Sunday, October 05, 2008

Reflections from an embarrassing loss....

We got drubbed by a far-superior USC team. Our defense is flat-out terrible. Teams have rediscovered that our "bend, but don't break" defense is a poor strategy. We try to get too cute on offense, and opposing teams make us pay. Our game day coaching is awful. With that said, our Ducks are back to being a laughing stock in college football right now.

I'm not one to always to "fire this person", but clearly, some changes are needed here. It might be time for Coach Bellotti to put his friendship with Nick Aliotti aside, and let him go. We need a defense that's going to take some chances, and not play 10 yards off of wherever the football is going.

Also, I'm really getting tired of hearing about our uniform combinations by commentators, along with things that have nothing to do with football, during the game. I like our uniforms, but maybe the time is right to go back to simple helmets (the ol' lemonheads, with the green stripe down the middle, for example) and jerseys with pre-1998 block numbers. At least, that way, the media will hopefully... hopefully talk about the Ducks' field play, rather than what's coming down the catwalk.

After thinking about who we've beaten this year, I think the best the Ducks can hope for is becoming bowl eligible, and seriously evaluating the state of the team for the 2009 season. I will say this, much to some people's chagrin, we will never excel on the national stage until we play to win... ALWAYS!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

In-state non-Comcast fans shouldn't have to pay to watch OSN on the internet

Going along with the lines of the many blogs that already have addressed this issue, I've got to say this latest move is quite uncaring. OSN will help in-state fans, especially the Medford and Bend media markets (and others without Comcast), in getting Duck games... for a hefty fee. $79.95 for an annual fee, if not paid by September 12th? Wow. It just seems unfair, and it takes advantage of fans in an already tough economy. I live in Salem, but highly prefer DirecTV over Comcast. I'd like to set my DVR to record the game, but I'm not about to pay Comcast on top of the $100/month I pay for satellite.

I actually go to the games at Autzen, but that's not the point. I wouldn't pay a dollar for the service, when it should already be on LOCAL TELEVISION for all to see, at least in the state of Oregon! To those who agree, keep complaining to the university... something has got to give.

Moving on... it's a good thing we have Utah State on Saturday. I want to see more of LaGarrette Blount, and a Duck shellacking, like last week. 56-3 is my take. To those going, have a good game! GO DUCKS!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Great photoshop of the new "Northwest Championship" T-Shirt

This is a great example of photoshop at its finest (*laugh*). GO DUCKS! (Courtesy of Off the Pond)

56 hours until kickoff... so here's some random thoughts

I only wish we didn't have to wait around all day to see the Ducks take on the Huskies. But, we'll be tailgating early on Saturday, so there is an upside to the long day.

The Beavers take on the Cardinal tonight, and I'm expecting a good game. Look for OSU to be on "upset alert", as Stanford might pull one off here.

I hope to be writing more again on this blog, but time will be a factor, as our new family business is still taking shape (and more of my time). Just not enough time as to missing any home games. I guarantee it.

Also, the Oregon Club of the Willamette Valley's website is up (I'm now on the board of directors), along with the Duck game day weather forecast by Dave Sweeney. Enjoy and GO DUCKS! Hush the Puppies!

Nate, it's time to hang it up.

If you haven't already heard from the overnight news, Oregon QB Nate Costa will now miss the entire season, after finding in surgery that there is more damage to his repaired ACL and meniscus than intially thought.

As soon as I heard a few days ago, that Costa was expected to miss 8-10 weeks of this season, I figured that there wasn't much chance of him coming back this year at all. I told a friend of mine (then) that this could be it for Nate. Now we know for sure.

Nate, I know what you're going through. I know what it's like to have this kind of injury....

That was me (in the middle) in June 2004. I had a blown out knee here, after playing in an Aussie Rules Football game, a sport I love almost as much as college football. My knee has never been the same since, even with surgery. And, after three surgeries yourself, Nate, I don't think it'll ever be the same for you either.

So I say this with a heavy heart, but Nate, the time is right for you to find something else to do in life (coaching, maybe?). I know the road to recovery will be difficult, but the rest of your life is in front of you, and you'll be a stronger person in the long run.

Good luck to you, and GO DUCKS!

Monday, October 29, 2007

As an Oregon fan, which would I rather have?

*Imagine the latter is an Oregon national championship ring (of course).

Which would I rather have... a Heisman Trophy winner, or a national championship? Bob Rickert's blog in the Oregonian talks about how Dennis Dixon hasn't had a Heisman moment yet. Frankly, we need to beat ASU, win out this year, be in the Top 2 of the BCS (so we're in the national championship game), and let Boston College's Matt Ryan take home the Heisman Trophy (or possibly, anyone else). We don't need it.

Why? Because fans around the country remember championships, not Heisman winners. Besides Charles Woodson and Reggie Bush, who has two thumbs and thinks players who win the Heisman turn out to be duds in the NFL over the last decade? This guy blogging here.

I think it's much more important for Oregon to win a championship. After getting screwed by the BCS in 2001 and 2005, our time is NOW to crash the BCS party. With College Gameday here again, if we don't start by bringing our loud fans early in the morning, and then dismantling ASU, Dixon for Heisman or national championship won't be discussed for the Ducks anymore, if we don't win Saturday.

Video highlights from the USC game (now with music!)

Featuring game highlights from the USC game. "Mighty Oregon", POD's "Boom", and Autograph's "Turn Up the Radio" are the tracks on the video.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Should the Oregon Athletic Department save the Wrestling Program?

I received this video in my YouTube inbox from Dave Nelson, a former UO Wrestling associate, campaigning to save the Oregon Wrestling program. My question is should the Duck Athletic Department keep wrestling? My initial belief is no, but he gives a compelling defense as to why the program should remain.

I dispute two things in his rebuttal, however -- the unknown of whether to use Eugene's Civic Stadium (or the construction [and costs] of a new baseball stadium), and Nike CEO Phil Knight's $100 million contribution (which will be used for the Legacy Fund, not for construction of the new basketball arena -- the Ducks are pursuing bond money for that). Other than that his statement is solid.

What is your belief? Here is our conversation, sharing each side of the argument, to help you decide:

First from Mr. Nelson:

"I'm an Oregon alumnus and sports fan from the days of Dan Fouts, Norv(al) Turner, and the Dick Harter's Kamikaze Kids. I remember Oregon baseball when it the games took place at Howe Field. I was the Duck wrestling sports information director in the mid-1970s. Recently I have become involved with the effort to save the UO's intercollegiate wrestling program, which is schedule for elimination in 2008. Please watch my video, "Ordinary Men," and subscribe to my channel. I appreciate your support."

My response:

"Thank you for the subscription invite. Always glad to see videos from fellow Ducks.

Anyway, as much as I'm sorry to see that wrestling is getting cut, a new day has dawned at the University of Oregon. Baseball and competitive cheer will be great additions to our athletic department. The unfortunate part of this whole mess is that Title IX, bottom-line revenue generation for Oregon, and other factors make cutting wrestling a difficult, but correct choice. If there is a way to keep all three sports, I would support it. But otherwise, unless someone comes up with a new suggestion, I will be throwing my support toward the new programs.

In the meantime, I will feature your video (sometime today) on my blog, Team Tailgate. Maybe there's broader support out there, than what I'm seeing. Thanks again for the invite; good luck with your campaign.

Cheers, Todd Helton (UO '94)"

His rebuttal:

"Dear Todd,

Thank you for your thoughtful response. While I cannot agree with your view that cutting wrestling was the "correct choice," I appreciate your willingness to post my video on your blog and throw the question open to a wider range of Ducks.

Competitive cheer is here for only one reason: a gender equity balancing sport which the baseball boosters were willing to fund as part of the cost of restoring their sport. It is probably the one that will cost the athletic department the least; hence its existence.

Baseball his here because Kilkenny's top priority is opening up new streams of revenue from donors. Ever since John Caine's administration cut baseball in 1981, there have been certain boosters who have refused to donate to the athletic department.

Make no mistake. Baseball will lose much more money than wrestling did, but Pat believes this will be made up by a reinvigorated donor base whose new contributions--while not specifically earmarked for baseball--will make the decision monetarily positive. We'll see.The elephant in the room is the cost of a stadium. I'm not sure Civic Stadium will be a viable long-term solution--not when competitor programs are building or remodeling modern new on-campus facilities. When Bill Byrne, a former Duck AD, was at Nebraska, the Cornhuskers contributed $12 million toward the $30 million price tag for constructing a joint-use facility with the local minor-league team and the Lincoln city government. I'm not sure that kind of expenditure is feasible in Eugne, as Knight's recent gift (addressed below) is earmarked for other things.

Baseball could become a financial disaster, which may not become apparent until well after Kilkenny's two-year contract expires and he returns to the comfort of San Diego's winters.

During Moos' last year as athletic director, the department lost approximately $3 million, primarily because of deferred compensation obligations. This is not so well known among Oregon fans. When the change of command occurred, the athletic department had only $85,000 in it's checking account--which is nothing.

Oregon desperately needs a new athletic revenue stream, of which the baseball boosters are only a small part. Moos was paid a $2 million buyout because he didn't get along with Phil Knight. When Knight's buddy Kilkenny took over, it paved the way for the $100 million donation which will serve as a down payment for the badly needed new basketball palace. Most of this gift will be consumed for that purpose.

Wrestling got caught in the perfect storm: a deceivingly precarious athletic budget, the baseball rejuvenation that exacerbated Title IX concerns, and a series of broken promises regarding its practice facility.

Several years ago Bellotti ran out of patience with athletic department foot-dragging on a promised new treatment facility. Moos "solved" the problem by taking away the wrestling room and promising Coach Kearney a new facility in the yet-to-be-constructed basketball building. Then, after Kilkenny took control, he found that he could save $6 million by eliminating the proposed new wrestling room.

I argue passionately for wrestling because it's a vital part of small-town Oregon. There are dozens of small cities across the state for which mid-winter wrestling matches are a vital part of the social fabric. Under Ron Finley, Oregon constantly had a top-20 wrestling program, despite the existence of Dale Thomas' wrestling juggernaut up the road in Corvallis. That was the point of my film, and subsequent onces that I will produce: Some 6,000 Oregon boys wrestle in high school each year with only three college wrestling programs to absorb the best prep wrestlers. Now there will be only two.

By contrast, there are at least 15 collegiate baseball programs in the state available to a high school baseball population of about 7,500.

Wrestling costs the university only $629,000 per year, and almost all of the roster is make up of Oregonians. Check out the national origin of the Duck tennis players. By comparison, is cutting wrestling good stewardship of our resources?

Thanks again for subscribing to my video stream, and I promise more in the weeks ahead. I fully understand the arguments for the projected changes; I just wish that most Duck fans knew all of the circumstance. I'll use your blog and others for this purpose.

Thanks, again, for the medium. You may post this response on your blog if you desire.

Best wishes, Dave Nelson (UO wrestling SID, 1974-75)"