Chip Kelly may preach "Win the Day," but fans have the luxury of looking down the road. Here's my day dream for the Ducks' remaining schedule.
WSU: The fact that the Cougs gave UCLA a game in LA is probably the best thing that could have happened to the Ducks. If anyone was looking past them to a bye week and a little down time, Tuels' ability to throw the ball hopefully cured that thought. Ducks 56-10.
UCLA: Ducks at home on Thursday night nationally telecast game. UCLA coming off a likely loss to CAL in Berkeley. Prince will likely be healthy. Look for the Bruins to make some hay running the ball early, and the inevitable early Ducks turnover - can you say Thomas intercepted by the inside linebacker ala Dixon circa 2006 - No matter, the Ducks solve the Pistol by shooting the gaps and get three long second quarter touchdowns to go up 31-10 at halftime. Prince is forced to throw in the second half, and Cliff Harris take another weak out pass to the house, Ducks roll 52-17.
@ USC: In the preseason, I had this game down as the Ducks' only loss. Now, I really don't see them losing in LA. Trojans get rolled by Stanford 38-14 two weeks prior, and general malise sets in for the Men of Troy. Ducks win in a suprisingly boring game, 34-20.
UW: Ah, Husky week. UW will likely have beaten ASU and OSU at home in back to back weeks, before getting a dose of reality by losing to UA in Tucson and Stanford at home. The Ducks game will mark the Fuskies fourth straight week without a bye, and will be beaten, bruised and ass-draging by kick-off. The week prior to the game, there will be a run on crutches at Seattle-area pharmacies from all the Fusky fans breaking their ankles jumping off the bandwagon. They all know what's coming: Ducks 49, UW 21.
@ CAL: The first real "I'm marginally nervous about this one" game. The Ducks' lack of success in Berkeley has been well documented. By losing to Nevada, Cal has cleverly distanced themselves from expectations once again. A win over UCLA gets them on track, but a loss, once again, to USC in LA brings them back to reality. Cal beats ASU at home, loses to OSU in Corvallis, and narrowly defeats WSU in the Palouse. The Ducks come in as 30 point favorites. However, the weather is typical bay area winter - monsoon rain and low 40's. Thomas does his best Masoli, going 4-16 in the first half, and Cal's 3-4 defense keeps LMJ in check, Cal is up 20-10 at the half.
The clouds break long enough in the 3rd quarter for the Ducks to put up 14 quick points and they lead 24-23 to start the 4th. Shane Vereen breaks off a long touchdown run to start the 4th quarter (the first points the Ducks have given up in the 4th this year) and things look bleak. The Ducks finally break out the triple option, and Kenjon Barner runs for two 4th quarter touchdown, beating the Bears 38-30.
UA: The Ducks get a week to catch their breath before taking on UA. Gameday is in town as this game will decide the last "Pac-10" champion. Both UO and UA have run the table at this point, and come in to Autzen undefeated. UO is ranked 2nd and UA 3rd in the country. UO jumps on them early, going up 21-0 ten minutes into the game. UA claws its way back into it, scoring 14 in the 2nd quarter as the Ducks take a 24-14 lead at the half.
Barner and LMJ have been relatively quiet while Thomas has passed for 200 yards and run for another 80 in the first half. In the second, Arizona sells out to stop the run, and Josh Huff and DJ Davis go wild, ripping the Arizona defense down the seams, each scoring two second half touchdowns. Arizona's offense keeps it interesting, but the Ducks prevail, 56-45.
@ OSU: The wheels have finally come off for the CH2M Beavers. Losses to Arizona and Washington burst the "we always win in October" bubble. Wins over Cal and WSU give Beaver Nation hope, but loses to UCLA, SC and Stanford wash out the dam. The 2010 Civil War turns into a coronation ceremony for Oregon, as the seniors, lead by Nate Costa and Remene Alston play deep into the fourth quarter in a 38-10 victory.
Of course, Oregon gets jumped by Nebraska in the coaches' poll, and the Huskers lose 38-10 to Bama in the BCS Championship game, while the Ducks lose 37-32 to BSU after Venable takes out Thomas with a cheap shot in the first quarter (did I forget to mention that my day-dreams never have happy endings?).