After watching last night's pathetic performance by the Oregon Ducks, I went back to Sports Illustrated's College Football issue (the western edition of which was graced by the Ducks on the cover) to try and figure out how in the world SI had the team ranked #11 in its pre-season poll. After re-reading the article, I'm even more mystified, because there it is in black-and-white:
"...Gone from last year's 10-win squad are four starters from the [offensive] line..."
With an offense as intricate as the one which is run by Oregon, it's astonishing that anyone could think that an entirely new offensive line could be plugged in without there being some slippage. Of course, I don't think anyone could imagine an entire half of three-and-outs.
And then of course, because the game was so bad (and it's not as if Boise State played great football) I turned away early, and missed the scene that will be shown on SportsCenter for the rest of eternity: LeGarrette Blount cold-cocking Byron Hout after Hout heckled him as the players were making their way off the field. The video is linked here, in a column by John Conzano in this morning's Oregonian.
Up until last night, the Ducks had been touted as the one team that might challenge USC's supremacy in the Pac-10. They did literally nothing last night to demonstrate that they deserved that estimation, and right now - with Blount's future in doubt (it's hard to imagine he'll be back before a month) - it's easy to imagine that they will struggle simply to make the post-season.
All of a sudden, I don't feel so bad about the Bears having to visit Eugene in a few weeks.
UPDATE: Blount has been suspended for the entire season, including any potential bowl game. I was thinking this morning that I would have suspended him for six games, but I can't argue with the decision.
Now let's see what Boise State does. Coach Petersen indicated that he was not inclined to suspend Hout, which I think would be a terrible decision. I'd say that two weeks would be in order.
UPDATE II: According to AP reports, Hout will not be suspended. Terrible decision.