Oregon, usually best known for its rain and runners, has something else to recommend it: the Quack Attack. Football is the rage in the scenic but unlikely town of Eugene, where the Ducks are getting ready to go to UCLA and play for the Pac-10 Conference lead this weekend.
The Ducks (4-1, 2-0), coming off consecutive Pac-10 conference wins over Washington and Southern California, are ranked in the polls for the first time since 1970, debuting at No. 16. They travel to Pasadena Saturday tied with the No. 9 Bruins (4-1, 2-0) and a victory would mean a miracle season and put them in line for the Rose Bowl.
The Ducks haven't been to a bowl game since 1963, when they lost to Southern Methodist in the Sun Bowl. They haven't been to the Rose Bowl since 1957. But they are thinking those thoughts after beating Washington, 29-22, and USC last week, 34-27, and Coach Rich Brooks is increasingly serious-minded.
"The last two weeks at home with victories over Washington and USC are going to bring things to this team we're not used to dealing with," Brooks said. "That's attention and distraction. We've got to focus on the task at hand. We have some nice wins, but those don't mean that much."
Or, more succinctly, he said, "Four wins don't get you to a bowl game."
A true statement, judging by recent Oregon history. The Ducks were 5-6 the last two seasons, despite the quarterbacking of Atlanta Falcons first-round draft choice Chris Miller. With just 10 starters returning and only four on offense, including then-unknown but sensational redshirt freshman quarterback Bill Musgrave leading the Quack Attack, the Ducks were picked to finish around seventh in the conference.
Skeptics should keep in mind, however, that the Ducks have a tendency to upset UCLA. They have won on two of the last three trips to Pasadena, including the last one in 1984, when they beat the Bruins by 20-18 to knock them out of the Rose Bowl. It seems their philosophy is, if we can't go, nobody will.
An All-Purpose Metcalf
Eric Metcalf, the University of Texas tailback out of Arlington, Va., is proving an all-purpose threat equal to his father, former St. Louis Cardinals and Washington Redskins back Terry Metcalf.
Metcalf is seventh in the nation in all-purpose yardage, averaging 164 yards a game in rushing, returning and receiving. He is averaging 6.4 yards a carry, has caught 13 passes for 97 yards, and also averages 18 yards on kickoff returns and 12.3 yards on punt returns.
Metcalf said he picked Texas because he was looking for a school with both a contending football and track team, and adds, "It's different, for sure. Someone from Texas wouldn't understand how it's done in Washington."
Upset of the Week
The upset of the week may well be developing between unbeaten No. 12 Oklahoma State (5-0) and No. 2 Nebraska (4-0). No. 1 Oklahoma is watching the game with great interest since both rivals remain on its schedule.
Oklahoma assistant coaches took an informal poll of players earlier this week, asking the Sooners who they thought would win. Their answer was the Cowboys, who haven't beaten the Cornhuskers since 1961, but who bring the Big Eight player of the week in quarterback Mike Gundy and the nation's leading rusher in Thurman Thomas.
Couple that with the fact that Nebraska is not in the best of health. I-back Keith Jones left practice Monday with ankle problems, fullback Tyreese Knox has a sore back and Steve Taylor sat out last week with a sore shoulder. Also, left tackle Neil Smith and middle guard Lawrence Pete were charged earlier this week with misdemeanor vandalism for puncturing a tire on a police car, and Coach Tom Osborne said he is considering suspending them for a game.
Gallaudet, at 5-0 off to its best start in school history, also has a chance to equal its best season ever, dating back to the start of the program in 1893.
Gallaudet posted a 7-4 mark last season, but prior to that you have to go back to 1898 to find a previous best, when it went 9-2. That, incidentally, is the last time Gallaudet had three straight winning seasons, when Coach Charles Bely engineered seven straight from 1893 to 1899. Current coach Bob Westermann clinched a winning mark for the third straight year with the victory over Georgetown.
With six straight victories going back to last season's final game and including last weekend's 21-8 win over Georgetown, Gallaudet can set the record for most consecutive wins with one against Bridgewater this weekend . . .
Bowie State (2-3-1) will host the Jiffy Lube Classic at Memorial Stadium Nov. 14. What is it and what does it have to do with football, you ask? It's a game, hopefully an annual classic, according to Bowie State.
California (Pa.) State (2-4) will visit in the inaugural event. Why would the 10-minute auto service company want to sponsor a game between Bowie State and Cal-Pennsylvania? Because Jiffy Lube owner and founder Jim Hindman is an assistant coach for Bowie State. Organizers hope the game will become a yearly rivalry between Bowie and another local team, perhaps Morgan State, but in the meantime they will seek revolving opponents.