Of Hamilton's many sins as AD, foremost among them for me is that he had the nerve to schedule back-to-back opponents that we have no history with. How am I suppose to relive past glories and pains when they don't exist?! Thanks a lot, Mike! Real considerate!
So, for the second straight week, that leaves me searching for alternative methods of transportation down memory lane. Last week we explored the "season opener/overmatched opponent" angle for UTM. For Oregon, I've eschewed the "hideous uniform/avian mascot" approach in favor of the "other Pac-10 teams" approach. It seems appropriate given that we've played quite a few teams from the Left Coast over the years.
Read on! Be prepared to laugh, cry, swear, throw things, sigh dramatically, or maybe even learn something as we revisit memorable moments against previous games against Pac-10 teams.
As we prepare to look back, let's start with a quick history lesson. Given that we've never faced the Ducks, which of the fearsome feline, canine, ursine, castorine,
Roman Homeric epic character, satanic, or cypress-mascotted teams have we played? A quick review of historical scores reveals the following records against current Pac-10 teams:
- UCLA: 7-6-2
- Washington State: 4-1-0
- USCw: 0-4-0
- Oregon State: 1-0-1
- Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon, Stanford, Washington: 0-0-0
So that's 30 games total - half of them against UCLA - with an overall record of 14-13-3. If nothing else, at least we will still be at .500 or better when the weekend is over. Yay mediocrity! In my memory (a.k.a. the last 20 years) we've played 6 games against UCLA, 2 against Cal, and 1 against Washington State. I have no recollection of most of those UCLA games, but I have distinct memories from the remaining games.
Let's start with 1994. I was just beginning to come into my own as a fan at the age of 8 and gain an appreciation for football. I'd been to a few games in person, watched a bunch on TV, and played an inestimable number in the hallway where I was every player on the team (the Vols always emerged victorious in this setting). I knew what was up.
I remember seeing a preview magazine for the '94 season with Jerry Colquitt on the cover that said something to the effect of, "It's his turn now." We were a top 15-ish team going into the opener at the Rose Bowl with Jerry Colquitt at the helm...I believe his reign lasted 7 plays until he went hobbling off the field with a torn ACL. That of course gave way to seeing Todd Helton, Peyton, and Branndon Stewart all play QB in the game. I don't remember how exactly it went down, but a valiant comeback effort fell short and we lost the game 25-23.
A few weeks later, we played Washington State at home on a gray, dismal day. I was in attendance that day and we squeaked by 10-9 with the only touchdown being scored on a long end around. The rest of the game must have been pretty dull because I remember spending the entire second half rolling up one of those thin, paper streamers that somebody had tossed from high in the North end zone. After spending the better part of an hour putting it back together, somehow it was not as satisfying as I had anticipated when I threw it at the end of the game...
As I said, I don't remember the '96 and '97 matchups against UCLA, which brings us to the late 2000's. I won't linger on these games as they weren't that long ago and I assume there are better stories from people who might have attended the games. Here are some brief synopses. Cal '06: Robert Meachem is better than you. Cal '07: DeSean Jackson is better than us. UCLA '08: I'd spent Labor Day weekend at a wedding in Alabama, then had to cancel a flight and flee a hurricane so my girlfriend could be in Virginia for her first day of teaching, then got a speeding ticket at mile 698 of a 700-mile drive, then had Daniel Lincoln provide the perfect ending to my day...but at least I'm not bitter. UCLA '09: InCrompetence + unimaginative play-calling = ugh.
So there ya have it...a little history and sentimentality regarding the Pac-10. I'm jealous that I can't be there in person on Saturday night to create the next chapter, but I'll have an adult beverage and do my best to affect the game from here.