Talking Points: When is a gimmick not a gimmick

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What's the buzz from the world of sports? Here are some items that will have people talking:

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We'll admit that we at Talking Points are a fickle bunch. Some days, we love the Oregon Ducks. Other days, when we haven't been drinking, we can't stand the Ducks, their myriad of uniform combinations, deep-pocketed booster and annoyingly smug head coach.

But even both sides of Talking Points' schizophrenic mind can agree on this: the Ducks' rise in football prominence has not been attained via a gimmick.

That's the assertion of Columbian editor Lou Brancaccio. If you want to read Lou's entire argument, see his column on page C1 of today's Columbian.

The gist of Lou's argument is Oregon's success is based on its "gimmick" of snapping the ball quickly before the opposing defense is ready. Such tactics, Lou says, may work against mediocre teams, but not against college football's best teams.

OK, first, during Chip Kelly's tenure as coach, the Ducks have gone to the Rose Bowl two of the past three years, beating Wisconsin last season. And two years ago, they played for the BCS championship, losing on a last-second field goal to Auburn. The Ducks will be heading to another BCS bowl game this season.

So when is this "gimmick" going to wear off?

Secondly, if all it took to average 50 points and 500 yards of offense a game were to snap the ball quickly on offense, everyone would be doing it ... with success. They don't.

Perhaps, it has more to do with what the Ducks do AFTER they snap the ball — spread out defenses, read their weaknesses and use speedy athletes to make big plays.

The quick snap isn't the only reason the Ducks are 11-1 this season. Oregon uses it to augment it's speed game.

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