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Top ranked college football teams all have signature identities.

Flying The Duck Flags High

Even if it’s not their year to shine, you know who they are.

Florida State has the chop. Texas has their hook ’em horns. Florida’s got the ‘gator chomp.

And Oregon is catching up.

Today, when you see someone raise their hands in front of them and touch index fingers and thumbs, you know who it is. You also know who it isn’t. It’s not THE OH 11-0 State Buckeyes no matter how badly they’d like to think it is.

Other boomer ways to spot the Duck fan?


From crushed emerald O rings to diamond Duck earrings, Duck fans know their bling.

What happened to the simple elastic bands with the alphabet beads that spelled out Oregon Ducks? They’re in the back of the jewelry box with the souvenir tickets from the last losing season.

When football stepped up, everyone stepped up.

2. INK

Oregon Duck ink is colorful, stylish, and fits in out of the way places. How many times has someone you’d never think would ink lifted a pant leg, or shirt, to show their O?

Dog lovers remember their favorite pets by the name or image needled into their skin.

Motorcycle mommas do the same with their favorite Harley-men. In a location choice between dog and dude, it’s no contest. Since dogs bond to the heart, they get the prime real estate.

Like newspaper headlines, the most important name always runs above the fold. An important factor in choosing between man and man’s best friend is a new dog won’t see the old dog’s name and feel threatened.

If Oregon rolls through a season and comes out as clean as Notre Dame did this year, then finishes by crushing their opponent in the BCS Championship Game, expect changes.

When that happens you’ll find half the state sporting the Natty Tatty on their necks and foreheads with the final score across their knuckles like a genial version of Cape Fear.


The Ducks revolutionized what it means to take the field each game. With the X’s and O’s from the last team meeting history, here comes the day-glow rainbow uniforms.

Opponents might accept losses to teams bigger, meaner, and uglier, but somehow a team making a style statement and boat racing them around the grid iron is more upsetting.

A traditional power like USC plays in uniforms with no names across the shoulders as if we ought to know who they are without a program. This year USC played like they didn’t know who they were either, so it makes sense.

A team that went through turmoil like Penn State ought to have something written across their shoulders. If not player names, then a short phrase like “Don’t Blame Us” would do it.

Notre Dame can’t put names on their shoulders because the glare from the rattle-can gold sprayed on their helmets would make them unreadable, so why bother?

Oregon does it the right way, the coordinated and accessorized way.

part 2

(published in








About David Gillaspie
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