What an amazing season for the Oregon football team this year. With all the magic of the 2007 team, I just wasn't sure how the 2008 team would measure up. I was hoping for an 8-4 record when the year started and it looks like that will happen if the Civil War goes badly for the Ducks. 9-3? Past all of my expectations. With Thanksgiving here, I've been reflecting on the season, trying to put away all of the negative commentary and focus strictly on what I am thankful for with regards to the Oregon Football program this year. Here are a few of those
I am thankful for....
A relatively injury-free year (knock on wood)
We saw nothing of the injuries that plagued us last year. We had brief elements of injuries with JJ having some shoulder trouble and Roper being out for a couple of games but very few devistating, season-ending injuries. We miss "The Gentleman" with his foot injury but he should be back next year and ready to run the rock.
The emergence of a clear #1 quarterback
As much as I liked Roper and thought he gave us the best chance to win, his injury really opened the door for Masoli to take the job and get much needed experience. He was out quickly at Boise State, worked through the offense against Washington State, went through the trials of USC and Cal, worked some things out at ASU and really stepped up with Stanford and Arizona. Through out the year, he has progressed forward, learning the offense, getting more and more comfortable. He led the comeback at Stanford and exploded in the first half of Arizona. He has a chance to cement his status in Ducks lore by beating Oregon State on Saturday. As for Roper? He is handling all of this with class, working the sideline role, always ready if called upon for one more "Ropert is God!" moment.
The honoring of Todd Doxey
What a fine show of class by the members of the Ducks football program, honoring a fallen teammate throughout the year by wearing his number and decals printed on the helmet.
An amazing Civil War game with two relevant teams
How can you ask for anything more? Oregon and Oregon State, both ranked at the end of the year, battling it out to determine who goes to what bowl. No matter how the Civil War turns out, it will be one for the ages. Getting to talk about it for a good month has been a treat in itself and finally, we will see history being made. The Beavers go to the Rose Bowl or the Ducks go to the Holiday Bowl. About as perfect as you can get.
(Your memory here)
Outside of all the negatives, the commentary, the concern about the team, coaching and what have you...what positives are you thankful for this 2008 season?