The I-5: Take a bow everyone
The things you need to know from the weekend in the Northwest.
Well, that was something.
And I’m not just talking about the Ducks. While Oregon’s top-10 win over UCLA dominated the headlines, it was a banner weekend across the state.
Oregon State thumped Colorado.
The Blazers beat the Lakers.
And Crystal Dunn’s winner in stoppage time rocked Providence Park and sent the Thorns to the NWSL championship game.
Take a long lunch today, Oregon. You’ve earned it.
Shane, in lieu of our typical I-5 this Monday, I felt like this was a good time to just, well, check in.
What’s the headline for you coming out of the weekend?
Shane Hoffmann: I will say, the 3-0 Blazers have caught me off guard. They’re fun. For now, we’ll take that.
But… It’s got to be the Ducks, right?
I don’t know if you read this anywhere,1 but apparently Dan Lanning’s Ducks are playing like the Chip Kelly teams of a decade ago.
I’d like to brag quickly: I told several people I ran into this week that, while I respected UCLA, I believed Oregon had a more than decent chance to win by double digits.2 Cue the national buzz. We’ll hear all week how Bo Nix is a dark horse Heisman candidate and the Ducks, after their rough start to the season, still have an outside chance at the Playoff.
Alger: There’s still teeth to Oregon’s schedule. Outside of this week in Berkeley, every game the Ducks have left is against teams with winning records. Then there’s the likelihood of facing USC/Utah in the Pac-12 title game, which would be an all-timer for storylines.
It’s pretty clear that Oregon’s past the Georgia game. As I wrote Saturday, this team is playing with a swagger that only comes along with the most special seasons around these parts. But with every win Oregon notches in the coming weeks, we’re going to find out that a lot of this country hasn’t gotten past Georgia.
How could a team that got beat that badly make the playoffs? That’s going to be obnoxious.
I got to ask: You had tickets to the game Saturday and took it in from the stands. That one probably goes down in the memory books, right?
Hoffmann: First, on the playoff implications: I get that there’s this aura around the playoffs and that, in turn, has taken away the glory of some of these bigger bowl games, but should that really be the goal at this point? To me, this team seems like it could be a really nice Rose Bowl story — think back to that 2019 Herbert team that beat Wisconsin. I don’t feel like the Ducks need to push for the playoffs. They will aim for that, of course.
I’m just not sure the defense is good enough at this point right now to give them a legitimate shot vs. the top-5 teams.
On Saturday’s game: It was an amazing atmosphere. It’s hard to know exactly where it ranks in the pantheon of Ducks games I’ve seen in person — again, you told me I had the day off — but Autzen was as packed, and as loud, as it's been in years. The entire environment throughout the morning was fantastic.