For the Love of the Duck
If you’re a big time college football fan but don’t have a team you consistently root for, please allow me to make my bid for the Oregon Ducks as your team. They are a team with a rich history, consistent track record and a phenomenal fan base. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why I think the Ducks should be your team.
Autzen Stadium, Eugene, Oregon
Autzen Stadium is located in Eugene, and at capacity holds 60,000 screaming Oregon fans all donning green and yellow, and is never not sold out. The stadium absolutely rocks on game day and is dripping with school spirit. Even watching a game television you feel a part of the action from the noise pumping from the fan base.
Speaking of the fans, they’re loud, they’re proud, and they are rowdy! They love their Ducks and they show out in Eugene every week in full force to support the team. Once a fan of the Ducks, you’re a fan for life. The fans are a big part of what makes the Ducks the Ducks.
Not only do the Ducks have some of the best fans in college football, they have one of the best mascots. Hear me out here, I understand a Duck is not menacing nor intimidating, but Puddles is entertaining and heavily involved in the program. And he is a giant duck that rides a motorcycle, how cool is that? Now, his name is not actually Puddles, but he is based off of an actual love Duck that started showing up at Oregon games in the 1920’s that was named Puddles, and was then escorted to all games until the 40’s when the humane society got involved. Overall, all things considered, “The Duck” is one of the most iconic mascots in all of college football.
Phil Knight and Nike
Phil Knight is the co-founder of Nike. Phil Knight is also an Oregon alumni. Ever wondered why Oregon gets to wear so many different uniforms? This is why. But it’s more than just uniforms. Me. Knight has done so much for the football program, including donating money for renovations to the stadium among many other buildings. He also had a hand in the newly built, state-of-the-art workout facilities on campus that are the best in all of college football. Ultimately though, it’s the uniforms. No other team gets to wear so many different color combinations, Jersey combinations and different helmets for different games. Among the favorites are the pink helmets worn in October for breast cancer awareness. The Ducks have the best jerseys in college football, no questions asked.
All those reasons to be a Ducks fan and we haven’t even gotten to the players on the field yet. The Duck’s program is rich with successful players. Some have went on to have great NFL careers, some have not. But we aren’t looking at the NFL. Players like Dan Fouts, Norm Van Brocklin, Joey Harrington, Haloti Ngata, Jonathan Stewart, Jairus Byrd, Ahmad Rashad, Akili Smith and Kellen Clemens, among many others have graced this organization with a history of success. Recent history has been predicated on speed. The Chip Kelly years were insane with it. His offense ran a play on average every 6 seconds. It was high octane football that was exciting to watch. With Quarterbacks like Darron Thomas and Marcus Mariota, running backs like LaMichael James, Byron Marshall, and DeAnthony Thomas made this team a must watch every week. There is never a boring game when Oregon takes the field, and you can count on that week in and week out.
Finally, this season’s team may be the best it’s been in the last five seasons. Led by potential top pick Justin Herbert at quarterback, the high flying Ducks start the year ranked 11th. They have plenty of weapons along the offense with Jaylon Redd, Johnny Johnson III, and Daewood Davis at receiver. All three guys will beat you with speed and route running ability. At running back they trot out C.J. Verdell, who is coming off a 1,000 yard season in which he averaged 5.0 yards per carry behind quite possibly the best offensive line in college football. Speaking of that line, it returns Calvin Throckmorton, Shane Lemieux, Jake Hanson, and Dallas Warmack. The offense should put up 40 or more points a game.
On top of the offense, Mario Cristobal has done a fantastic job recruiting defensive players to give Oregon one of its best defenses in recent memory. Led by senior Troy Dye at linebacker, there is as much speed on defense as there is on offense. Freshman Kayvon Thibodeaux will lead the way along a defensive line that will get after the quarterback, and Jordon Scott returns at defensive tackle as a force against the run.
Overall the Oregon Ducks are a fun team to watch, and an excellent team to cheer for. Don’t believe me? Watch a game. I challenge you to not enjoy the Oregon Ducks as a whole. That is of course unless you’re competing against them in the PAC-12. In which case, good luck keeping up.