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Outside » Outside Features

It's Blowout Season: College football's September tradition

“This doesn’t seem safe, does it?” I asked, maybe to the bartender or maybe to the only other guy sitting at the bar.

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"This doesn't seem safe, does it?" I asked, maybe to the bartender or maybe to the only other guy sitting at the bar. Almost ten seconds of silence followed and I felt marginally stupid because when watching football in the company of other football fans, one typically doesn't strike up casual conversation by bringing into question the relative safety of the sport.

"That's a really good way to put it. This probably isn't safe," said the Oregon-sweatshirt-clad guy next to me, sipping from his pint glass as we both watched another Portland State running back have his ass plastered to the plastic too-green "grass" of Autzen Stadium by an Oregon linebacker with 85 pounds and six inches on him. Halftime was still about four minutes away yet Oregon had already amassed a 45-point lead over their in-state rival.

This, if there ever was one, was a blowout. September is blowout season in college football - when big programs pad their schedules with non-conference match-ups, sometimes involving schools with an eighth of their enrollment and a sliver of their athletic budget. These early season games carry with them a chance, albeit it miniscule, of an upset, but it can happen. Shit, James Madison beat Virginia Tech a few weeks ago. And remember when Appalachian State knocked off Michigan? Or when, last weekend, UMass also almost beat Michigan?

But these things almost never happen. Rather, oftentimes, as was the case with the U of O/PSU game, and with U of O/New Mexico match-up two weeks prior, the superior team is so superior at every position and on both sides of the ball that the underdog is paralyzed. They can't move the ball and sure as hell can't score. They're lucky if they can get a sip of Gatorade without getting sacked.

It's pure dominance. It's like goddamned 2003 all over again - "shock and awe" with plenty of photo ops. And while seeing LaMichael James (translation: The Michael James) run for more than 200 yards in the first half without breaking a sweat or wrinkling his ugly ass uniform might carry with it some inherent entertainment value, it's ugly, and, for whatever reason, makes one say ridiculous things, like "This doesn't seem safe."

Still, this will happen. You see, from this game, the mega program (in this case, the Ducks) gets a win without banging up their key players and the Portland States of the world get a hefty check mailed to their athletic department, only a fraction of which goes toward renting the excavation equipment needed to dig their starting offensive lineup out from the ground into which they'd been so deeply pounded into for the past 60 minutes.

The marquee games are coming. Like on Saturday afternoon when the Beavers travel over to play Boise State. Still, as long as there is college football, there will be the September blowouts and no, they're probably not entirely safe or entertaining or worth sticking around the bar for, but this tradition will continue and here's why: Oregon 72... New Mexico 0... .Oregon 69... Portland State 0. Looks pretty good on the sports ticker doesn't it?

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