Sorry for the sparse posts the last two weeks. It's not laziness. I simply got a postition coaching high school basketball which, on top of my full time job, puts me at an 11 hour workday, not including another hour of commute time. Things will get better as I adjust, I promise. Sorry for no five questions this week, I could not find an Arizona football blogger. I assure that won't be the case next week, as our OSU affiliate Building the Dam will be in the house.
As for our beloved Ducks, what we thought would be a gimme game tomorrow is not looking like one. Arizona now has their own bowl aspirations after upsetting Cal down in Tucson. Their defense is very good, Tuitama is finally back, and against Oregon's pretty bad kick coverage, Syndric Steptoe is a big threat to return one to the house. Its a very similar Arizona team to the one we played last year, and they gave us fits.
That being said, don't expect the Ducks to be overlooking this game to the Civil War. Mike Stoops gloated about taking out two Oregon quarterbacks last year. His brother, Bob, should get the whiner of the year award. So the Ducks will really want to lay down an old fashioned ass whoopin' on a Stoops' ass.
Don't let that mask, however, that Oregon comes into this game with problems of their own. For the first time this season, they are out of the top 25. Many questions are surfacing about the quarterback situation--should Leaf start over Dixon? Will Leaf transfer after the season? Should we change the offense back to something more traditional? Will the Beavers kick our ass all over Corvallis again this season?
It really is quite complex. I have been an avid Dixon supporter all season, but he laid an egg in yet another big game. At what point do you give Leaf a shot? Then again, if you decide that Leaf is your man, you almost have to change the offense next season. Is that necessairly a bad thing? Would it be better for Jonathan Stewart to give him a running start? I don't know the answer to these questions. I think that Leaf will probably be the starting quarterback next year--for the University of Montana. But should he have already be given a shot here? Should they change the offense? I don't know.
It's kind of funny. The first story I wrote for Addicted to Quack was a statistical analysis of how amazing the offense had been. That was a week before the Cal game. Now, an offense that had been fourth in the nation in total offense, and top ten in most offensive categories, is out of the top ten, and has been shut down almost completely three times. But they return almost everyone next season. Can they find some kind of consistency between now and then? We have to wait and see next season's results before we can fully analyze this season--and to know whether Bellotti's decision to stick with Dixon is the right answer.
Anyway, I'm ranting. About the game tomorrow. The Ducks are just a whole lot better than Arizona. Sure, they upset Cal. But this game is in Eugene, not Tucson. And we know that the Ducks are just a different team at home. Not that I think the Ducks will overwhelm the Wildcats defese, but I just don't think that Arizona has enough offensive playmakers. I do think that it will be an ugly game, but an ugly Oregon offense will just make more plays. If Arizona can force bad turnovers deep in Oregon territory, they have a good shot. But I just don't think that the offense is good enough to do much of anything.
THE PREDICTION: OREGON 27, Arizona 14