Ben's Babbles: Let's (finally) play some football

September 3, 2011

After a long offseason filled with lockouts and recruiting scandals, it's finally time for some football.

No more politics, no more "recruiting services," just football. Those things aren't gone by any means, but at least actually focus on the game between the lines for awhile.

The college football season technically started Thursday with a handful of games, but it really gets ripping today with games that include a match-up between Oregon and LSU that will make or break national title game hopes.

But the best season of football started last night, with high school teams across Oregon taking the field.

It is going to be an incredibly interesting season in the Columbia River Conference.

Hood River is small and fast, much like Oregon. So is Hermiston. Pendleton is switching to a spread offense and has plenty of athletes, but the transition from a double-wing formation can be tricky. I can attest to that, having watched Hood River do the same four years ago.

The general consensus is that The Dalles Wahtonka will be the only team not competing for the conference title after losing much of its core roster from last year as well as coach Andy Codding, who built the team back up from doormat to league champion and a state playoff berth last year.

I had a chat with Billy Gates from the Hermiston Herald last week, and he picks Hermiston and Pendleton to duke it out for the league title, saying that one game will decide the league champ. I think he's partly right. I say it's one game, and it involves Hermiston, but that it will be HRV traveling to Hermiston to decide the league champ.

While HRV is battling for the championship in the second year of the Columbia River Conference, Oregon and Oregon State will be battling for the same in the new Pac-12.

Oregon is getting all of the hype heading into the season, and rightfully so. They are ranked in the top five in the country, and bring back the bulk of the offense that mystified most of the county last season.

Oregon State, meanwhile, lost Jacquizz Rodgers to the draft and will rely on quarterback Ryan Katz to carry the load.

The Beavers are flying below the radar again after a disappointing season. If memory serves, that's just the situation the Beavers like before they start slaying dragons.

In other words, watch out, Oregon; the Civil War will be interesting this year.

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