Tonight’s Civil War: A Peek at Next Year’s Duck Migration to Neyland
There’s a lot going on right now with bowl committees unashamedly sitting in their thrones to see who will grovel the lowest and get down the dirtest. That’s what the first week of December has come to when you have six SEC teams with 7-5 records.
So today I thought we’d talk about something more interesting: Football.
The biggest game to be played in the Pac 10, arguably the most exciting conference in the NCAA this year.
The Civil War, Oregon Style
The Civil War is the local name for the seventh-oldest college football rivalry game: Oregon-Oregon State. The first game was played in 1894 and Oregon has the hold on the series with a 56-46-10 record. From 1997 through 2006, the winner was the home team – this streak was snapped two years ago when OSU beat Oregon in Eugene, and then last season, the Ducks beat the Beavers in Corvallis.
The game is played for the Platypus Trophy (I kid you not). Apparently, the trophy was lost for 40 years but found in 2005, and beginning two years ago, the winning team’s alumni association keeps the trophy.
The 2000 game was the first time both teams played while nationally ranked (Oregon #5, Oregon State #8). Oregon needed a win to go to Pasadena. State won, but because Washington beat their rival Washington State, the Huskies got the bid instead. Oregon got revenge in 2008. In that game, Oregon State need a win to go to the Rose Bowl, but the Ducks prevailed 65-38.
That brings us to this year’s Civil War to be played at Autzen Stadium in Eugene. This the first time that the winner will win the conference title and go to the Rose Bowl.
Huge. Mammoth. These are in-state rivals, folks!
Now why was I talking about this game?
Oregon comes a callin’ to Neyland Stadium next season. September 11th in fact. And they just might be a Top 5 team by the time the Ducks make flight across the continent to the banks of the Tennessee River. Check this squad roster spread based on class:
- 15 Seniors
- 29 Juniors
- 21 Sophomores
- 44 Freshman
So, I don’t really need to say that this year’s Ducks are in large part going to be next year’s Ducks we’ll see quackin’ it up in Knoxville. And that might not bode well for the Vols, considering that after hosting the fowl, we’ll be trying to embalm Florida (Tebow-less filth, but pretty good filth I’m sure), and then visiting LSU and Georgia in coming weeks.
Tonight, get a load of these two offensive monsters dressed in green and yellow, or black and silver, or whatever in hell they’ll be wearing. We’ll see them next September.
LaMichael James • RB • #21 • Freshman • 5′ 9″ 180 lbs • Texarkana TX
When Duck running back LeGarrette Blount was suspended for going postal and punching Boise State defensive end Byron Hout after this season’s opening loss up in Idaho, redshirt-freshman LaMichael James stepped into the spotlight. He has gone on this season to eclipse the Oregon and Pac-10 freshman rushing records. He also leads all BCS-conference running backs with a 7.0 yards per carry. He now has six consecutive 100-yard rushing games, and eight on the season.
His totals for the season are astounding. 1343 yards gained / 1310 yards net / 11 TDs. That’ comparable to Montario Hardesty’s 1366 /1306 /12 TDs. Except that James has only 190 carries to Montario’s 264 carries. Holy smokes!
Jeremiah Masoli • QB • #8 • Junior • 5′ 11″ 214 lbs • Daly City CA (Bay Area)
A transfer from City College of San Francisco (CCSF), Masoli came into 2008 as a potential redshirt and 5th QB on the Ducks’ depth chart, but finally got his chance because of injuries to other QBs. He quickly set upon the all-time Oregon record for rushing yards by a QB. He became nationwide this year when he was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated in August. Then, he proved his worthiness when he led the Ducks with a stellar performance over USC back when people though the Trojans were actually good.
This season, Masoli was 154 for 264 passing for 1865 yards, 14 TDs, and only 4 INTs. But add to that his 105 rushes, 619 yards, and 12 TDs, and you have some kind of threat.
As a resident of the Bay Area, I remember reading about Masoli when he was at CCSF – he led them to the junior college national title as a freshman in 2007, passing for 3592 yards and 30 TDs. He also was a star athlete at Serra H.S. in San Mateo CA (famous for many athletes including Barry Bonds). He spent his senior season of high school in Hawaii where he was a first-team All State basketball player.
The Ducks this season are rated 7th nationally in scoring at 38 points per game. They have scored more than 40 points in their last five games. Their team rushing stats rate 8th nationally with more than 230 yards per game.
If what you see tomorrow night is indeed what comes roosting at Neyland next September (or whatever it is ducks do), then Monte Kiffin and crew’s defense (whatever it looks like by then) will have their hands full come next September.
And if you want to read all the buildup with a Duck perspective, go visit the blog Addicted to Quack (definitely one of the better names out in the blogosphere). Especially read the post The Night Before Gameday. These guys are stoked.