I simply can’t believe that at 5:30pm Monday, January 10th, 2011, my Oregon Ducks – the team I’ve loved for as long as I can remember – will be playing for the National Title. It’s always been something you’d dream about and maybe sarcastically joke about, but never really considered an actual possibility.
Yes, I must say I was very hopeful back in 2007; seeing the #2 right next to “Oregon” on ESPN’s scoreboard on TV was something to behold in and of itself. But there was always that lingering doubt, that voice telling you, “No, this isn’t real. Something’s going to happen that’ll end the run altogether.” And sure enough, Dixon made a cut to avoid an Arizona defender, buckled his knee and went down. Along with it, any hopes of a BCS championship bid.
Then along came this year, 2010-11. For the most part, I wasn’t able to really keep up with the games; I worked for 10 out of the 12 games this season, only being able to watch us play New Mexico on TV and Arizona from the student section. Memories of the other games are intermingled with memories from work, which makes it, in some way, even harder to believe that we made it to the championship game. It’s like it all blurred by and then one day I see “Perfect!” as the headline of Sunday’s Register-Guard for December 5th.
This is probably one of the most exciting things I’ll ever experience in my lifetime, especially as a college student. How many classes or generations who have gone before us can say that their beloved Ducks went to the “Natty”?
But now, when our children look back at Oregon football’s history, we’ll be able to tell them the year the Ducks went all the way. We’ll get to cast LaMichael James as the running back that no one could catch and we’ll tell them that Jeff Maehl is the only Maehl-man who delivers on Saturday nights. And just as our children are climbing into bed with their little Duck jersey-jams on, we’ll tell them the story of Casey Matthews and how his hair would haunt the opposing quarterbacks the night before games. And then, when they ask us how we know all these stories, we’ll get to say, “I was there; they went undefeated while I was enrolled.”
Milk it in, folks. Savor all the moments from here until that last second ticks off the clock on Monday night. Remember all the Chip Kelly quotes, the lyrics to “Return of the Quack,” the fight song playing in the background of everyone’s mind, and the fans in Autzen stadium counting push-ups with the Duck, Puddles.
This is your school, your alma mater.
These are your high-flying Ducks who earned their feathers to fly south for the winter.
And do not blink; you might miss a Duck TD.
“2… 1… It’s official! Oregon is gonna be in the BCS Championship Game! Can you believe the magical season this has become and it’s not over!…” – Jerry Allen