Let me get this out of the way up front: If you are anti-Ducks, click to the next story. What you’re about to read is a braggadocious entry from a University of Oregon graduate. Because, after all, this year’s group of Oregon athletes has a lot to brag about. That’s all the athletes: Not just the ones who may have busted your brackets or worn wacky uniforms this fall.
What the University of Oregon is doing this year is unprecedented.
The Ducks have reached the Sweet Sixteen in basketball in the same season their football team won a BCS bowl game. In the history of the BCS, only nine other schools have done this. Oregon is one of three schools – along with Ohio State and Florida – to accomplish this feat twice.
The Ducks did it during the 2001-02 school year as well. Ohio State managed to accomplish this three times: 1998-99, 2009-10 and 2010-11. Florida got the job done in 1998-99 and 2006-07, when the Gators went on to win a national title in basketball.
What makes Oregon’s performance this academic year even more impressive is what the Ducks have done in other sports. Oregon already has two other national championships to its credit – one in women’s cross country and the other in women’s indoor track. The Ducks will look to go for the running trifecta this spring. If Oregon can add that third title – or one in another sport, a very reasonable possibility – it will be in a class all of its own.
During the 2010-11 season, the Buckeyes won two national titles in addition to their Sweet Sixteen and BCS appearances: One in men’s volleyball and the other in women’s synchronized swimming. Neither the Buckeyes nor Gators could ever tally more than one national championship in either of their Sweet Sixteen/BCS seasons.
To say men’s volleyball and women’s synchronized swimming aren’t as prestigious as cross country and indoor track may be true, but that’s all a matter of opinion. A matter of fact is that the other teams at Oregon this year are all shining to a degree unheard of before in Eugene: the baseball team is 19-6, ranked 12th in the country; the men’s indoor track team finished sixth in the nation and the outdoor squad is currently ranked sixth; the UO volleyball team (women’s, not men’s) made it to the NCAA championship match only to lose to Texas; the women’s outdoor track team is ranked second right now; and the softball team is ranked 10th with a 26-4 record.
There’s a lot of winning going on at the University of Oregon right now.
Perhaps none of it was more unexpected than that done by the basketball team. After winning the Pac-12 tournament, these Ducks cruised through the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament. Now they will meet the only other team still alive in this year’s tournament that also had a BCS bowl winner this winter: the Louisville Cardinals.
In both previous seasons that the Ducks have parlayed football success onto the hardwood they have reached the Elite Eight. After tonight’s game, we’ll see if they can make that trifecta happen too.
Kyle Boggs is on Twitter. Follow him at @KyleKBoggs