By now, everybody is [over]stuffed with Thanksgiving turkey, and it's already time for the Civil War, the last game of the regular season for both Oregon and Oregon St. The game that often, regardless of the successes or failures in earlier games, stays with players, coaches, fans, and the rest of the conference and country the longest. Even bowls often don't erase the memory and effect of the Civil War, for better or worse.
And with both teams coming off not only upset losses, but huge ones, a bad night tonight will really linger. So the stakes in the Civil War for Redemption might still be approaching being as big as what they were in the Civil War for the Roses.
Here's where we find out something about these coaching staffs, after concerning patterns became outright problems.
Oregon needs the win, because there are people who will do something about it if they don't. Oregon St. needs a decent effort, because no one is likely to do anything about it if they have one.
So I expect to see the Beavers make a game of it, at least initially, before the Ducks take control at some point.
Coach Mike Riley correctly noted the Beavers can't reinvent themselves in 3 days practice this week (and neither can anyone else), so we won't see a lot that's different from either team. Oregon St. will mostly throw the ball, and Oregon will mostly run it.
What we should see is a sense of urgency on Oregon St.'s part, and a sense of deliberateness on Oregon's part.
There's a good chance we will be seeing the last of not only Brandin Cooks, but also Marcus Mariota and De'Anthony Thomas in this state, as all are going to have business decisions to make, and that alone makes this worth watching.
But regardless of those decisions, from today's action we should also learn something about next season in both camps.
Beaver Believer's Key's To The Game:
1. Get penetration into the backfield. The Oregon offense has proved to be vulnerable over the last few weeks to linemen getting in the backfield. Even if they can't finish the play in the backfield it will at least disrupt the run, and the rest of the defense will have to make the play behind them.
2. Make the tackle on first contact. The Beavers have been exceptionally poor at tackling over the last few games, allowing extra yards when they were actually in position to make the play. That cannot happen today, if the Beavs miss one tackle it will result in big plays, as the Oregon offense excels in putting athletic players in space and letting them make one guy miss. If the Beavs can't tackle today this game will quickly get out of hand.
3. Get the ball to Cooks. In last week's travesty of a game Brandin Cooks was the only one out there who looked like he was awake for the game. Get him the ball however necessary, he has proven himself to be one of the best receivers in the country, and easily the best player for OSU. If he does not produce several big plays the Beavers will be in real trouble.
Both teams lost last week, but Oregon is still much more stable. 45-17 Ducks.
Based on recent events, and recent Civil Wars, there may not be any keys to an Oregon St. win.
Really hard to have much hope for this one, even with the Wildcats having dismantled Oregon last weekend. This team has looked absolutely awful since they played Stanford all the way down to the last play, and they had their worst showing yet against the Huskies.
The only way the Beavs win this game is if nobody told the Ducks the game's tonight, and they stay home. The problem for OSU is that even if the Ducks play as badly as they did against UA, I still don't see a Beavers victory. And I can't imagine Oregon going backwards from last week.
Beavers fans have to root for a combination of Mannion and Cooks playing well enough to keep us from getting completely embarrassed, but not so good that they leave for the draft. Oh and I guess you've gotta root for Cooks getting close to setting the Pac-12 single season receiving yards record.
I'm sure stranger things have happened than a Beavers upset, but I can't think of any right now. Hopefully it's close for a little bit and keep us entertained.
The 2013; Part 2 season is now about to conclude, and strangely we are going into a Civil War game with a bit of an underwhelming feeling of momentum for both teams. Both OSU and UO had a lot going on in Part 1 of their seasons, with OSU's offense ripping up teams and looking forward to a possible another 9 win type of season, and UO's offense ripping up the rankings and seemingly making another run at a BCS Championship game.
But over the second half of the season, both teams ran into their Stanford wall, and from there started to leak oil, which came to a head for both teams last weekend with ugly losses to Washington and Arizona.
That said, we still have a Civil War game to look towards this Friday, and one that does have some interesting questions.
For me it comes down to which offense finds enough of its former form. I think the obvious answer is that Oregon is deeper, more athletic, and has the home field advantage. I don't see with how the OSU offense has done basically nothing since the Cal game, and especially do not have any glimmer of a rushing game, that it can be the Beavers.
We have seen how it is essential to have a powerful run game, which can be almost a better defense against Oregon than any type of defense schemes. But there is no way OSU can come close to matching Stanford's or Arizona's rushing attack this Friday. So it comes down to Mannion and the passing game, and maybe just enough of a rush game to keep things honest, and keep at times ball control and field position in OSU's favor.
Can OSU find any of its offense from that first part of the season? Will that work together with a defense that bends and not breaks just enough to keep things tight for Oregon State? Will a battered OSU team truly be able to put the terrible loss last weekend, and the current streak of losses behind them to play competitive against a top-ranked Oregon team? Where is the UO's mindset this week after their loss? Will we see a more "classic" type of who-really-knows what will happen Civil War game?
I have no answers, but do have thoughts, and at this moment in time my thoughts are not very optimistic. For me personally, it came down to this: Saturday, November 23rd @ 3:45pm = "Wow, maybe the Beavs have a chance in the Civil War game this year!" Saturday, November 23rd @ 8:05pm = "Wow, the Beavs do not have any chance in the Civil War game this year...(and other various non-family friendly site thoughts)."
As such things can change fast, maybe there is some chance for optimism? Or maybe long-standing trends are not a sign for optimism? I don't know, and to be Civil War week melodramatic, it comes down to how this OSU coaching staff, players, and fanbase can rally this week. As we have seen unless one is playing Alabama, Florida State, or Ohio State, there is nothing totally given with college football, and so there is always hope...okay enough let's just get this game on!