Monday, August 31, 4:00 p.m. PT
Last year's Holiday Bowl victory against Oklahoma State capped a four-game winning streak for the Ducks, vaulting the program to a final top 10 ranking in both major college football polls. And while the win against the higher-ranked Cowboys was celebrated during the hours immediately following the game, those emotions were quickly replaced with the desire to get back on the football field and get better.
Eight months later, the 2009 Ducks finally have that opportunity, playing at No. 14/16 Boise State on the blue turf of Bronco Stadium, in front of a national television audience on ESPN, no less. Season openers are never "just another game," and this one in particular has been billed as one of the top 20 games of the entire college football season. On paper, it's hard to imagine a first game getting any better than this.
Thursday's opener will be aired live on ESPN at 7:15 p.m. Pacific Time (8:15 in Boise). The television broadcast team will be Mark Jones (play-by-play), Bob Davie and Heather Cox. Fans can watch a replay of the game on Friday at 10 p.m. and Sunday at 6 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet Northwest. Sunday's replay will be followed by the inaugural broadcast of "Oregon Football with Chip Kelly."
ESPN's normal Thursday crew (from left), Craig James, Chris Fowler and Jesse Palmer prior to last year's Holiday Bowl. (photo courtesy of Matthew Barreau)
The game has been selected as the Manning Match-Up for Week 1 by the Allstate Sugar Bowl, which sponsors the Manning Award (top QB for the entire season, including bowl performances). Both Jeremiah Masoli and Boise State redshirt sophomore Kellen Moore are on the watch list for the 2009 award. While it may seem that Masoli is the more veteran of the two based on his junior status, both players graduated from high school in 2007 and are second-year FBS starters.