A bowl sponsored by a flat-screen television just begs for one team to come out in similar fashion: flat, overpriced, and showing it all in crystalline clarity. Oregon did just that last night in the Pioneer Purevision Las Vegas Bowl, losing 38-8 to a clearly furious BYU team. Mormons, despite what you might hear, are not nice: they vented a missionary's rage on the Ducks, who looked like they rolled off the bus after a single fifteen minute pregame meeting for preparation, whipping the Ducks into a smooth, even confit by halftime and snacking on the remainders for the whole of the second half.
That fifteen minute meeting must have gone something like this:
1. Hey, guys. Ugly-ass helmets. Play like you don't ever wanna wear 'em again.
2. We're gonna jerk around quarterbacks, too, because Crowton totally left his playbook at the hotel. Plays will be relayed in via text message, so keep your phone on you at all times.
3. We just found out you can't carry a cellphone on the field. Um...check with me, aight?
4. Ryan Leaf's in the building, and he's watching. Make him proud, Brady.
5. Again: ugly-ass helmets, over there. Play the way they make you feel, boys.
Bellotti needs to rekindle his late 90s magic by regrowing the mustache. Like Sampson and his locks, Bellotti's coaching strength has waned with each year since parting ways with his donut duster. (And Jeff Tedford, former Oregon OC. But enough with that--it's obviously the mustache that caused his and the Ducks' minidecline.) Oregon never defended a single crossing pattern, never strung together a single meaningful drive on offense, and looked all night like a team praying for death. Their only touchdown came on a heave and hope late in the game, which BYU--living to win--answered with a touchdown.
Credit ESPN, though: they provisioned for a blowout well. In fact, if Musberger serves any purpose in life besides hyperbole factory, it's as blowout facilitator. The second half, rendered meaningless by Oregon's vacation of will to live and the hitting of the ugly button, featured Musberger reeling through a bizarre grab bag of Vegas celebrities, outmoded highlights, and freewheeling bullshit sessions with Craig James. The Tarkanian interview was great enough, as was a surreal interview with Ryan Leaf.
The crowning killtime moment came when the second-tier blowout filler arrived: Craig James SMU highlights. Banter about tearoff jerseys rapidly devolved into this:
James: You know, those guys in the SEC would run through fifteen jerseys a game.
Davie: Well, back then, with the budgets teams had, you could do that.
Musberger: Of course, the budget down at SMU was bigger than most, right Craig?
James: (giggles) Uh, well, um...
Musberger: I mean, you guys had everything you wanted down there. Cash wasn't a problem.
James: (full-on laughing) Um...yeah, but but but....
Musberger: I mean, you were snuffling like a hungry sow at the trough of one of the most corrupt football programs ever, right? SNUF SNUF PIGGY PIGGY OINK! Right, Craig?
Sherriff Brent will get you through this blowout, sweetcakes.
Actually, Musberger did not say that last line. The rest is fairly approximate, though. Bob Davie could only sit in his camel hair jacket and watch as Musberger dared someone to put the Brent express back on the rails. Fortunately no one did; had someone actually intervened, we'd have had to pay more attention to Oregon getting Rochambeaued by a BYU team playing like blood-doped convicts on parole. And after a half and a quarter of that, we'd seen enough.