"David and Goliath"   Author: Nichole @

Are we bored yet? I know I'm supposed to be inspiring you all to love the
game and trust me, we will get there. First, I just need to call out the
elephant in the room and say this is a VERY boring pre-season. We might as well
admit it and move on right? I've been reading articles all over the place and
quite honestly it appears most Oregon Sports writers seem to be struggling as
well. It is what it is I guess.

So, since we all know it would likely take an outbreak of Swine Flu in
"The Mo" for the Ducks to lose (Just keepin' it real), I realized
maybe, just maybe, this might be the one time that following the other team's
story line might be more captivating. No, I'm not rooting for the Golden
Eagles, but after reading a little bit about them, I can't help but be a little
excited to watch them play at Autzen. After all, this will not only be their
first trip to Autzen, but their very first trip to play a PAC-12 Team.

1st Down- "Behind The Scenes"

The Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles are part of the small Ohio Valley
Conference. I'll explain more about conferences below, but basically what you
need to know is that although the Golden Eagles are the top team in their
conference, they do not have nearly the talent that Oregon does. I'm not trying
to be mean, it's just the truth. The smaller/lesser known conferences, for obvious
reasons, just don't generally have what it takes to recruit the coveted players
out of high school. And, they generally don't have the kind of big money
support for their programs. All that translates into teams that compete well
within their conference, but not so much with the big programs like USC,
Oregon, Alabama, etc.

With that said, we can never count out a David and Goliath story line and
this is exactly what Chip Kelly teaches his team. Every team should be a
nameless opponent. Upsets can and do happen, and the Golden Eagles will do
everything to make that happen.

Oregon matches the highest ranked opponent the Golden Eagles have ever
played and no doubt this will be the biggest stage they have ever played on.
They'll even be busting out brand
new uniforms
for their big game! (Hey, you can't hate, we'd do the same
thin-and have). And ladies, don't think the show stops at new uniforms. These
guys have some secret possible weapons. For starters, their
quarterback will only need to pass for 37 yards to pass a school record held by
a Hall of Famer. Secondly, their starting wide receiver, Da'Rick Rogers,
recently transferred (after being dismissed) from Tennessee, a much larger
school like Oregon. Translation: He may be a big thing in a small package.

The point is this: The Ducks will undoubtedly win big, but it should be fun
to see the excitement and fight from David
Tennessee Tech.

 2nd Down- "X's and O's"

With all the talk about non-conference vs. conference games, and Pac 12 vs.
SEC, I figured a quick education about conferences might be helpful. Keep in
mind this is a complicated topic but since we like to keep things basic and
girly here at gridirongirl, here's what you need to know.

College teams are part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association
(NCAA). Within the NCAA, there are different divisions are levels. Within the
divisions are conferences, ie: PAC 12, SEC (Southern Eastern Conference).
During a college football season, each team plays games against the teams in
their conference, in addition to a couple of pre-seaon games outside of their
conference. That is why you are currently seeing a lot of blow out games.
Essentially things are kind of mismatched right now, with the exception of a
few big games like Oregon has played in the past during the pre-season (last
year first game was against top ranked LSU). These pre-season games do not
count towards the conference title. For example, even if Oregon lost the past
two games and then won all of it's conference games, they could still go to the
Rose Bowl as the conference champions (provided they won the new PAC-12
championship game). To make it more complicated however, those losses would
affect their overall national (BCS) ranking. Ya dig?

3rd Down- "What to Watch"

The past couple games have been interesting in that Oregon has dominated big
in the first half, before REALLY letting up in the second half. It's hard to
say why this is happening without really knowing what the coaches are doing.
It's possible they are experimenting with different plays, etc, knowing the
lead isn't in jeopardy. Or it's possible the second string is struggling a bit.
Tomorrow, I'll be watching how the Ducks improve in the second half. I'll also
be watching how much energy and fight the Golden Eagles play with in their
biggest game of the season. They'll be pumped and it should be fun to see them
give it their all! I hope someone reminds them they are going to need more than
a sling shot- then again, I'm sure they already know.

4th Down- Q & A

September 17, 2012  09:52 PM ET

Nichole, they're not pre-season games, they are called non conference games and some of them take place later in the season as well, like Stanford at Notre Dame Oct.13 and Notre Dame at USC Nov. 24. The SEC also play many of their non conference games later in the season.

It's a disgrace when a team the caliber of Oregon schedule teams like Tennessee Tech from the fcs, the lower tier of division one football as opposed to the FBS, the upper tier of 124 teams of which the Pac-12 belongs.

By calling them pre-season games instead of clearing things up you might be adding to the confusion. Other than that, very nice blog, entertaining, good flow and a good read.

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