In the week following Oregon State’s 21-30 loss to No. 4 Texas Christian University and again after the
now-No. 5 Ducks’ 48-13 victory over Tennessee last weekend, I’ve seen nonstop hate pour from the Beaver
faithful around me.
The Ducks, these fans say, aren’t legit; they don’t deserve their ranking; heck, they even say the Beavers
are the better team.
Somehow, despite their own team getting soundly beaten by a much better opponent (sort of…more on
that later), these ignorant folks have the stones to call out the Ducks as being the worse team of the two.
Now wait just a sheep-stealing minute. What? Man am I sick of fans, players and coaches running their
mouths when they don’t have the stats or skill to back it up. Maybe I’m just touchy after hearing so many of
Rex Ryan’s baseless Super Bowl predictions for his team which is led by a quarterback that couldn’t even
slide without being taught by a major-league baseball coach. Or maybe I’m just incredibly partisan, seeing
as I’ve bled yellow and green since I was old enough to say, “Go Ducks!”
But in any case, let’s compare and contrast these two teams for a second.
Let’s begin on defense, shall we? The Ducks delivered a shutout in their season opener in the ever-
raucous Autzen Stadium. In their second game, on the road in a stadium that seats more than 100,000
people and is one of college football’s most difficult venues, they shut out Tennessee in the second half.
This is a team that has the potential to finish in the top half of its division in the SEC, mind you. The Ducks
amassed six turnovers in those two games and gave up only 13 total points.
The Beavers got beat on a neutral field. They gave up 453 yards of offense and 30 points while only
collecting two turnovers. “But Chris,” I can hear the OSU fans cry, “our game was against a team ranked
fourth in the country! That’s not even comparable!”
Yeah, OK, the team ranked fourth in the country … that plays in the Mountain West Conference. How can
you not go undefeated every season when you have even half a decent team and you get to play Southern
Methodist and San Diego State every year? Got to watch out for Colorado State; they could spring a big
upset any year now! Sorry, let me get a mop for all the sarcasm dripping from my mouth right now.
What about offense? In case you missed it, “Beaver Believers,” if you look up “offense” in the
dictionary, Chip Kelly’s name is the first definition. The Ducks have put up 1,167 yards of offense in
their first two games. You could maybe hit those numbers in two contests if you were playing a video
game with cheat codes on. The Beavers, meanwhile, mustered only 255 yards against Texas Christian.
“But Chris,” the critics cry out again, “we’re breaking in a rookie quarterback this year! That isn’t fair to
Um, two words for you: Darron Thomas. You know, that Oregon quarterback who made his first start this
season? Yeah, he’s passed for 422 yards and four touchdowns with only one interception so far. The rookie
argument doesn’t hold water when you remember both teams are starting fresh boys under center.
Oh, and Ryan Katz, the OSU quarterback? He was last seen blowing a snap count with the game on
the line against TCU and failing to stop the football from rolling into the end zone for a safety. Whoopsie!
But all of this ignores an important, obvious issue that OSU has this year. Here’s what I’ve been building
to thus far — the reason why I think the Beavers are a sinking ship this season and why the Ducks are a
total lock to blow out the Civil War in Corvallis this year: All the teams have to do to stop OSU is to stop
Jacquizz Rodgers. The Beavers are the most one-dimensional offensive team in the Pac-10; with an
untested quarterback under the gun and not taking charge like Sean Canfield did last year, Quizz is the
workhorse. Sure, his brother James Rodgers is a boss and without question and should be first team All-
Pac 10 this year, but he has to catch passes from Katz to get those yards and scores. The Horned Frogs
smothered Quizz and the OSU running game, allowing them only 73 yards on the ground, and forced the
Beavers to beat them in the air. They didn’t.
Conversely, look at the Ducks. LaMichael James is our No. 1 back. Last season, he smashed the rookie
rushing record in the Pac-10 that Quizz set a year prior. This season, with James out for the first game, our
No. 2 back Kenjon Barner
scored five touchdowns and amassed 225 all-purpose yards. The Ducks are so stacked on offense that
our fourth-string quarterback, Daryle Hawkins, was running in touchdowns against New Mexico’s first-string
defense in the season opener. Translation: Watch out OSU. The hurt is coming, and it’s coming fast. Dec. 4
probably seems like it’s too soon already.
Prediction time! Considering Oregon’s conference schedule will present only two true tests, the first
hosting Stanford with the red-hot Andrew Luck under center, and the second on the road against USC, I’m
betting Oregon walks into Reser Stadium in December with a 10-1 or 11-0 record and will likely be ranked in
the Top 3.
OSU, which goes on the road against No. 3 Boise State, No. 24 Arizona and No. 19 Stanford and hosts
No. 18 USC, will probably be a four-or-five loss team by then. My projected final score? 48-14, Ducks. Get
your handkerchiefs and comfort food ready, Beaver fans: This one’s gonna be ugly.
Chris Forrer can be reached at email@example.com.