Saturday, September 08, 2007

Big OUR House

Well, the Ducks MAY score again, but I'm guessing they'll mercifully just run the last 2 minutes off the clock and the final will be Oregon 39, Michigan 7. Two missed field goals kept U of O out of the 40's.

twice withing the last few years, the Ducks have HOSTED storied football programs (Michigan in 2003, Oklahoma) for the first time in the history of Autzen stadium, and twice Oregon won close shockers. This year was the first scheduled payback game -- Oregon went to Ann Arbor, and would have to face the Wolverines on their home turf. No squeakers, no lucky first half followed by hanging on for dear life, no winning on a bad call by the officials.

It didn't matter. The outcome was the same, and in fact, was even less in question. Michigan led once, in the first quarter, when they went up 7-3, but after that the Oregon defense started forcing turnovers and the Offense, led by a finally-matured Dennis Dixon, exploited them. This game was over at halftime.

Which is unfortunate, because there's an interesting side-rivalry that has been created in the Oregon-Michigan matchups: The battle of the crowd noise. Michigan's home stadium, nicknamed the "Big House", seats over 100,000, while Autzen Stadium, home of the Ducks, seats a little over half that. Yet even Michigan players and coaches were stunned four years ago at the crowd noise at Autzen, purported to be the loudest by decibel level of any college football stadium in America. But the Big house has a rep for noise too, and it was going to be interesting to see the contrast. The problem is, the Ducks took the Michigan crowd out of this one early, and the Big House sounded like the Public Library.

The Ducks are 2-0 now, and they're looking a lot better than people here were hoping for. Last week's win against Houston was sloppy, but today they looked sharp, and executed the Spread Offense perfectly, thinning Michigan out and then running Dixon on them. It could be a good year.

Mighty Oregon!