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Clark: Without football, Oregon fans have little to turn to in winter months



We, as Oregon sports fans, have reached an interesting point in the year.

Football season officially came to a close last week, no doubt in the best way many of us could have possibly imagined. I’d venture to guess that some, if not most, are still riding that Rose Bowl victory high. I know I am.

But now, here we are in the second week of January, staring at what’s sure to be another long, dreadful winter that lingers well past the conclusion of Spring Break. Without football games to habitually worship, and all the intriguing storylines that come with it, what’s next in the world of Oregon sports?

A rhetorical question, yes. Because the answer is, well, football.

As most of you are already well aware, the college basketball season has been slowly creeping along over the last month and a half. If you’ve been to an Oregon game this year, you’ll notice not a whole lot has really changed.

I won’t go into great detail about how underwhelming this year’s team has been considering all the preseason expectations. On multiple occasions I praised the influx of new talent that would surely lead Oregon back to contention in the Pac-12. And while the Ducks are currently sitting at .500 in conference play, the glaring inconsistencies on both sides of the ball make some games downright hard to stomach. @@http://www.goducks.com/ViewArticle.dbml?&DB_OEM_ID=500&[email protected]@

And, not to knock the Pit Crew — personally I think they do a great job — but student interest doesn’t remotely compare to that of an Oregon preseason football game against Missouri State. I can’t blame anyone for that, either. The product often times isn’t worth the effort to get over to Matthew Knight Arena.

And all of this coming from someone who has watched nearly every game from press row over the last three seasons.

Yet again, I digress.

This isn’t a call for students to come support the basketball programs. That message would surely fall upon deaf ears.

Instead, I’m right there with all of you, wondering what will fill our green and yellow fix over the next few months. Like me, I assume you’ll be fully emerged into the NBA season this winter, and hopefully everyone survives the six games in eight nights routine.

Will that be enough? It has been the last three years, so I don’t see why it wouldn’t be this time around.

The only difference now, though, is that Oregon ended the season as Rose Bowl champs, and not on the losing end of another disappointing performance to a larger-than-life quarterback.

Recently, I stumbled over a story about attendance at men’s basketball games. Published a few days after the Rose Bowl and a night or two before Oregon hoops hosted Stanford, the author pondered whether the Ducks’ postseason victory would create a noticeable increase in appetite for Oregon sports in general — specifically men’s basketball. @@http://www.registerguard.com/web/sports/27409035-41/[email protected]@

There’s routinely been higher attendance for conference basketball games in January and February, largely because students are back from break, thirsty for another opportunity to cheer on the Ducks.

Though Sunday’s contest against Cal didn’t quite match what I’d expected, there was still a solid turnout. Maybe it will keep building should Oregon come away with a pair of victories in the desert this weekend, which could push them into the upper third of the league standings. @@http://www.goducks.com/SportSelect.dbml?&DB_OEM_ID=500&SPID=235&[email protected]@ @@http://pac-12.org/SPORTS/BasketballM/[email protected]@

For now, that’s all we as Oregon fans have. We’re caught at a crossroads between the storybook ending to another great football season and the continual struggle of a likeable but unclaimed men’s basketball team.

Spring camp doesn’t start for several months (am I really already thinking about that?) so take in a game or two at Matthew Knight Arena. You might take away something interesting. If nothing else, it’s yet another reason to drink on a [email protected]@I hear that, [email protected]@


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