If there was any legitimate criticism coming from Oregon State fans about the Ducks' football program at any point in this decade, it was clearly the "late season swoon." Oregon would start off strong, only to fade away in November and get beaten by some mediocre opponent in some mediocre bowl game. The late season swoon was a hallmark of the Ludwig and Crowton era, as 2002, 2003, 2006, all experienced a significant drop in the level of play late in the season and the losses began to pile up (this was true in 2007, too, but only because we had no healthy players left to put on the field.
The last two years have been vastly different, featuring very strong Novembers that have catipulted Oregon to premium rankings, good bowl games, and a Pac-10 Championship. We thought that under the Chip Kelly regime, the late season swoon would be a thing of the past. Clearly, we were wrong.
I have been reluctant to criticize Chip Kelly on this site, but its time to clear the air while there is still time to do something about it. A travesty is about to happen, and if Chip Kelly refuses win the day and do something about it, then I will. Because, if it is allowed to happen, it will haunt this school with "should haves" and "what-ifs" for decades:
Oregon is choking away the Fulmer Cup.
I'm not really sure how this happened. The offseason started off so promising. Jeremiah Masoli was showing his leadership, putting mega points on the board and trying to win the thing by himself. Also knowing his role as a star on this team, LaMichael James also stepped in. Even Rob Beard and Kiko Alonso came up with clutch performances, putting us at #1 in all the land. It was such an impressive start by by the Ducks that, at one point, Spencer Hall said "Oregon can just take the Fulmer Cup right now."
Then it all went terribly wrong. I don't know if it was just complacency, thinking that they had this thing in the bag, or maybe it was the horribly misjudged decision of Coach Kelly to "punish" players for bad behavior, but this team has become horribly selfish in the last few months, and its that selfishness and lack of heart, led by Kelly himself, that has put this team in the position that its in (which is fourth place and falling, as recent transgressions at places like UCLA, Tennessee, and Georgia haven't even been taken into account yet).
Where is the leadership on this team? What the hell are you thinking Jeff Maehl? Are you so preoccupied with yourself that you can't even manage to knock off a convenience store? And Brandon Bair? You're 6'7" and you can't even go into a bar and knock the crap out of somebody? What about Eddie Pleasant? Spencer Paysinger? Kenny Rowe? You guys make your reputations off of hitting people. So go somewhere, preferably somewhere very public, AND START HITTING SOME PEOPLE. And don't get me started on Nate Costa and Darron Thomas. One of these guys is going to have to be the starting quarterback and leader of this team. Jeremiah Masoli loved this team so much that he went out in a blaze of weed to try and win us that cup. And, yet, I don't see either one of the supposed contenders lifting one damn finger to try and get us some Fulmer Cup points. And for what? Because they don't want to get a "criminal record?" That kind of leadership isn't getting this team anywhere.
I, for one, am damn tired of it. Chip Kelly, you say its time to "win the day." Start doing something right then. There is a little less than two months until the Fulmer cup is awareded. Minnesota's lead is not insurmountable. There is plenty of time left to commit a few crimes. The cup can still be ours, but its going to take someone to step up and provide some real leadership. I, for one, take pride in my school. And if I take my kids to the Cas Center and see an empty spot in the trophy case when a Fulmer Cup trophy should rightfully be, I know who to blame. This isn't about us. Its about all Ducks, past, present, and future. Show some leadership, win the day, and get out there and take that cup home.