Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ducks Vs. My Rose Bowl Prediction

Well, it's been a couple weeks since the Ducks pulled off the victory in the 2012 Rose Bowl. Certainly I'm overjoyed with that outcome, but sadly...I'm hitting a bit of college football withdrawal.

To sooth that a bit, here are some thoughts about how my Ducks fared compared to my prediction before the game.

How did they do?

Essentially, I said that it was going to be a close one and that the thing that would probably be the difference between a UO win and a loss by the Ducks were turnovers.

Sure, Wisconsin would do what they do well, and so would the Ducks. But, my feeling was that if Oregon could limit their turnovers to one or fewer they would win.

Technically speaking, I was wrong then as the Ducks gave up the ball two times - once on an interception and another on a "scoop and score" fumble by Wisconsin.

Lucky for Oregon, when those things happened when there was plenty of time on the clock and the game very it was all game long. While hurtful, those turnovers did not sting quite as much as they might have.

Why? Well, the Duck offense was scoring regularly. That and the Ducks created Wisconsin turnovers - and crucially timely ones too. One was a diving interception by an Oregon linebacker when it looked like the Badgers were once again marching down the field to score in the second half. The second was a fumble right by the sideline by a Wisconsin wide receiver very near the end of the game. Holding a one score lead, the Ducks pounced on the ball, killed a bunch of clock with their ensuing possession - and even though they had to punt, they killed enough time that the Badgers could not go the length of the field to score. Game over. So, the turnover game worked for both teams...but the Ducks a little bit more.

Moving on from there, another issue going into the game was the conventional wisdom that no matter how fast and athletic Oregon was, a big powerful defense with a month to prepare for the Ducks would stymie them - much as Auburn and Ohio State did in the 2011 BSC Championship and 2010 Rose Bowl respectively. But, this did not materialize this time. Nope. With only a couple exceptions when they had to punt, Oregon went up and down the field on Wisconsin...just a bit more than Wisconsin's offense did against the Duck D. The myth of a month to prepare was exploded. Indeed, the explosiveness and frequency of explosion by the Oregon offense kept them in the game and minimized the turnovers.

So the Ducks won by a touchdown, 45-38. Did I predict it? Not really. I felt good about Oregon's chances, but honestly I was too nervous and wary of past bowl performances to go out on a limb. I figured if turnovers went their way they'd win.

Am I happy about the outcome? YOU BET!

More college football come August.

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