There Can Be Only One — Lessons From Oregon v Florida State

You know the Big Red Car loves a good athletic contest — Texas v Oklahoma, Tar Heels v Duke. The recent Oregon [not Oregon State, Oregon] v Florida State game was such a contest.

As a startup CEO or a wannabe startup CEO or C suite person, there is much to learn from the recent contest. Read on, beloved reader, read on.

A fair match

Nothing in sports is as interesting as a fair match at the highest levels of skill. It is why sports is such a metaphor for life and business.

It is all about plans, teams, leaders and dealing with adversity.

The Oregon v Florida State was such a game.

The build up

There were to be two Heisman Trophy winners going head to head leading their teams.

There were two very different teams with two very different styles of play.

It was to be the prelude to playing for the National Championship on 12 January. It was a very big game.

The outcome

The outcome was a barbed wire enema for Florida State who had been favored going into the game. Las Vegas very rarely gets it wrong but they did this time.

The numbers put up by the Heisman Trophy quarterbacks were very similar.

The scores were very, very, very different.

The plans were equally unique.

The story

The Oregon quarterback, Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota runs an offense that is built for speed and scoring.

It is a greyhound which when let loose sprints and sprints and sprints to the finish line with a bunch of points in tow. They are the most successful “hurry up” offense in college football from the perspective or their won-loss record and their triumph over Florida State. All night long, Florida State was a few seconds late and Oregon was either eating out of their chili bowl or kissing their cheerleaders.

The really big thing was the Oregon hurry up was done flawlessly with very few procedural penalties which made it like a dagger in the throat of Florida State. Florida State apparently was playing with a pigskin that had been greased as they had a very tough time holding on to the ball.

It was a triumph of planning, leadership and execution. They were able to make the game their game. The owned Florida State.

So what, Big Red Car? So what?

As to entrepreneurs the teaching point is this — a well crafted plan, executed by a talented and well rehearsed team can defeat the bullies of the boardwalk at their own game. David whipped Goliath because he had a better plan, had identified Goliath’s weakness and executed flawlessly.

If the game had gone for another quarter, the Oregon Ducks would have scored a hundred points against one of the best teams in college football who were favored to win and who were led by a Heisman Trophy winner.

This was the American dream, the American entrepreneurial dream, reduced to its essence in four quarters of brutal engagement. The Ducks ate from the Seminoles’ chile bowl and the Florida State cheerleaders went home with the Ducks. What happened after that is best left to your imagination. Sorry.

It was a freakin’ rout and nobody had an inkling of what would happen. This is YOU, entrepreneurial genius and company builder. This can be YOU. This will be YOU. All you have to do is plan, lead, execute and repeat. Plus, you get the cheerleaders [this is not true but it adds a little spice to the story, no cheerleaders, sorry.]

So what does the Big Red Car say? The Big Red Car says — GO DUCKS!

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car. Be kind to yourself, you deserve it. Now go crush it in 2015!


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