A New Dynasty
The Oregon Ducks came into their Fiesta Bowl contest against Kansas State with a lot of things hovering over their squad. Would the Ducks be motivated for a game that could have been a BCS National Championship? Could Collin Klein run all over Oregon? Would this be Chip Kelly’s last game as a college football head coach?
While there were more than enough things that could have distracted the Ducks against Kansas State, they burst out to a quick lead and never looked back as they defeated the Wildcats by a score of 35-17 to win their second straight BCS bowl game.
The win places Oregon among the premiere programs in college football, a tier of football that many Oregon fans already knew the Ducks could play at.
Here is what we loved and hated from Oregon’s defining victory.
A fair send off
Unfortunately for Oregon fans this game marked the end of quite a few careers of some Ducks that have been integral for the programs rise. Kenjon Barner, Dion Jordan, Kiko Alonso, Jackson Rice and Michael Clay all played their final games and will surely be missed.
Fortunately for them, however, they finished their Oregon careers with impressive numbers that helped them secure their 46th win with the program, an unprecedented number in the history of Oregon seniors.
These players also finished their Oregon careers with impressive games. Barner ran for over 140 yards and caught a touchdown while Alonso, Jordan, and Clay were integral in stopping the threat of Klein — Clay even earned Defensive MVP of the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
Though their time in front of Oregon fans is over, these players all proved that they are more than ready to take on the next level of college football.
Things to come
On the opposite side of key players leaving the Ducks, there are more than a few players who give Oregon big hopes for the future. Players like Marcus Mariota (winner of the Offensive MVP award), De’Anthony Thomas, and Colt Lyerla will continue to be part of a dangerous Oregon program that should continue to challenge for a BCS National Championship in the years to come.
And though the players listed above may just be offensive, Oregon’s defense looks as though it will soon reach new heights as well. Terrance Mitchell, Brian Jackson, and Ifo Ekpre-Olomu will all make the Ducks’ secondary one of the most dangerous in the nation next year and should continue their production as NFL-ready players as well.
A new dynasty
The time is over for people to bicker over whether or not Oregon’s football program has ascended the ladder to become a dynasty. With their second straight BCS bowl victory (and fourth appearance in a row), the Ducks are one of college football’s best programs in the country — arguable second to only Alabama in recent years.
Though there have been many people thinking that the Ducks would just be a fad, they clearly have the pieces in place to make Oregon one of the best programs for the year to come as well.
Chip Kelly’s final call?
This game was much more than just a contest on the field between the Ducks and Kansas State. For many NFL teams and head coaches around the business, it was an opportunity to watch Chip Kelly in what could be his last game with a program that let him step into the spotlight of the football world.
Though this may bode well for his future, many Oregon fans would rather have him remain with their program for years upon years until the Ducks are able to cement themselves as one of the best in college football history. That, however, does not seem plausible as Kelly has already shown interest in moving on to the NFL.
For many Duck fans this may have been the last time to see the leader that has taken them to the highest of highs — a tough thing to think about when things are going so well.
As if the Duck faithful weren’t questioning what bowl they were in already, ESPN announcers and analysts just had to peg the Ducks as the No. 2 program immediately following their blowout of Kansas State. Well thanks, guys, the Ducks love you too.
This debate should have been had before the BCS National Championship was determined, a debate that many analysts ignored because they were too caught up with placing an SEC team back in the Natty. Had they actually looked at the numbers and compared losses, the Ducks very well could be playing next Monday against Notre Dame.
But, as everybody knows, time cannot be turned back. And I guess a second straight BCS Bowl victory over the No. 5 team in the nation isn’t too shabby at all…