I've trolled the Oregon chat boards as well as the Purdue boards...I've read articles from both sides and watched both play...I've even listened to the national sports media's take on Oregon and the Pac-10 and Purdue and the Big Ten. Most sides are in agreement, Oregon should win.
According to many pre-season pubs, the Ducks have the best and fastest defensive backfield in America...and the rest of their defense isn't far behind. Watching Chung and Co. is similar to watching the great Arizona Desert Swarm defenses of the 90s...They're very active, they hit hard and the pursue with ferocity. Offensively, the Ducks aren't as impressive to me, but the points they have put up have been eye-popping.
Purdue, conversely, has only played once and didn't particularly wow me on any side of the ball except special teams. That said, I was impressed with the once-pitiful defensive backfield of our Boilers. It's funny, three weeks ago, I thought it'd be strength v. strength as Purdue's Painter would be slinging the ball all over the field and the Ducks would be handing out slobber-knockers all day in Ross Ade. After watching Purdue's offense v. the lowly NC Bears, I'm not so sure that this receiving corps is up to speed just yet.
It's interesting to me, I've always viewed these programs as very similar. Both run high-powered offenses and generally don't have great defenses. Both have their programs' winningest coaches in charge. Both have made it a habit of going to mediocre bowls over the last 5-or-so seasons and both seem to be developmental-type programs that don't get the blue chips (generally), but instead develop players over the course of four or five years. Both also seem to flirt with national notariety about every 5 seasons or so.
So, what's going to happen when they finally meet on the field...Let's see-
Since we began looking at the schedule, I've felt this was a possible win and a huge win if it happens. It's at home, it's early... we've got a chance. If a Joe Tiller-led Boiler team is going to ever knock off a higher-ranked, team-we're-not-supposed-to-beat team again, this is it.
If they come to play and we lose a shootout or in a genuinely good game.... well, so be it. Then we got beat but gave a fight. However, if this game looks like anytime we play Michigan or against OSU at home last year, etc. Then I'm done (again). And I'll be completely on board the 7-5 train.
Boilers 34, Ducks 31
I have no such faith. Tiller no longer has the ability to get his team up for a big game. He no longer displays faith in his team. He no longer gives them the tools or the opportunity to win a game like this.
I really think Purdue will lose by at least 15.
On the opposite side of the coin though, I think they have the ability to stay with Oregon. I even think they have the ability to win. I just don't think they will. A lot of that blame goes right to Tiller for mailing it in before the game even starts.
I want to believe that there's some last doses of trickeration up Tillers sleeve. I want to see a gun slinger dropping back to pass. I want to relive the "old" days, even if it's just one more time.
Please Joe! Prove me wrong!
Ducks 38, Boilers 20
Those two guys are impassioned and on either end of the spectrum (as usual). You can call J eternally optimistic (or a homer)..on the other hand, you can call Tim a Doubting Thomas (or a flat-out pessimist)...I kind of stand right between them in this case...I'll tell you why.
Tiller-coached teams don't fare well when they score less than 30 points, historically...and I don't know if they'll score more than that Saturday. Tiller-coached teams haven't beaten a ranked opponent since '03...14 games. Tiller's record versus the Pac-10 is an OK 3-4...but a Pac-10 opponent hasn't visited Ross Ade with the exception of the awful Arizona team of '03 (under Tiller). Painter hasn't ever beaten a ranked opponent as a starter...let alone an opponent near or in the top-15.
Ole Cowboy Joe's horse left town a few years ago...and since then he seems to have hung up the revolver and replaced it with a fishing pole. Curtis Painter's numbers look fantastic on paper, until you check out his record against teams not in the MAC and not in the bottom-third of the Big Ten. Both of these guys can benefit greatly from a win...and both, honestly have little to lose as much of the media, fans-at-large and even the Purdue faithful all agree that Purdue probably won't compete, let-alone win. So the pressure should be off of our Boilers.
All week in interviews, when asked about the Ducks, Tiller has sounded like Lou Holtz in the early 90s...Saying things like, "We need to have four of their guys come play for us..." and "They have both All-World and All-Americans..." in their defensive backfield. Woe is lil' ole Purdue. Might that be a bit of Gamesmanship? Might Joe actually believe Purdue can compete with the
Ducks? His pre-season comments make me think he not only thinks Purdue can compete, but can win.
I tend to think that like J, we'll see a bit more of an impressive offensive effort this week, but it won't be enough. But, the weather might be a big equalizer as it's going to be raining most of the day...and it's been raining off and on for the last two (so there hasn't been time to mow the field, sadly). In the end, the better team and the one that believes it should win will do so...
Ducks 35, Boilers 30
As Tim said...I'm so ready to be wrong.
What you said
Only 51.6% of the BS readership thinks Oregon will win...but that's enough to make it a majority. Much like the staff here, you guys are torn, and for good reason. Tune in to ABC 3:30 Eastern, as a much bigger stage is set for our Boilers and the Ducks.
To Your Call Once More We Rally;
Alma Mater Hear Our Praise.
Where The Wabash Spreads Its Valley;
Filled With Joy Our Voices Raise.
From The Skies In Swelling Echoes
Come The Cheers That Tell The Tale
Of Your Vict'ries And Your Heros,
Hail Purdue! We Sing All Hail!
Hail, Hail To Old Purdue!
All Hail To Our Old Gold And Black!
Hail, Hail To Old Purdue!
Our Friendship May She Never Lack.
Ever Grateful, Ever True,
Thus We Raise Our Song Anew;
Of The Days We've Spent With You,
All Hail Our Own Purdue!