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When a Win Doesn't Feel Like a Win

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Oregon leaves Salt Lake City with a victory in the box score, but it comes at a heavy cost.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Winning football games is supposed to be fun. It's supposed to feel good. You're supposed to jump around, crack a cold one, and toast the sixty minutes of magic you just watched. Oregon's 51-27 win over Utah feels cold, empty, and relatively insignificant.

I hope Kendal Thompson's knee is okay. Of the multitude of injuries that happened tonight, his was the most significant to the outcome of the game. The Utes were rolling early on the ground with Thompson taking the snaps, and when his knee shuddered ever so slightly while stepping into a deep pass, it sucked all the air out of Rice-Eccles Stadium. The entire complexity of the game was changed. Travis Wilson is capable, but didn't present the same set of challenges to the Oregon defense that Thompson did.

I hope so voraciously that Hroniss Grasu is okay. The mood of the Oregon sideline, and the less-than-optimal initial evaluation of Grasu's knee, was concerning. The offensive line has been ripped asunder by injury after injury, but Grasu's presence in the middle was the steadying force that held the unit more or less together throughout the chaos. Doug Brenner is a fine center, destined to take over for Grasu as the starter next year. Oregon can beat Colorado and Oregon State with Brenner at center. They can probably beat the Pac-12 South champion, too. But can they win a national title if Grasu is done for the year?

Grasu was a sure thing to be drafted next year. I hope more than anything that this injury doesn't affect that status. The fan in me wants Grasu back for the Colorado game. But I'm completely okay if he's healthy by NFL Draft workouts.

I hope Pharaoh Brown can play football again. Hell, I'll feel better once I know he'll be able to walk again. I assume he'll be going straight to the hospital for surgery, and I wish him the safest and healthiest of recoveries. He's in for a long, hard, painful road. There aren't many times where I want an Oregon game to just be over, for the game to just go away and be done. Tonight was one of those nights. It was one of those nights where you question what the value of this game really is.

Oregon has a bye next week. I'm okay with that. In two weeks time, we'll know more. We'll know if there's a chance Hroniss Grasu can play again this year. We'll know if there's a chance Pharaoh Brown can play again, ever. We'll know that, yes, there is joy in football, particularly when Oregon toes the precipice of immortality. But we'll still know that this win was a hollow win, where Oregon was equal parts lucky, extraordinary, and tortured. Here's to never having to feel like this after a win, ever again.