My wife and I moved to Texas more than 30 years ago to allow me to advance my career in journalism.
It worked out pretty well for us since we landed in Beaumont, where we lived for nearly 11 years before moving to Amarillo just shy of 20 years ago.
Even though we now call Texas home, I remain of Oregon, the state of my birth, land of tall trees and mountains, a rugged coastline, a major city with a glorious downtown district — and from time to time, college football teams that capture the nation’s attention.
This year, the Oregon Ducks are front and center.
They have a Heisman Trophy recipient, Marcus Mariota, calling plays as their quarterback. They have a talented corps of receivers who catch Mariota’s bullet passes, some fleet running backs who can pick ’em up and lay ’em down, a defensive front line that has emerged as one of the best in the nation and a homegrown head coach, Mark Helfrich, who is working the job of his dreams.
In a few hours, the Ducks are going to play Florida State in the Rose Bowl. The Ducks have been to the Granddaddy of Bowl Games three times since 1995. The game Thursday marks No. 4. They have a chance not only to win the game, but to advance to one more game. The Big Game. The one that determines the national champion of all of college football.
The Ducks played for the championship in 2011, losing to Auburn in a thriller.
This time, it feels a bit different. They enter the game as the favorites, although that doesn’t mean squat. As the saying might go: You play the game anyway. FSU is undefeated and has escaped its share of close scrapes this season.
And that makes me modestly — and cautiously — confident about the Ducks’ chances against the Seminoles. They’ve got a Heisman winner, too, last year’s pick Jameis Winston at QB. He’s a good one as well. They’ve got a stout defense and a freshman running back with tremendous balance.
I won’t make any predictions here. I’m not smart enough to pretend to know the ins and outs of a complicated sport.
The next big game will be against either Ohio State or Alabama, who will play later Thursday in the Sugar Bowl.
So, with that I plan to watch a little college football Thursday, starting around 4 p.m. Texas Panhandle time.
The Oregon Ducks need some love. I’m just one transplanted Oregonian sending all the love I can muster. Any additional love and good karma would be much appreciated.