We're halfway through the regular season and most all of us had penciled in a 6-0 start by the time we got to the bye week. In fact, most of the consternation has revolved around how many points we were giving up in blowout wins. We've all been pointing to that November 3rd matchup against USC as the "big one" that makes or breaks our title hopes but now that we are set to cross the bridge into the second half, things look a little different now that we are actually here.
They look complicated, REALLY complicated.
Two teams appear to be resurgent in the Pac-12 this season, teams that didn't appear on anyone's radar at the beginning of the year. One of those teams, the Arizona St. Sun Devils, is 5-1 on the year and really should have been 6-0 coming into their matchup with Oregon in Tempe. Todd Graham has them playing disciplined and exciting football. Gone are the days of personal foul and beating themselves. This is a dangerous football team and represents the first real test in a hostile environment on a Thursday night game for a relatively young offense for Oregon.
A few weeks later, Oregon makes the trip to USC to take on the Trojans. While this may not get the hype people were predicting based on the USC loss to Stanford earlier in the year, they are still a talented team with a lot of ways to beat you. Have we really solved the issues we had against them last year when they came in and escaped Eugene with the win?
Having to go to Berkley and then finishing the year up against a resurgent Oregon State team should make anyone feel a bit nervous. Outside of the California game, there should be something that jumps out at everyone. All are ranked teams and all will be on the road.
If the Ducks enjoyed home cooking the first half of the season, that will all change in the second half and I don't care who you are. That much travel will take its toll. If that wasn't enough to make you panic, a physical Stanford team comes to Autzen right before the Civil War to beat us up should be downright scary. Too many bad things can happen, especially if this Oregon State team keeps winning in conference and all signs point to the fact that they can.
The upside in all of this has to be the losses almost all the teams have suffered in conference but I just can't seem to shake this sense of foreboding about the second half where the competition gets fierce and the road becomes well-traveled. Am I panicking for no reason?
Help me to panic less by putting some quack in the comments. That always calms my nerves.