed in both playoff matchups are favored to advance to the National Championship by more than a touchdown. Alabama, who has looked unstoppable since their loss to Ole Miss in early October, is favored by 9. Oregon has followed a similar path, handing out L’s opponents since their sole loss on the same weekend in October, and emerging as an 8 point favorite against the undefeated Seminoles.
For the Ducks to prove Vegas correct they’ll have to overcome several things that have given them fits throughout the 2014 season.
I was a mascot once. Seriously — I stood in as one of two pears for Pear Bureau Northwest during the Mascots For A Cure event in Eugene. I’m pretty sure the number one rule of being a mascot is anonymity, but my career was short and I feel comfortable revealing my identity because I don’t think that I did anything to offend anyone. But if I did… That wasn’t me. It was totally the other guy.
For all of my mascot brethren out there, you know that there is nothing more fun than running around pretending to be someone or something else for a short while… erm, that may have come across as more introspective than I wanted it to… For those of you who haven’t experienced this childhood fantasy, it’s a moment when you can totally goof off (appropriately), mess with kids and their parents, and trip over things that you can’t quite see because your costume obstructs your view. In short, mascots have a super sweet job.
So let’s all agree that whoever has the pleasure of playing either The Duck, or Florida State’s mascots Osceola and Renegade, they have an awesome gig. Now, let’s take the person out of the costume, and simply decide which mascot is better. Period.
Admittedly, the coaches comparison isn’t quite as much fun as yesterdays quarterback comparison. Neither of these gentleman won the Heisman trophy, nor have they filled tabloids with stories of stolen crab legs and inappropriate pop culture declarations shouted from atop a table in the student union, yet compare them we shall.
The similarities between Jimbo Fisher and Mark Helfrich are surprisingly abundant. They are both relatively new to the head coaching profession — Jimbo in his fifth year as head coach at Florida State, and Mark in his second. They both got their start as assistants, which eventually led to a coordinator position at a more prominent program, then coordinator at their current institution, and finally a promotion from coordinator to head coach. The tools and experience that these two bring to the table are nearly identical, consisting entirely of quarterbacks and offense. Neither is wanting for offensive tricks of the trade.
I can’t think about the Rose Bowl without thinking of my friend Jamie, of the UO-based musical group Supwitchugirl, and the way he initiated the viral “I love my Ducks” video with his baritone declaration: I Smell Roses. Jamie, and the rest of Supwitchugirl, became celebrities of sorts around campus for the remainder of their college careers. They even got some national recognition on ESPN, the Dan Patrick Show, and found themselves performing their song at an event for folks at Nike as well as pep rallies before the Rose Bowl itself.
In ‘09-’10 we had Jamie, who almost accidentally became famous leading up to the Rose Bowl. Fast-forward to 2014, add an “s” and flip the “i” and “e” and you’ve got Famous Jameis Winston of the Florida State Seminoles. Just as Jamie became the face of Supwitchugirl and the “I love my Ducks” phenomenon, Famous Jameis is the face of the Florida State football program. He’s a self-proclaimed charismatic fellow. In fact, just this week during the [...]
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It’s feeling a bit like 2011 around the Oregon football program these days. Obviously, fans and players will be hoping for a different outcome, but the excitement is comparable with a few interesting twists. First, the front-runner for the Heisman trophy wears an Oregon Duck uniform, and second, the upcoming Rose Bowl game will be the opener in the new playoff era of college football.
In preparation, let’s take a quick peek at the nuts and bolts of the upcoming Oregon football events:
Reser Stadium, Corvallis, Oregon
Saturday, November 29th
Kickoff: 5:00 p.m.
Weather: Mid 40’s, 50% chance of rain
Vegas Says: Oregon -20
Game Color: Green
The Civil War consistently occurs at one of the most hectic times of year with Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and most importantly rivalry week in college football. It’s just one of a stacked schedule of games, many of which can affect the playoff picture for the Ducks going forward. Luckily for the Ducks, though, they appear to control their own destiny behind their seemingly destined-for-greatness quarterback, Marcus Mariota. So what, if anything, should make the Ducks nervous headed into this rivalry matchup?
First, the history of the Civil War is the ultimate equalizer in even the most lopsided matchups. The overall record is Ducks 61, Beavers 46, with the scales tipping heavily in the last forty years or so. But all bets are off in a rivalry [...]
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