Early Rose Bowl Thoughts:
I heard a strange phenomenon today. Listening to a Wisconsin reporter discuss the game, he picked the Ducks in a close battle... and then our local experts decide to weigh in with their opinions. I would say informed opinions, but it does not seem to be, and it occurred to me why our local journalists make such statements, they are simply reactionary. Rather than begin to dissect a game in-depth, they simply look at base generalities, then jump to a conclusion. Why? Simple; because it is easier than actually doing some research.
As an example, the local journalists will tell you that the Badgers are simply going to run all over the Ducks and dominate them on the ground. Statistically speaking, that looks semi plausible. But look a little deeper for some truth. As an offense this season, Wisconsin averages gaining 43% more yards than their opponents allow per game. the Badgers gain30% more per carry than their opponents allow (opponents allow 4.1 yards per carry, Badgers averaged 5.3 yards per carry). The Ducks defense, however, holds teams to 79.8% LESS total yards and 18.6% LESS yards per carry than the opponent averaged on the season.
Looking at the reverse, the Duck offense averages gaining 97% more yards per game and 51% more yards per carry than their opponents allowed. Meanwhile, the Wisconsin defense averages holding opponents to 19% less yards and only 7.2% less yards per carry than their opponents had averaged.
This tells us that the Oregon defense has had more success at holding opponents below their average than Wisconsin and that the Ducks running game has had more success against their opponents, by comparative performance than the Badgers. Certainly this does not guarantee a win, but it shows that the Wisconsin offense, though very large, was not able to simply impose their will on teams. At the same time, their defense was not effective in holding other teams down. They were simply "treading water" against their opponents basically allowing what the other teams averaged.
When calculating it out, that means that the Duck running game is likely to average between 5.3-6.5 yards per carry and gain 236-250 total yards on the ground. The Badgers, looking at these statistics, are likely to get in the range of 4.5-4.7 yards per carry and 179-189 total yards if statistical trends hold true. That gives a better picture of the game than "their guys big, Oregon guys small, Oregon in trouble." Come on local journalists, you get PAID to write about something, try to get informed before you spew mindless drivel!
Cliff Harris Dismissed
I would be remiss if I did not mention this here. Cliff Harris is an exceptionally talented individual on the field. i do not know what transgression transpired that resulted in his outright dismissal from the program and I am not going to speculate. To do so is unfair and unnecessary. As I say with all Ducks, once a Duck always a Duck. But I will say that no one player should be above the program.
I want to wish Cliff Harris luck in all his future endeavors and I will be cheering for his success. I hope not only that he succeeds on the field, but more importantly off the field.