You may not know this, but I do a great many things besides type words into my computer and publish them for hundreds of readers. I have a job. Two of them, in fact. That's a full work week spent not thinking about Duck sports. I play in a band, I go on dates, I watch The Walking Dead. At most, you guys (and gals) are getting 10 hours a week of writing, filming, and research. That's all I've got to give without detrimentally impacting my life.
And now the Ducks definitively control their national championship destiny, face three straight games vs. ranked opponents, and are beat to hell on defense.
Thanks Ducks, it's not like I needed to be productive for the next three weeks or anything.
Oregon has looked dominant, for stretches, in every single game this season. USC's 51 points, the most scored against Oregon all year by far, would still have only beaten the Ducks three times this year (Oregon scored less than 51 against only FSU, WSU, and Arizona State). Marcus Mariota is the most efficient passer in the nation, leading a run-first offense. The defense is averaging three takeaways per game, and have given up 30+ points per game only twice (USC and Arkansas State). As far as the eye test is concerned, this is the best team in the country. So should I really be worried?
Of course I should. This is college football. Oregon may be favored at home this week against Stanford, but so was USC in 2007. USC was in the BCS drivers seat a year earlier going into the game against UCLA too, remember? Or how about West Virginia in 2007? Or Oklahoma State a year ago? And none of those were against ranked teams. Ranked teams are even more dangerous, just ask Alabama. And none of those teams had the defensive injury problems we have right now. I mean, Keanon Lowe and De'Anthony Thomas might play defense this week.
It's never been on-field performance that's made me nervous in the Chip Kelly era. Down 21-3 against Stanford in 2010, I wasn't worried, not even a little bit. I knew the potential of our team, and our ability to come back in a game that was only 25% over. And I was right. But it's crap like this, injuries, fantasy, and ghosts of narratives past, that give me the midweek willies. All you have to do is tell me we could potentially start two true freshmen at DT against one of the best rushing offenses in the country, and a week later, have a wide receiver and a running back play defensive back against receivers that have combined for 118 catches so far this season. My twisted mind fills in the nooks and crannies, and I wake up sweaty and afraid, having just dreamed about toothless Beaver fans beating me with shovels labeled "MARKUS WHEATON IS GONNA SCORE", and Touchdown Jesus descending from the heavens and telling me I will never father children. Distress, is what I'm trying to convey.
Feel free to accuse me of panic-mongering, because I am, in part because I can't be the only one that feels this way, and I need to be part of a community at my perhaps my most vulnerable moment. But if you're walking around without even a shred of unease, stop it now. It's unnatural, like ligers, the color of Cheetos and Mountain Dew, and Taylor Martinez's throwing motion. This a world full of uncertainty, and Oregon is down to its third-string free safety.
Oh, and we still can't kick a god damn field goal.