#4 Oregon vs. Colorado: A Homecoming Preview

By REED NELSON

It’s that time of year — past the midway point of the season, well into conference play — when real Heisman hopefuls rise above the cesspool of wannabes, when coach’s seats start to reach searing temperatures and when things stop getting polite and start getting real.

That’s right, dammit. We’ve almost reached the Real World portion of the season. Things have gotten intimate, rivalry games loom every weekend, the silliness of the Charmin Soft non-conference schedule is over and a season is no longer salvageable after a loss.

On the Heisman front, Kenjon Barner is finally getting the love he deserves, ranking third in ESPN’s unofficial Heisman poll after rushing for over 120 yards in each of his last three games and upping his yard-per-carry average to 6.6. Oh, and he’s also scored 12 rushing touchdowns this season, including six in that same three game stretch. After half a season of neglect, the nation is finally recognizing Barner for the great player he is, or, more specifically, the best offensive player on the best offensive team in the country. Oh, and he’s doing yoga.

If he can manage to just simply stay on the rails this weekend, he should have 140 yards on his first 15 carries against Colorado and be able to watch the second unit play safely from the end of the bench by the second quarter.

Because luckily for Oregon, the schedule makers have gifted the Ducks’ that hapless Colorado team just a week prior to USC.

There are only two things Colorado can do to beat Oregon: a) They could place retractable knives in the toes of their cleats, like Jessica Biel in Blade: Trinity, and they physically stab each and every one of the Ducks’ 1’s and 2’s and force Chip to go with a set of 3’s that lost their quarter of action to Arkansas State; or b) They could win the coin toss, elect to receive, march down the field, kick a field goal, then pray for an earthquake to rattle the western seaboard within two minutes of said field goal. If they’re prayers are answered, and the game is called with 58 minutes to play, then I think the Buffs have a chance. (At the moment, I can’t think of a third option, so for the sake of this article’s grounding/sanity, we’ll stick to three.)

I wish that were a joke. I wish that even the Colorado student newspaper didn’t agree with the sentiment, but then it just wouldn’t be Colorado.

The CU Independent ran a story with the hopeful title of “Why Colorado will beat Oregon” in anticipation of Saturday’s game. In this article, the writer mentions many reasons for Oregon’s demise, and not a single one has to with football. None, zero, zilch1.

“Our team has been beaten into submission on and off the field… Now ask yourself, what happens when you corner an abused, desperate animal who is fighting for its right to live — and is quite frankly pissed off?”

Great question. But you didn’t clarify what kind of animal. You corner a rabid wolf and I see your point. The (most glaring) flaw in the argument? If we were playing the game of “What Animal Would Every Team in Major Conference College Football Represent if They Were Animals in the Jungle?” the Buffs would be a Guinea Pig. They’d be one of those blind dwarf hamsters that spend the majority of their day hiding under the food bowl. They would be a Miniature Doberman Pincer.

Now I ask you, Colorado, to reinsert one of those particular animals in place of the general “animal” you reference. It’s fun, the statement tends to change a bit.

The piece goes on to describe a hypothetical scenario that would see Oregon as victims of some sort of Wolverine-inspired carnage, a punch to the nose and any number of non-football-related maladies.

Even with the persuasive article, written from the belly of the Guinea Pig, I still don’t see it. Colorado is just that bad. Their margin of defeat against Fresno State would have made Steve Spurrier blush in 1996.

USC, a team that was coming off two closer-than-expected games against Utah and Washington — not exactly the cream of the Pac-12 crop — had senior walk-ons getting serious minutes by the middle of the second quarter.

So if we’re talking storylines, I really care about just one: How fast can Oregon get their starters off the field.

My honest-to-goodness prediction: Oregon 63, Colorado 6.

Footnotes

  • Although, in fairness, I’m fairly certain the author didn’t believe a single letter of it either. He couldn’t have. This was an actual quote: “Oregon, prepare to get punched in the face, have your hair pulled, raked in the eyes, etc. A team can only be hit in the mouth for so long before they hit back and hit back hard.”Jump


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