Gauging the different message boards out there this morning it seems the majority of Husky fans who bother to post were rooting for Ohio State rather than Oregon in the Rose Bowl. The rule of thumb is always to root for your conference in bowl games but that type of logic seems to be thrown out the window when the Oregon Ducks are playing in an important game.
I am not an Ohio State fan and never have been always choosing to root for Michigan at the end of the season. For some reason Bo Schembechler always seemed a bit more warm and fuzzy than Woody Hayes while I was growing up. The Earl Bruce and John Cooper years pretty much sealed it for me too. I never liked either of those guys.
So with Oregon playing Ohio State yesterday I was faced with picking between two teams I really don't like. When that happens I usually switch allegiance during the game and cheer for the team that is behind. I enjoyed Oregon's rally that put them ahead in the third quarter and received equal satisfaction from tOSU's FG which put them ahead by two points soon after. At that time I felt the Ducks had figured out the Buckeye defense and were going to explode and put the game away.
It didn't work that way. The Ducks finished the season the way they started it by putting the ball into the hands of Lagarrette Blount who promptly fumbled the ball out of the end zone ending a drive which Oregon seemed certain of converting into a go ahead TD. With that fumble went all of the momentum went down the drain and the Ducks proverbial goose was cooked.
93 years and counting since Oregon has won a Rose Bowl game. If you are a Duck fan that has to hurt. As bad as Washington has been this past decade at least they have had a more recent Rose Bowl appearance that ended with a victory. The best program shoe money can buy still hasn't been rewarded with a Rose Bowl or BCS championship.
That being said the Duck relevance in the Pac 10 isn't going away soon. This bowl appearance wasn't a shot in the dark. Oregon was the best team on the West coast this year. The Ducks will start 2010 as the prohibitive favorites in the conference. They also are on the verge of bringing in the most decorated recruited class in their programs history. Oregon has been attempting to go national in their recruiting efforts for quite some time and this year that investment may just pay off.
What this all means is Washington needs to start beating Oregon the old fashioned way and that is by outperforming them in every facet of the game on and off the field. Following the example of Ohio State and forcing them into 3rd and long situations in next seasons game is a great way to start. The blueprint for beating this offense is now out there for everyone to see. Putting together the talent to execute it in future years is a goal Washington needs to achieve.