Thursday, December 30, 2010

Countdown to "The Natty" - Does America Even Know Oregon Is In This Game?

To count down each day between now and the National Championship college football game (aka "The Natty") on Jan. 10, 2011 between the University of Oregon and Auburn University I will pose and attempt to answer a daily question about the match up. On Jan. 10, I'll answer the question, "who will win the game?"

I'll start out with a question that's been on my mind since viewing the media coverage of college football following the end of the regular season...

Does America even know Oregon is playing in the national championship game?

Oh, you didn't know the University of Oregon is playing the BCS college football national championship game on Jan. 10, 2011?

Well, I can't blame you. That's because the media - especially ESPN - is monolithically focused on Auburn QB Cam Newtwon and the Auburn team. They're cranked up full tilt to promote this wonderful player and the season his team had.

Between talk about the Heisman Trophy winning Newton (some of it bad by the way given off-the-field issues) and the Tigers undefeated run through the SEC - assumed (not by me) to be the best conference in college football - it's the all Auburn-all-the-time show on TV and online.

Sure, if you look hard enough, you'll see that there is this team from this place called Oregon (isn't that somewhere out there next to Kansas or maybe west of Michigan?) that somehow has a role in Auburn's ultimate fate this season. But, that's about it.

I actually think this is good for the Ducks. The media hype and attention on Newton and Auburn clearly paints Oregon as the underdog and feeds that underdog mentality among the Oregon coaches and players...motivation.

Meanwhile, even if Auburn's coaches and players are focused on the game, they cannot NOT notice the massive accolades being heaped upon them. That's gotta have an an Oregon fan, at least I hope it does. Ratchet up "the pressure" on them to deliver, make them take Oregon too lightly, etc.

We'll see.

In the meantime, you are on notice that indeed the 12-0, Pac-10 champion (two years running) Oregon Ducks are the competition for Auburn in the championship game. And, they score more points per game, amass more yards per game and statistically have a better defense. But you wouldn't know it. Now you do.

Check back tomorrow and each day between now and Jan. 10 to hear a new question about the game and my thoughts in attempting to answer.

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