A few stray pieces of confetti still meander about the Dallas metropolitan area following Oregon's loss to Ohio State in the national championship game, yet we're already busy thinking ahead to next September, when the Ducks take the field and try to take care of business against Eastern Washington, one of the most dangerous FCS teams around. Will it be Jeff Lockie,Ty Griffin, Morgan Mahalak, Travis Waller, or someone else entirely that takes the first snap of the season? How will the defense look in Don Pellum's second year as defensive coordinator? Will it still be hilarious that Mike Riley is the head coach at Nebraska? Spoiler alert: it will. It will always be hilarious.
Spending the next eight and a half months in a constant state of anticipation and stress over the 2015 college football season will almost certainly cause your personal relationships to deteriorate, and your professional output to suffer. You'll lose hair, you'll forget basic human needs like sleeping and showering, and will most likely get evicted from your residence. I mean sure, getting to the stadium in the fall will be super convenient when you live in a van down by the Willamette River. But you can't do this to yourself, you just can't. And I'm here to help, with some handy-dandy dos and don'ts for your offseason.
DO: Watch the hell out of the NFL Draft - With Arik Armstead and Marcus Mariota both declaring a year early, Oregon has a chance to have two players taken in the first round of the same draft for only the third time ever (1972 - Ahmad Rashad and Tom Drougas, and 2013 - Dion Jordan and Kyle Long). That's a big deal. I'm also particularly interested in which team with a smart GM steals Ifo Ekpre-Olomu a round later than he would've gone if he hadn't been injured. It won't be the Niners, who have lost their damn minds and are stuck with the worst clock-management quarterback in NFL history for the next half-decade. No, I'm not bitter and annoyed at my pro team, why do you ask?
DON'T: Pay attention to any Mariota vs. Winston argument - Hey remember that three week period when FSU fans came over here and drove us all crazy,? This was right before the Seminoles shit themselves in front of 100,000 people, of course you remember. There will be approximately 9000 articles between now and the NFL Draft comparing Marcus Mariota to Jameis Winston. Some will be woefully ignorant about Mariota's role in the Oregon offense, others will be dismissive and borderline-racist towards Winston's past. All will include FSU and Oregon nutjobs in the comments. Do yourself a favor, and just avoid it all. All you really need to know is this: both will be taken in the top part of the first round, Winston probably has a better chance to succeed as a rookie, Mariota has a higher ceiling, and they're both really good at football. There. I just saved you twelve hours of reading. Go pick up some Hemingway instead.
DO: Check out Oregon's many other sports offerings - Did you know, Oregon is more than just a football school? It's true! And this spring is setting up to be one of the most exciting sports seasons in recent memory. Softball is coming off its most successful season in program history, finishing #3 in the final 2014 rankings, and men's golf finished last year in the top 15. Oregon baseball figures to contend for a College World Series spot, after coming up short in the last three postseasons. Oh yeah, and TrackTown USA has a national title to defend. There are plenty of activities to occupy your time.
DON'T: Re-watch the Ohio State game - An activity that should NOT occupy your time is reliving the national championship nightmare. It's ugly and aggravating in every way. Just stay away from it like it was your co-worker with the sinus infection who keeps coming to work because he's saving his sick days for when it gets really bad.You wouldn't want to watch a tank run over your cat more than once, so why would you want to see another second more of Cardale Jones careening for the first down line? In my head, every Ohio State third down looks like the wildebeest stampede from The Lion King, but it's hundreds of Cardale Joneses rumbling towards a frightened Alex Balducci. Hakuna matata, and good riddance.
DO: Remember that Bralon Addison will be back on the field in the fall - It's worth saying again; Bralon Addison will be back on the field in the fall. Matt Lubick and the receivers did a very good job considering after losing Addison. But I watched the drops in the Ohio State game. And I am aware of a need for reliable targets for Oregon's next starting quarterback. The Ducks need Addison back in the worst way in 2015. Here, just watch this, and swoon:
He's very good.
DON'T: Spend more than a half hour of your life thinking about this year's recruiting cycle, including National Signing Day - Something I've never understood is the common football fan's infatuation with watching recruit highlight videos. Here's what every single HS recruit's video looks like:
Play 1 - Guy who is clearly more athletic than everyone else on the field makes an athletic play.
Play 2 - Guy who is clearly more athletic than everyone else on the field makes an athletic play.
Play 3 - Guy who is clearly more athletic than everyone else on the field makes an athletic play.
Play 4 - Guy who is clearly more athletic than everyone else on the field makes an athletic play, except he's doing it at a different position, because he's the most athletic player on the field, and plays both ways because his coach would be crazy not to have him out there. This is of course useless, since your school is not recruiting him at that position.
Play 5 - Guy who is clearly more athletic than everyone else on the field makes an athletic play.
Play 6 - Guy who is clearly more athletic than everyone else on the field makes an athletic play.
Play 7 - Guy who is clearly more athletic than everyone else on the field makes an athletic play.
All this goes on while some insufferable garbage like Disturbed or Papa Roach kills your eardrums. Yikes.
Signing Day is fun, because letters of intent are real. Recruits actually become part of the program that day. Schools will talk about them out loud for the first time. Oregon Films will make a fancy video introducing everyone. That information takes, at most, thirty minutes to process. Then, you're out of stuff to read without re-reading the same information. So, you get a half hour. Any longer, and you're a grown-up looking for videos and physical specs of high school students on the Internet. Don't do that. If you use up your half hour before Signing Day, well then tough shit. You can find out about our freshmen when fall camp opens.
Important: if you get paid to write about recruiting, continue to do your job, for you are doing the Lord's work. Bless you.
DO: Get in shape - If last season's injury epidemic was any indicator, you will be making your first career start at tight end when Oregon plays Arizona State next year. You're going to need to bulk up to about 240, and also work on your conditioning. A 5K a day and about two and a half hours in the weight room every day from now until August should do the trick. Grab a towel and a water bottle. The nutritionist is down the hall and to the right when you need him. And you will.
DON'T: Write off the basketball team just because of last year's scandal - Yeah, that whole thing was ugly. And many of you have already quit on the team until Dana Altman is gone. Frankly, I don't blame you. But we didn't write off Oregon football while LeGarrette Blount, LaMichael James, Kiko Alonso, or Chip Kelly were in green and yellow. Their cloud weren't nearly as cloudy, to be sure. Personally, it's hard to get invested in this year's team because I'm not particularly interested in watching Joseph Young take nine hundred shots a game. But I'd encourage you to try your best to give this year's team your best efforts.
DO: Watch the Jameis Winston fumble as much as possible - #FSUTwitter can crow all they want about Oregon still not having a national title. They're right, we don't. But they can't take away the moment of sheer joy and schadenfreude that comes with Jameis Winston flailing about, forcing a fumble on himself, and falling over. This play will always be funny. Always.
DON'T: Stop reading Addicted to Quack - 'Cuz the renovations to my breakfast nook are already underway, and only 2,000 page views a day isn't gonna pay for it to get finished.