By REED NELSON
R.I.P., Oregon’s 2012 National Championship Hopes
Oregon’s Dream of a National Championship was conceived in Autzen Stadium in April, on a sunny Spring day, when an unknown redshirt freshman by the name of Marcus Mariota ran for about a million yards and bestowed lofty expectations upon the Eugene faithful.
Over the summer months, the shifty quarterback solidified himself as the starter. He also established himself as something of an X-Factor. The expectations grew and grew. Kenjon Barner appeared to be all the running back that LaMichael James was and maybe a little bit more.
John Boyett and Michael Clay were anchoring a defense that was prepared to make a difference in 2012. And what a difference they would make. This Duck team was different from the past few. They hit harder, ran faster and played fiercer. They took the ball away from the opposition like it was theirs. Nothing made them happier.
When Boyett was lost for the season, the Ducks rebounded with the youthful exuberance of a National Champion. Avery Patterson filled in for him in ways that his teammates, coaching staff and fans could never have anticipated. And then he was hurt too. Another knee, another season. But even after getting mercilessly riddled by injury bullets, causing the defensive depth chart to more closely resemble Swiss cheese than anything else, the Dream lived on.
When Stanford arrived on the Dream’s doorstep, the Dream did all that it could to keep out the pressing Cardinal, but to no avail. Stanford dealt the Dream a near-fatal blow, but, even on life support, the Dream vigorously clung to life.
We will remember that fighting spirit, a spirit which lived right up until around 5:00 p.m. PST on Saturday, when it threw in its final towel due to crippling mathematical certainties.
The Dream did not die due to lack of resiliency, spunk or unwavering will. The Dream persisted because of all those special qualities. The Dream passed away this past Saturday due to a careful cocktail of unfavorable results from around the country. Florida’s win over Florida State did nothing but hurt the morale of the Dream, and then Stanford, the original assailant to the Dream’s well-being, decided to pull the plug by wrecking UCLA Saturday afternoon.
“I live for that crystal ball, man,” the Dream was quoted as saying in a recent interview he did with Optimism Magazine. “I just don’t know if I could live without it. It means the world to me.”
The Dream was just three months old and is survived by all 116 members of the Oregon football team, as well as the coaching staff and countless fans. Please sign the guest book at QuackTownUSA.com/Legacies if you wish to leave personal condolences.