Friday, November 23, 2012

Not So Civil War, by Casey Mitchell

This is Casey Mitchell guest blogging for ST today. Last week's heartbreaking loss to Stanford really put a spin on the Ducks' season. We are in a very similar spot as we were last season after the USC loss, except we had a PAC 12 Championship game to fall back on last year. Now the Ducks are in need of a UCLA win over the Cardinal for a shot at the Rose Bowl. However, there is a scenario where Oregon does not want a championship game. There's a chance that Oregon can still make it to the Natty without winning their conference.
I know that USC is without Barkley, but that doesn't mean Notre Dame is just going to steamroll over the Trojans in Los Angeles. Keep in mind, SC quarterback Max Wittek was a top five recruit in his class, and he has two tremendous receivers to throw the ball to. The Irish have been having some troubles in their secondary as of late, and the Trojans have the type of firepower to exploit those weaknesses. So if USC can upset the Irish, that makes Oregon's road to Miami a little bit easier.
They would still need Florida State to beat Florida, but I don't think that will be much of a problem. Gator QB Jeff Driskel is probable to play with his ankle injury, but he is on the road against a very talented Seminole team, and the Noles should win with no issues. If both Notre Dame and Florida drop their rivalry games, all the Ducks need to do is take care of the Beavs in Corvallis, which will be no easy task.
Oregon State is looking for an At-Large bid for the BCS, and a win over the Ducks would make them very attractive to a game like the Fiesta Bowl. The Ducks are not only playing for a Rose Bowl or a possible National Championship, but they want to lock up a spot in the BCS. If Oregon doesn't want this season to be a complete bust, they need to beat the Beavers in the Civil War.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Natty Bound, by Casey Mitchell

This is Casey Mitchell guest blogging for ST today. It took some help from Johnny Football and the Aggies, but the Ducks now control their own destiny for a trip to the Natty. Before last week, many thought that if Oregon were to win out, they would have surpassed K-State in the polls anyway. But after the A&M upset over Alabama, they don't need to worry about leaping anybody. Their task becomes simple... Just win. With Game Day in town, tomorrow is by far the biggest test of the season for the Ducks. They may have more at stake, but Stanford is in control of their own fate to get to the Grand Daddy of them All, and that is plenty of incentive to win. A slight concern for the Ducks are the health status of their two Heisman hopefuls who suffered injuries against Cal. Barner and Mariota gave fans a major scare when they both left the game last week, but were able to come back in the game and make an impact. Kenjon Barner had a bit of a struggle, but was picked up big-time by Freshman QB Marcus Mariota, who threw for a career high six touchdowns and completed nearly 80% of his passes. Mariota has really proved himself over the last two weeks as an elite quarterback, and he should be given some serious consideration for a trip to New York. In my opinion, the Ducks have three players who have the potential to win the Heisman this year, and I think it will happen. I'm just not sure which of the three it will be.
The MVP for both leagues were announced yesterday, and there were no real surprises in the writer's choices. Buster Posey was the clear choice in the NL, and he beat out Ryan Braun and Yadier Molina to add an MVP to his list of hardware. Posey now has a ROY, Comeback Player of the Year, a Silver Slugger, Hank Aaron Award, 2 rings and now an MVP to put on his mantle. That is a great career for most players, but this 25 year old just finished his first full season in the big-leagues. Over in the AL, I had no idea why it was even a discussion. I mean, Miguel Cabrera won the first Triple Crown in 45 years and that alone should be able to give him MVP. Plus, the fact that he lead his team to the Playoffs is a big boost for him in the writer's eyes. Don't get me wrong, Mike Trout had the greatest rookie season ever recorded, but this honor was rightfully rewarded to Miggy. In the very near future, Trout will get his first MVP, and it won't be his only one.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Soaring, by Casey Mitchell

This is Casey Mitchell guest blogging for ST today. After last week's tough road test in Southern California, the Ducks have another crucial Pac 12 contest tomorrow in Berkeley, as the Cal Bears try to spoil Oregon's dream season. Last week, the Duck's offense looked just as explosive than ever, as Mariota and the boys dropped 62 on the Trojan defense to lead them to a perfect 9-0 record. Kenjon Barner put himself in the Heisman spotlight, rushing for a career-high 321 yards and found the end zone five times. I may be a bit bias, but Barner's season stats are second to none as far as the Heisman race goes. With three regular season games left, Barner has already rushed for nearly 1300 yards and 19 touchdowns. What makes this most impressive, is the fact that he is putting up these kind of numbers while only playing in one full game so far this season. By the way, that full game was against a preseason #1 on the road. Although the speedy Oregon offense may be better than ever, their defense will have to step their game up from last week's performance. Before the USC game, the Duck D was stellar, but the secondary didn't quite show up to the party last week. True, SC does have two spectacular wide-outs in Robert Woods and Marqise Lee receiving the ball from a talented Matt Barkley, but I don't think they should be able to put a 50 spot on the scoreboard. To our credit, we did get the stops when it mattered most. Tomorrow shouldn't be to big of a task, but Cal always plays the Ducks close, so it won't be a total cakewalk. This is just another stop on Oregon's way to another Natty.
I know we're less than two weeks into the NBA season, but there have been some pretty big story lines thus far. Let's start with the struggling Lakers. Sitting at 1-4 on the season, the Lakers haven't been looking to sharp with the new addition of Dwight Howard. Although Howard himself is playing at a high level, it just doesn't seem to mesh very well. Their lone win on the season is against the Pistons, who aren't particularly the toughest competition out there. The good thing for them, is that they have plenty of time to adjust before it is too late. Another hot topic is the new back court of the Houston Rockets. Consisting of James Harden and Jeremy Lin, the Rockets have gone from cellar dwellers to contenders overnight. Harden is leading the league in scoring, averaging over 30 PPG while Lin is back at it again averaging 7 assists and 3 steals. It looks like the west is going to be loaded this year, and it's going to be a fun season to watch.