In honor of the Oregon Ducks appearance in the national championship game, we begin with a movie scene.
It comes from the Marx Brothers classic, “Cocoanuts,” and the scene is: “Why A Duck.”
Groucho is playing the role of an auctioneer, and has just hired Chico to work as a shill bidder for the waterfront lots Groucho hopes to sell.
Groucho pulls out a map to show Chico the location of the lots.
Groucho: “Now here’s a little peninsula, and here’s a viaduct leading over to the mainland.”
Chico: “Why a duck? Why a no chicken?”
Groucho: “Well, I don’t know, why a no chicken. I’m a stranger here myself. All I know is that is a viaduct. You try to cross over there a chicken, and you’ll find out why a duck….”
In this highly anticipated and seemingly never arriving clash, let’s see which team ducks and appears chicken, and which one crosses the bridge, covered in championship glory.
No. 1 Auburn vs. No. 2 Oregon – National Championship Game – Glendale, Arizona (ESPN, 8:30 p.m.)
The theme song should be: “Pin Ball Wizard,” by the WHO.
If these prolific offenses are in synch, and that remains a question after a 35 day layoff, the scoreboard will reflect pinball sized numbers. These teams can also score quicker than Paris Hilton, as they have combined for 43Tds in three plays or less.
On the Plains, the Sons of “Shug” Jordan, are seeking its first national championship, since Dwight D. Eisenhower occupied the Oval Office in 1957, and the Coach was one; James Ralph “Shug” Jordan.
The Auburn leader is its Mr. “All-World” QB, and Heisman Trophy winner, Cam Newton. The nation’s most efficient passer, had a better year than the traders at Goldman Sachs, in leading the country’s sixth highest scoring (42.7) eleven.
In testament to his CEO abilities, Auburn was behind in eight of its 13 games, four by double digits, including its historical 24 point comeback against Alabama.
The Goliath (6-foot-6, 250 pound) commander (28 touchdown passes – 6 interceptions) became the first player in SEC history to pass for 2000 yards and rush for 1000 in a season, ranked eleventh overall in rushing (1409 yards), and was responsible for a jaw-dropping total of; 49 touchdowns.
This generational Starman also has some quality assistants; tailbacks Michael Dyer and Onterrio McCalebb, (combined 1713 yards, 14TDs) and a trio of field stretching receivers: Darvin Adams, Terrell Zachery and Emory Blake. Taken together this group is third in the nation, successfully converting an eye-popping 53 percent of its third down opportunities.
The D, led by All-America tackle Nick Fairley, backer Josh Bynes and end Antoine Carter, stones runners, and has vastly improved since the start of the season, when it was shakier than a Charlie Sheen marriage.
In Greek Mythology, Nike is the Winged Goddess of Victory, and Oregon, also known as Phil Knight University, is hoping to fly off with its first national championship.
The Green from Eugene, the nation’s mercury-laced scoring leaders (49.3), downshift on the legs of the country’s leading rusher: All-America and Heisman third place finisher, LaMichael James (1682 yards – 21 TDs), who averages six yards a carry.
The maestro of this Kenyan challenging operation is QB Darron Thomas (28 touchdown passes – 7 interceptions), with a big assist from his Linus-blanket target Jeff Maehl, who has hauled in 12 touchdown passes.
The nations’s fourteenth stingiest D (18.4), which attacks behind All-America backer Casey Matthews and end Kenny Rowe, has garnered 20 interceptions, is a plus 13 in turnover margin, and has surrendered a miniscule total of 24 points in the fourth quarter.
This game has great intrigue, with story lines interspersed everywhere, especially Ducks Coach Chip Kelly, who five years ago, was the offensive coordinator for UNH.
With apologies to Groucho, we think Mr. Newton, continues his gravity defying play, as Auburn wins the pinball battle, and the SEC wins its fifth consecutive national championship.