It was a surprising week to say the least in the Final Four of Oregon's Greatest Game Bracket Challenge. It looked like the 2015 Rose Bowl was going to upset what many thought was the favorite to win the whole thing, The Pick. But like a quarterback trying to scramble and inexplicably fumbling, or a team driving for the go ahead touchdown and throwing an interception on the sideline, The Pick took the poll to the house.
In the other match up, the Chrome Domes were just too bright and easily took out Fright Night.
So here we have it, as voted on by you the fans of this team. Which game should be considered the Greatest Game in Oregon's history. Some are probably going to vote what they know or saw, some may even embellish whether or not they saw it live. Some are going to vote their hearts, while other may be more analytical about the games themselves. Either way, this contest will be decided, and you the fans who have given to the program, cheered till you're hoarse, read, wrote, and consumed these games are going to be the ones to decide it.
Voting ends on Thursday, March 23rd at 4:23pm University of Oregon time, so make your case in the comments, share this on your social media sites to rally as many votes you can, and make sure to read each game's case for why it should be voted Oregon's Greatest Game below.
(1) Wisconsin - Rose Bowl January 2, 2012 [Oregon 45 - Wisconsin 38]
Why It Should Win - I'm going to lay out my bias right up front, this is the greatest game I've ever watched. If you want to talk about the game play itself, it's hard to ignore that no team in the game ever had more than a touchdown lead. This was a back and forth battle of two really good teams playing really good football Russell Wilson was 19-of-25 for 296 yards. Darron Thomas was 17-of-23 for 268 yards. Oregon rushed for 345 yards on 40 carries. Oregon's defense did what they did best and shut down Wisconsin's rushing game, while Wisconsin's defense turned a strip sack into a TD. There were amazing catches, electrifying runs, and game changing turnovers. This game would go down to the final two seconds, and college football changed their rules about spiking to stop the clock because of this game.
Or we can talk about its historic significance. 95 years without a Rose Bowl win. Two attempts in the last 17 years with both coming up short to really good teams from the Big Ten. Facing another really good team from the Big Ten. Seeing guys like LaMichael James, Darron Thomas, or Kiko Alonso, who had faced adversity in their college careers hand Oregon something many thought would allude them their entire life.
Or the atmosphere and environment surrounding the game. The Rose Festival, the stealth bomber fly-over, the chrome helmets reflecting off the southern California sky. It was all memorable, beautiful, and impossible to forget.
This game had everything and that's why it should be considered the greatest game in Oregon history.
(1) UW 1994 - The Pick [Oregon 31 - Washington 20]
Why It Should Win - Iconic. If you're going to sum this game up in one word, that word is iconic. There have been some that have tried, but there is no possible way of imagining the Oregon Ducks football program without this game.
It changed everything.
Before this game, Washington had won 17 of the previous 21 match ups. After this game, Oregon won 17 of the next 21 match ups. Oregon went to 4 Rose Bowls, 2 National Championship games, and won 7 conference titles. Washington went to 1 Rose Bowl, made it to a playoff game, and won 3 conference championships.
Oregon saw an influx in national attention, booster support, fan attendance, and the trajectory of the program followed suit. The Ducks used all of that to expand Autzen Stadium, build state of the art education, practice, and workout facilities for its athletes. They focused that national attention on recruiting and eventually brought in their first Heisman trophy winner. They built a reputation for fun, fast, and innovative football that turned eyeballs and opened up wallets to grow the program into a national power.
Many joke about Oregon football not existing before 1994, if you compare the 23 years since to the 100 that came before, it didn't. There have been 1,175 games in Oregon's history, but there is only one game, and one play that Oregon replays on that massive scoreboard, bought with everything the program created after it, before each home game. That's why it should be considered the greatest game in Oregon history.
There you have it. The arguments are laid out for why each game should be considered Oregon's greatest game. So vote below for the one you think should win, and leave a comment about why.