Tako Tuesdays: Everything I Need...Almost

It's been three weeks since my last Tako Tuesdays. Sorry everybody. Believe it or not, I have a life outside ATQ, and it got busy as hell for a while. Luckily, Matt Daddy filled in nicely last week with a David Hasselhoff retrospective some crap subject that we did not agree upon, and that I did not read. The busy period in my life also happened to coincide with a busy time in Oregon sports; men's golf, softball, baseball, and track & field all made deep runs in the postseason. And while indoor T&F will be the only 2012 national championship the Ducks will claim, this year has been a major step forward in Oregon's ascent towards joining the elite athletic departments in the country.

The story of sports success at Oregon is a very short one, a story that goes like this: Once upon a time, there were Tall Firs and a crapton of runners. The end. But the history of Oregon as a complete athletic department is being written right now. The group of schools that can field a competitive team in essentially every sport they play is a very small group: Florida, Stanford, UCLA, Texas, USC, LSU, and a few others. And even as of ten years ago, the idea of including Oregon as a part of that group was laughable. But the rise has been swift. Football stuck its foot in the door with the Joey years, and pushed it open with Dixon and Chip. And the rest of the athletic department has followed suit; track & field and cross country have won at least one national championship every year since 2007, softball broke through this season, making the Women's College World Series in their third straight trip past regionals, volleyball is a perennial tournament team, men's golf has made two straight national championship rounds, and baseball has announced its presence with authority, with two postseason trips in their first four seasons. With Matthew Knight Arena now armed and fully operational, both basketball teams have the opportunity to improve, with the men's program already establishing a return to relevancy. Oh, and we basically invented a new sport, and are really good at it. I'm looking at you, Acrobatics & Tumbling.

Still looking.

Yep.

What was I doing? Where am I? What's this funny taste in my mouth? Where are my pants? Nevermind, moving on.

The Capital One Cup measures total athletic department success, awarding points for high national finishes. At the end of the year, they award a winning men's and women's program, and people rack up millions on their high-interest credit cards. America, F*** yeah. Anyway, here are the programs whose men's and women's programs both placed in the top 20:

  • Florida (#1 men, #6 women)
  • LSU (#2, #4)
  • Alabama (#4, #17)
  • UCLA (#6, #2)
  • USC (#10, #5)
  • Stanford (#11, #1)
  • Cal (#12, #14)
  • Maryland (#14, #7)
  • Oregon (#16, #7)
  • Penn State (#19, #18)
First off, the Pac-12 rules. Second, is it that much of a shock that the two surprise names on that list are Nike University and Under Armour University? That would make me annoyed if I were a fan of any other school. Instead, that news gets a big ol' LOL U MAD BRO? from me. But more importantly, it means we've arrived. Both programs finished in the top 20 in 2011 as well, so this is not a fluke. Oregon is an elite program, top to bottom.

What does this mean for Oregon fans? First, that we should be excited. Having our teams playing meaningful postseason games is something that isn't going to go away. Track and football are programs that will contend for a national title every year, and volleyball, baseball, softball, and golf aren't far behind. And once the basketball teams get going, watch out. The second thing is that we don't have to act like the kid sitting at the adult table anymore. Our school has earned its place among elite company, and it shouldn't surprise us anymore when a Duck team makes a deep postseason run. Should we be expecting women's softball to make the Women's College World Series every year? Of course not. But we shouldn't assume they'll be watching the playoffs from home, either.

Four of Oregon's spring teams came close to winning a national title. Will that happen every year? No, in both respects. There will be some years when the riches are leaner. But there will also be years when one, or more, of those teams breaks through and wins it all. Get ready for it Duck fans; your school is at the head table, and they're hungry.
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