Yesterday on "Talkin Ducks" Aaron Fentress said it would be a "choke" if the Ducks didn't win the national title this year.
His reasoning was that the Ducks are dominating and winning every game, and they will be favored by three touchdowns in their games for the rest of the year.
The video appears in the story below this one. In his column on Sunday he said, "Simply put, the Ducks have no excuses not to go undefeated and win the Pac-12. Oregon should not face one close contest until the national championship and depending on the opponent, that game might not be so close. Don't worry about there being more than two undefeated teams at the end of the season. A 13-0 Oregon team will be assured of a spot in the BCS title game. This is the most exciting program in the nation and they will be assured box office against anyone."
Fentress exaggerated a little, probably for effect. The Ducks won't be favored by three touchdowns against UCLA and Stanford, and shouldn't be against the Beavers because it's a rivalry game and therefore dangerous even when the Ducks are a decidedly better team. The prospect of having to beat UCLA twice in the probable PAC-12 Championship Game is daunting also. That doesn't mean the Ducks can't do it, but it's brash to label it a certainty after six games.
"Choke" is a loaded word, and shouldn't be used as often as it is in the sports vernacular. Joey Harrington countered that if they fall short, it won't be a choke, it will be college football. In this, Harrington is right. Perfection is hard. That's why it rarely happens, and there are poignant agonizing stories of athletes who fall in the last quarter mile or slip on the ice. The Ducks of 2007 were a beautiful team to watch, but it all crumpled to the turf with Dennis Dixon in the Arizona desert. Harrington's own 2001 team got jobbed by the BCS selection committee. They also blew a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter against Stanford (that team again) in Autzen Stadium in October, a game that cost them their national championship shot. Which perhaps explains why Oregon's first Heisman Trophy finalist at quarterback is so sensitive about the choke label. He was 22-41 passing on that day, with three touchdowns and two interceptions.
Oregon lost two national championship bids in the last two seasons by a couple of field goals, but it isn't fair to label either one of them a "choke." They played an inspired opponent and made some errors. They lost one football game in a year of excellence.
The Ducks will be favored in all their remaining games, and even money or better against anyone in Pasadena should they get there. But winning all of them takes an exceptional effort and a little bit of luck. It's an elephant that has to be consumed one bite at a time.
They have the talent to do it and the opportunity. Today a panel at sportsillustrated.com forecast the national title race, and all seven of them picked Alabama and Oregon as the likely combatants. Four of the seven picked Oregon to win.
Winning seven more games without a stumble, a devastating injury or a terrible, no good, very bad day is a mathematically difficult thing to do. It's remarkable that Oregon is in a position to do so. For long-time fans who remember the days of 1-10 and Toilet Bowls and Mike Jorgensen throwing interceptions instead of describing them, it's absolutely incredible.
Winning a PAC-12 Championship and going to the Rose Bowl remain very good goals in any season. They should never be looked on as failure or a disappointment.
You'd have to be the grump of all grumps not to love or believe in this team. They have all the weapons. A dynamic quarterback. A hard-hitting and aggressive defense. Talented receivers. A veteran offensive line agile enough to get out in front of plays. A reliable running back who moves the chains. Great coaching and tremendous internal leadership. Heart. Attitude. Courage. A wondrous talent in De'Anthony Thomas, who'll return soon and make his mark on the history of the game. Young players that bring new passion and promise to what is already a remarkable team and a remarkable story.
The 2013 Ducks are the most special group in a fairy tale run of great teams at Oregon. College football can break your heart in a thousand ways, but this group will never lack effort, focus or purpose. They may lose in the hard road to greatness, but they will never choke.
Anyone who applies that label is a sophist or a buffoon.
Hey Dale. Hope all is going well with you and yours. I was up at the UW for Saturdays game. Awesome atmosphere man. Talk about a little bit of luck...there were a couple of near fumbles that immediately come to mind. One, Huff on his electric kick return, where the ball was almost like a magnet on his shoulder pad and Addison's fielded punt that actual hit the turf and stayed at his feet like a good dog, long enough for him to retrieve it. If either of those near turnovers would have actually taken place, scary at what a momentum shift that could have been. So really, in my book, the Duck's have already enjoyed a bit of luck.
Et tu, Dale? I thought I could count on you to avoid the revisionist history when talking about the 2011 season. That loss to USC did not cost us a shot at the title game, it cost us the ability to argue we got jobbed when we finished 3rd in the standings. We weren't going to jump Bama, as they were ahead of us in both human polls and the computers, and beating a USC team that the BCS didn't even recognize as a team that year (due to suspension) wasn't going to lift us at all. It would have been nice to win that one and have a second year where we could argue we got screwed out of the title game, along with 2001.
I personally don't mind Fentress. He's like Oregon's Mark May. He says things many think but are afraid of putting a voice to.
buffoon....... funny. I love CF, it's a championship game every week if you want to win it all. Choked, I agree, is a bit extreme. But isn't that what makes sports fun? Getting a bit carried away with a team, becoming too invested that it clouds our judgement, isn't limited to the average fan even prognosticators. we have come to expect a very good team out of Oregon every year but not NC every year. This year we have seen bits and pieces of teams blown all over the college landscape as the freight train known as the Oregon express is now heading downhill and picking up steam (no int's, explosion of receiving game, no D'At). What happens when D'At comes back? Now 'The freight train" is pouring on coal for 4 quarters. A very good team in UW was convincingly beatin' in every aspect of the game. This team out played stanford yet not out executed them. where do you see the next loss coming from? Yes it can happen, but do you truly believe that Oregon should lose any of the remaining schedule? I was concerned about the puppies and the trees and even the mighty river rats(until they lost to EW, pathetic). IMO, the only remaining real test is UCLA. If Oregon remains focused and not complacent then they will win what they should, the rest of the schedule undefeated going for NC. Would it be a bust if they lose a game? No! They are a great team! Lose 1 game makes you not a loser or a bust. But lose a game you should win, by 14+? Yes that would be a choke. I'm not seeing one game left on our schedule that isn't going to be hovering right around that spread if not higher. Buffoon?...... funny.
fentress is a bore and an idiot,, and those who engage him or take him seriously as in pay much attention to anything he says are just lowering themselves to his level of idiocy. He is an idiot. Doesnt mean he is a bad guy,, but nota very wise guy, thats all. We should all be careful where we focus our own minds, and what we make important and not.
I'm not worried about the Ducks giving it everything they've got. Sometimes unforeseen circumstances (Yes JQ, I used the word) can pop up and derail a valiant effort. Hopefully, fate isn't against the Ducks this year.
@Brownstone1 Two excellent examples. I'll never forget that fumble in the Rose Bowl by the Wisconsin that just stopped dead on the sideline. Luck is always an element in the game.
@stroupenator That he takes joy in saying them makes me turn the channel.
@Funduck Appreciate the comments, funduck.
@Duckbill perfect example of a major league choker in that duck kicker,,lol!!
@Duckbill If everyone played flawless, no injury football, they would only need 25 guys. Why are there 105?
@Duckbill That's not a contrarian take, it's an ignorant and moronic take. 80 players suited up for the Ducks in those games. LaMichael James fumbled inside the 10. De'Anthony Thomas missed a block. Rahsaan Vaughn dropped a pass. Michael Clay had a fumble squirt out from under his jersey. Nobody choked. They played a football game and the other team won.
Dale, I typically agree with your reasoning however, I disagree. Maldo choked! Now, had these two field goals in question been for 50+ That would be different, bit both were very makeable.
The opposite of choke.....clutch
@Dale Newton @Duckbill Sorry Dale, but Moldy choked. Not once, but twice. Whatever the actions of the other players, the team put the game in the hands (foot) of the kicker and he did not perform. He missed, Oregon lost. You can put all that other stuff in a box and shake it up, Oregon still comes up a loser because kickers are supposed to make clutch kicks. One miss and he's off the hook. Two misses, he choked.
I do not agree with the death threats and all the nonsense that followed. That's dumb. I do believe he should have hit at least 1 of 2, and I put the loss on him. 0-7 kicks made when the score is within 7. That isn't saying he's a bad kicker. It does say he choked. He cannot be trusted under pressure, and I do not trust him under pressure. If he finally makes one under pressure, I'll give him his due like I would anyone else. But not at 0-7.
Thanks,Dale, for putting into words exactly what I felt when I read that idiotic post. he's a kid playing college football giving his all every day. I'd love to see Duckbill express his view to Joey Harrington face to face. He might not have a face soon after.
@NormVanbrocklin now thats an idiotic comment!! lol!
@NormVanbrocklin Tell me how you really feel, NVB.
LexusDuck, it actually would have been an 11 point game had he missed, but your point is well taken. We needed those points to make it a 2 TD game. I thought that was a solid step in the right direction for him, and hopefully will give him more confidence going forward if we need him this season.
With that said, the Oregon secondary choked against Marqise Lee. Choke is a legitimate word when used to describe BAD PLAY against someone you SHOULD cover well, as much as it is when you SHOULD make a 42 yard field goal once out of two tries.
It isn't pathetic. It's an opinion, and if that douchebag Fentress gets one on Comcast that we have to endure two stories about on the greatest blog site ever, then I get one.
Occam's Razor is a great theory: Among competing hypotheses, the hypothesis with the fewest assumptions should be selected. Thus, If Moldy hits either field goal, Oregon wins.
@Dale Newton that's sickening that Maldonado had to go through that.....we as fans sometimes that these are KIDS that are playing a GAME!! I was at the Cal game.....dang it Dale, you made me bring up Colvin again! Anyways, after the game a drunk idiot was yelling towards Colvin calling him every name in the book, made me sick! The KID was trying to make a PLAY for his team!!! (good thing was Colvin was out of ear shot, but not the point)
The game is won by a TEAM and lost by a TEAM......no other way.
Alejandro Maldonado missed three field goals in the two games the Ducks lost in 2011 and 2012. For this he received death threats and had grown men stop him on the street to hurl insults at him. In both those games, coaches and players committed multiple errors that contributed to the losses. And the other team played very well. in 2011, USC's Marqise Lee caught 8 passes for 187 yards and a touchdown, returned 6 kicks for 134 yards. Nobody calls the Duck secondary "chokers" because they failed to stop him.
The choke label is useless. It's a team game played by 18,19, and 20 year-olds. Sometimes they lose. Just a few plays before Maldonado missed the field goal, Darron Thomas underthrew a wide-open De'Anthony Thomas down the sideline. The Ducks had a crucial false start penalty and a couple of blocks were missed. USC won a football game. Calling out players anonymously on the internet two years later is pathetic.
@Duckbill Maldo hit a big FG Sat that NOBODY is talking about. Had he missed that the crowd gets into it, they're only down 7 who knows what happens? If he misses it you can bet that Duckbill and others would hop on DSN talking about him choking. That's what bugs me is that you and others focus on the negative. You harped on MM when he's having one of the greatest seasons EVER lol but I'm passed that.
The Ducks played their worst game vs. Furd, like DN said you can say DAT choked by failing to block.(The GAME IS ON THE LINE ONCE THE CLOCK STRIKES 14:59 ...not at the very end) Mariota choked but not cutting away from the defender, Ifo choked by not making the late pick, etc etc. Clearly Maldo is NOT CAPABLE OF PRESSURE MOMENTS past 35 yards so we should not insert him into those situations. How can you say Wogan was huge when he hasn't done jacksh!t thus far except drink G2 on the sidelines? Point blank is that Furd beat us and took us out of the game. We get another shot, another chance for Maldo to shutup the haters.