December 2nd, 2009 5:33 pm | by HANK STERN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Sports, Sports, Sports

Civil War: A Few Final Pregame Thoughts


Last year in the pre-Civil War run-up I wondered whether Oregon had a prayer of beating OSU in Corvallis with a Rose Bowl berth at stake for the Beavers.

Happily for me and my fellow Ducks fans, Oregon proved to have more than a prayer and won a game for the ages. But now as sports karma would have it, this year's game has even more at stake with a Rose Bowl on the line for both teams for the first time in the rivalry's 113 games.

Since I will be nowhere near work tomorrow —instead driving about this time down I-5 to my seats in Section 37— here are some things that have my stomach churning today with the Ducks in the role of home-field favorite this year:

—The prospect of Jeremiah Masoli turning the ball over (think Brady Leaf in the 2006 Civil War or Masoli against Cal in 2008). I take some comfort that a home crowd is a safety net against something like that snowballing. Autzen's plus isn't that OSU quarterback Sean Canfield gets rattled, besides a false start or two. The home field advantage is more of a defense against the home team getting routed (last year's game notwithstanding).

—Speaking of last year's game, Beavers running back Quizz Rodgers' absence was obviously huge and Rodgers' return this year freaks me out if OSU gets a lead and can stay two-dimensional on offense.

—That nagging "spidey sense" that with most experts picking the Ducks and the obvious revenge factor from last year for the Beavers, the yin and yang of sports will somehow lead to an OSU win.

But if I were just a football fan with no allegiance who has watched both teams play this year, I honestly think Oregon is better than even a surging OSU and wins this one 45-21. Meantime, my heart is pounding as the hours pass very slowly. These help fill the time, though.

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