Phil Caldwell

Sports Blogging With a Grin

Archive for the ‘NCAA College Football Bowl Games’ Category

Oregon Ducks 2010 Football Team Lunch for 1991-92 Washington Huskies?

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19 Oct 1991: Defensive tackle Steve Emtman of the Washington Huskies tries to break through the line during a game against the California Bears at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, California. Washington won the game 24-17.Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Yesterday, two nimrod ESPN announcers with bad haircuts and worse suits debated whether the 2010 Oregon Ducks Football team could have beaten the best defensive team to ever walk on the field, the 1991 Washington Huskies.

Once every Husky fan across Washington picked himself off the floor after a dozen minutes of side-splitting laughter, we fans yearned for that famed team that knocked off No. 9 Nebraska and No. 7 California on their way to total college football domination in every way possible before routing No. 4 Michigan in the Rose Bowl.

These two TV twirps claimed, “it would be a close game,” because “Oregon is the best offensive powerhouse we’ve ever seen.” Quite an ironic claim, given that this is the same argument they were trying to make before the Ducks barely limped by California last month.

You remember that game right? The one where Oregon waddled past an unimpressive 5-4 Golden Bear team by a mere two points.  And that required a stutter-step miscue by California kicker Giorgio Tavecchio in the fourth quarter to erase what would have been the go-ahead field goal.

The absurdity of such a suggestion is blasphemy deserving of torture and stake-burning. The Ducks are hardly qualified to clean the jocks of Steve Entman and company, let alone last four quarters on a football field against them.

And the arrogance of these pip-squeaks! To think a newly arrived Duck team could ever compare to the storied history of the Huskies is enough to give even the most apathetic Washington fan stomach cramps, especially since the Ducks have written some of the worst football history ever known to mankind!

1782104_crop_340x234Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Let’s have a look, shall we?

Wikipedia says this about that Husky team (learned only after several hostile pop-ups by Wikimedia Executive Director Sue Gardner trying to leverage cash donations):

“The  Washington Huskies football team have won 15  Pacific-10 ConferenceChampionships, seven  Rose Bowl Titles and four National Championships. Washington’s all-time record of 653-398-50 ranks 20th in all-time winning percentage and 21st in all-time victories.

“The team also has two of the nation’s  longest winning streaks and holds the Division I-FBS unbeaten record at 63 consecutive games.”

OK, now let’s compare this to Oregon Duck history.

Hey what’s this?  I see that the Oregon Ducks began their stellar tradition of running up football scores against weaker teams back in 1910, when Chip Kelly’s great-great grandfather, Benito Kelly, ordered a hurry-up offense with a scant 108-point lead late in the fourth quarter against the University of Puget Sound to win 115-0.

Kelly claimed it wasn’t his fault because the 1910 BCS would have punished his team in the final poll.

According to cash-strapped Wikipedia, the Oregon Ducks have won six  Pacific-10 Conference Championships (counting this year’s), one single  Rose Bowl (during the first world war era) and zero National Championships. Oregon’s all-time record of 585-474-47 ranks so far down that there is no overall ranking.

258874_crop_340x234Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Ironically however, the all-yellow uniforms the Ducks wore in 2009 are rated the number one cause of all eye problems in 2010.

Suppose it’s for those reasons that Oregon and the rest of the sissy Pac-10 conference were all happy when the Huskies stumbled to 0-12 under Stanford coach Tyrone Willingham a couple years ago?  Finally revenge for the oft-slaughtered and maimed Pac-10 speed bumps.

All told and put into proper perspective, it means the 2010 version of the Oregon Ducks is like a sensitive men’s figure skating team wearing pink leotards, in comparison to the 1991 Huskies. The Ducks aren’t worthy of cleaning the ’91 Husky toilets with tooth brushes.

ESPN ran a survey a decade ago in which readers rated that particular Husky team as the third-best ever in college football, behind only the 1995 Nebraska Cornhuskers and the 1994 Penn State squad.

Most die-hard Husky homers would probably admit, however, that the early 1970’s USC teams could have given any college team fits, as well as some of the mid-century Notre Dame teams.

But the Ducks?

Well I’m sorry, but if LaMichael James tried one of his finesse tip-toe sally runs up the middle against Steve Emtman and two-time All-American Dave Hoffman, he likely would be picking his head out of the 15th row end stands mixed with chips and corn nuts.

POLL: Which team would win?

  • 1991-92 Washington Huskies

    77.0%
  • 2010-11 Oregon Ducks

    23.0%

Total votes: 761

If you remember, nobody ran up the middle against Steve Emtman and the 1991 Huskies.  Oh sure, there were those fools who tried, like Michigan’s QB Elvis Grbac in the 1992 Rose Bowl or Arizona’s George Malauulu to start the 1991 game, but few tried that more than a couple times.  None were so foolish.

Perhaps because Emtman and Hoffman were the anchors of a UW defense that allowed just 67.1 rushing yards and 9.2 points per game, both numbers among the best in NCAA history?

Emtman was just the ninth collegiate player ever to win both the Outland and Lombardi Trophies in the same year, and was the fourth-place finisher in voting for the 1991 Heisman Trophy before becoming the No. 1 overall pick in the 1992 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts.

And it wasn’t only the opposition that got under Steve Emtman’s skin. In 1991, Sports Illustrated ran a story describing how Emtman had no problem getting in the face of his teammates if they didn’t perform up to then-Husky standards, in both games and every day practices.

In fact, 76,304 Nebraska fans, who certainly had seen their share of national championship appearances in the 1980’s and 90’s, gave that same 1991 UW team a standing ovation as the Huskies exited the field following their landmark come-from-behind road win in Lincoln over the then-No. 9 ranked Cornhuskers.

The same Cornhuskers who the previous year had the nation’s number one rated offense!

258948_crop_340x234Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The 1991 Washington football team led the Pac-10 in total offense, rushing offense and scoring offense.

Even after Rose Bowl MVP Mark Brunell missed the first two-thirds of the season with a broken knee suffered during spring practices, the Huskies rolled.

And there was sensational receiver Orlando McKay, running back Beno Bryant, future NFL all-pro Lincoln Kennedy, middle guard D’Marco Farr, bruising linebacker Chico Fraley, future NFL Pro Bowl cornerback Dana Hall, Darius Turner, Mario Bailey, Donald Jones and too many other stars to mention.

It was simply a great team whose time had come, and although that team never had a shot at co-champ wuss Miami, few in Huskyville doubt what the outcome would have been.

Nor do they doubt what would happen to the 2010 Oregon Duck offense’s prowess if they faced a defense as stout as the 1991 Washington Huskies.

So Oregon, our Husky hats are off to your so-far undefeated team heading into the BCS National championship, but let’s keep things in perspective shall we?

The 1991 Husky team would be spitting out your feathers in two quarters. I’m sorry. Don’t shoot the messenger here. That’s just the way it is.

So yes ESPN, there actually is a huge difference between the 1991 Washington Huskies and the 2010 Oregon Ducks.

The Huskies were a much better team.

Oregon Football: The College World Despises Ducks Fans, but Why?

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During this time of the college football offseason when teams have long since wrapped things up, the bored faithful tend to get restless.  On Feb. 2, fans watched excitedly as new football recruits signed on with their new teams.

We all got all worked up about it; threads were humming with rhetoric and debauchery about which school was getting which recruit.

And yet, four years later, the college football recruiting rankings on Scout.com and Rivals.com rarely resemble the final BCS polls.  So how important are they?

Now this week comes news that a crazed 62-year-old Alabama fan, poisoned the tradition-packed 132-year-old oak trees on the Auburn campus known as Toomer’s Corner.

The proud fan then called a local radio show hosted by Paul Finebaum to pop off about it, identified later after police promptly arrested the nitwit, as one Harvey Almorn Updyke Jr.

Alabama folks will quickly point out that there is some doubt as to whether this guy ever attended their university in the first place. Many claim he’s an uneducated high-school drop-out who just glommed onto the program as most of the worst fans of programs do.

Nevertheless, on the radio he bragged up his despicable act, and claimed it was in retaliation for Auburn fans toilet-papering the same trees in celebration when famed Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant passed on.  Auburn fans often toilet paper these trees for celebration, as they have for some  eleven decades.

Auburn fans deny the Bryant rumor ever happened, while Alabama fans insist it did, and each fanbase is bitter because of it.  Both claim the opposing fans are the most obnoxious in America.

This is where the Pac-10 comes in.

Speaking as a UW Husky alum who has had to tolerate the adolescent habits of Oregon Duck fans for three decades, I would have to contest that last point.

Yes certainly there may be some mentally-challenged individuals in the SEC who do stupid things like this, but are the fans in that conference anywhere as raw than our pals down in the tractor-lot-infested middle of I-5 Oregon?

I think not, and apparently many other fans of Pac-10 schools agree with me.

Evidence?  On the next page is a fan poll that was presented to each school in the Pac-10 this past year, asking  who they rated as the most derelict in the league?  Guess who won?

 

 

Poll Showing How Pac-10 Fans Rate Those From Rival Schools In The Conference

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Pac-10 fans were asked point blank: Which school has the most boorish, unsophisticated and classless boobs rooting for their team? 

Not surprisingly to anyone outside of Oregon, the color-challenged Ducks won in a landslide, with 38.10 percent of across-the-board Pac-10 fan vote. It dwarfed the next-closest team, the California Golden Bears, who finished a distant second with 16.67 percent of the vote.

Nor is this the only poll.  Sports Illustrated also ran a poll with roughly the same results during the same year of 2009 (see below)

As a humble and cheerful Washington Husky fan, I wondered why?  Why do most in the Pac-10 think the Ducks are a bit light in the brain department when it comes to what they say and how they act towards other fans at football and basketball games?

Oh sure there are the numerous reader comments that have littered my own articles for years, with Oregon fans screaming profanities and threatening my family.  I’ve always assumed those were the nutty exceptions. But after seeing this poll, now I’m not so certain.

Surely the rest of the Duck faithful cannot be as vocally deficient as those commenting on my articles?  Or could they?

Then as I researched the topic for this article, I began to learn I may be giving Oregon Duck fans way too much credit. I could hardly believe what I was finding, and there’s so much of it!

The following is the tip of the iceberg. Attached are eight exposés of quotes from others about why they can’t stand the Oregon Duck athletic program and their fans.

I wrote very little of this material.  Instead, I merely pulled up quotes off of fan forums and various articles from web sites, and am re-posted them without edits for us all to enjoy.

Turns out the team that is desperate to be accepted that they go to extremes in dressing themselves, like donning fluorescent knee socks against Auburn last month, and wearing dozens of goofy $600 designer helmets, is vivaciously disliked by a great many.

Here are some of the reasons!

 

Link to Sports Illustrated poll:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/football/ncaa/specials/fansurvey/2009/pac10.html

 

 

8. Mar. 18, 2004: Storming the Court after 1st-Round Victory in NIT Tourney

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I’m not sure why this particular basketball game got so many people riled up, but there was a first-round game back in 2004 in the NIT basketball tournament between Oregon and Colorado.

Long before Oregon had accomplished much in football, Duck fans apparently stormed the court after the game and were mouthing off about their huge victory.  In the NIT tourney that doesn’t exactly garner the eyes of multitudes.

While a great many are still laughing about it seven years later, for others, that single act was a felonious display of low class that still has not been forgiven. Especially by new Pac-12 member Colorado Buffalo fans, who are still whining and whimpering.

Check out these comments from some who witnessed this spectacle:

“The one tournament no one cares about.  What’s so significant about a first round NIT victory?  Boy, these Oregon fans have to be among the WORST in the country.  Storming the court after a victory over Colorado?  Pathetic. Oregon fans SUCK!”

Or this one:

“You have shown yourself to be just another bitter Buffalo fan. If you don’t like the fact the Duck students come out on to the court after games fine. Don’t watch us. Of course that will severely limit the amount of Duck basketball games you will be watching for the rest of this season because this is what we do at Oregon.”

If that bugged Colorado fans, you may be near suicidal after a few seasons showing up in Eugene for various sporting events!

What’s interesting about that fan comment is the claim this is an Oregon tradition. I don’t remember them doing this after losing to UW time and again.

But whatever. No big deal, right? Fans upset over losing a tourney? So what. Oregon fans did what most college fans periodically do. How is that so bad?

Keep reading.

 

 

7. Mouthing Off about Too Few Accomplishments

BOISE, ID - SEPTEMBER 3: Safety T.J Ward #2 of the Oregon Ducks  tackles tight end Kyle Efaw #80 of the Boise State Broncos in the second quarter of the game on September 3, 2009 at Bronco Stadium in Boise, Idaho. Boise State won the game 19-8. (Photo by
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Even though Auburn won the championship game last month, apparently some of the Tigers faithful were downright ticked off at Oregon fans and their antics during the buildup.

Many scorching fan comments absolutely ripped Oregon fans for whatever it was they were doing.  But none so effectively as Bleacher Report’s own Kevin Strickland, who shared a number of observations about the Duck fans in a rather humorous way.  Allow me to quote him:

“To the decrepit Oregon fan at the sidewalk café who kept trying to trip Auburn patrons with his cane?  People saw you. You and a flock of others like you are the reason many Auburn fans left Arizona determined to cheer for Beavers, Trees, Huskies and Bruins against your team in the future.”

“People like you are why many of us will put aside our regional differences and support a Bayou beatdown when LSU travels to Uncle Phil’s Camp for Day Glo Children to open next season. 

Here’s a hint to Oregon fans.  When your team has a signature win under its belt (and we’re not talking just this season, we’re talking historically); when your team isn’t staring at a 2-7 bowl record over the last nine seasons with the only wins coming in the Holiday Bowl and Sun Bowl; when you’ve beaten a handful of top 25 teams in the same season, then maybe you can run non-stop smack. Until then, perhaps you could tone it down a little.”

Now what is amazing about Strickland’s observations, is how quickly Auburn fans picked up the same vibe that the rest of us have complained about for decades, when it comes to our feathered friends from down south.

Strickland, obviously still hacked off, then went on to add:

“To the Oregon fans who tried to explain the great fan atmosphere at Oregon games, were you aware you were cooking on a Foreman Grill?  In the south, gameday grills are the size of your Prius.  Burgers aren’t made of carrots and beans.  Animals have to die in order to make a real burger.

“To the Oregon fans who boasted about consecutive sellouts of their home games, do you know what you call 55,000 people at an SEC stadium?  A spring game.”

Meanwhile when it comes to Oregon fans, so ok, so they do uncool things while on the road.  We all knew that. What about general sportsmanship while teams compete?  Next slide please …..

 

6. Cheering When Players From Opponents Suffer Serious Injuries

BERKELEY, CA - NOVEMBER 13:  Brock Mansion #10 of the California Golden Bears in action against the Oregon Ducks at California Memorial Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Berkeley, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

As Oregon played the California Golden Bears this past year in football, the Bears used a rather interesting tactic for defense to slow down the huddle-less Ducks offense.

When they were caught in a defensive scheme with the wrong personnel on the field, suddenly a Cal player, usually a defensive lineman, would fall without warning to the ground in an act of pain that would have made the Hollywood Screen Actors Guild proud.

Well Oregon fans were so ticked off about this that were urping up their dinners and throwing empty “Mickies’s Big Mouth” bottles at anything that moved.  Perhaps infuriated because their 15-13 win over California hardly justified claims they’d been making the previous week, about the Ducks having “the best offense in college football history.”

The rest of the Pac-10 would have still been rolling our eyes over that one, but then that bare squeeker win made it particularly delicious!

Well Oregon papers were hacked off! The Oregonian’s John Hunt wrote, “He confirms what we were showing you an Saturday night, that the California Gold Bears faked injuries!!” 

Hunt, an obvious Duck devotee, went on to write, “A source within the Bears football program confirmed that this was indeed ‘a big part’ of the defensive game plan, although not all Cal coaches were on board with this strategy.”

(All of this was from “unidentified sources.”)

And then to really drive the anger point home, he added, “Tedford deserves to have someone back-stab him like this. While faking injuries may not be illegal it certainly is classless.  No wonder why Tedford can’t win a big game. 

“It also sends a message to your players that they are not good enough to beat Oregon.  With that little trust in your players, it’s no wonder why Tedford can’t win a big game.  At least he’s at Cal where he can just call out his freshman backup quarterback or his kicker every time he loses a big game.”

But it wasn’t the only time Oregon was insecure about this topic.  Following the Arizona game were comments like this flowing from fan forums:

“Yah you would be booing too when a team actually admitted to faking injuries.  Not saying Arizona did but it was kind of fishy when those 3 players who were injured came back in a few plays later perfectly fine. 

It always seemed when the Ducks offense was gaining rhythm too.  Anyway I just find it funny that you guys are so mad that Oregon just won’t lose so you find anything you can to bash them.  Your favorite team has “those” fans too and you know it.”

Ah yes, consoling words by those lovable folks at Oregon, if not a bit hypocritical.  Said someone else about Oregon:

“Yes every team has ‘those fans,’ but the entire stadium chants profanity and cheers when opponent players get injured at Autzen…and if you think that’s normal behavior anywhere else in the nation you’re delusional.”

5. Jan. 2008: Racist Profanities Hurled During Arizona-Oregon Basketball Game

EUGENE, OR - MARCH 8:  Nic Wise #13 of the Arizona Wildcats lays up the ball agianst Maarty Leunen #10 of the Oregon Ducks at MacArthur Court March 8, 2008 in Eugene, Oregon.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Wrote John Wilner on Jan. 30, 2008, in the Bay Area College Hotline:

“No longtime Pac-10 watchers—at least nobody I know—was the slightest bit surprised about the way some Oregon students treated UCLA freshman Kevin Love last weekend.

“They held offensive signs and showered Love with insults, some of them reportedly homophobic, that went far beyond ‘it’s part of the game’ classification.

“This was hardly the first time the students have behaved like jack—–.  It’s not all of them; it’s probably only a few; but it has happened repeatedly over the years.  As one Oregon official said: “It’s an ongoing thing to get our students to behave properly.”

“In the mid-90s, fans sitting close to the court yelled the “N-word” at Arizona guard Damon Stoudamire.  (I was there, I heard it, Stoudamire heard it, he talked about it, and I wrote about it.)

“A few years later, several UCLA players complained about the same six-letter word.

“It seems the nasty faction of Duck students saves their nastiest stuff for Oregon natives (Stoudamire is from Portland, Love from Lake Oswego). Maybe they’re upset the players did not sign with the Ducks.

“Anyhow, Oregon athletic director Pat Kilkenny apologized to UCLA and left messages for Bruins Coach Ben Howland and for Love’s father, Stan, who played for Oregon.

“A nice and proper gesture, for sure. But it won’t stop the abusive fan (ie: student) behavior in Eugene, which, like I said, has been going on for years and years.”

4. Jan. 13, 2006: Phil Knight Cutting Off Track Funds

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Nor does is tend to be confined to only one sport.  This from ESPN’s Mike Fish on Jan. 13, 2006, who suggested that Phil Knight might be the best owner in college sports:

“Here’s a tip: If you’re cashing paychecks from the University of Oregon, treat Phil Knight with unabashed love; even genuflect at his Nikes if the occasion calls for it.

“Just don’t tick him off or, heaven forbid, fall shy of grandiose designs for his beloved alma mater—lest you might end up following Martin Smith down Interstate 5.

“Suspiciously, the longtime track coach resigned a day before the Ducks’ season-opening meet this past March, leaving with three years on his contract.

“The $500,000 buyout he reportedly walked away with makes it sound more like a firing. If so, his testy relationship with the Nike co-founder didn’t help.

“Nor did the almost sacrilegious idea that Smith, a prickly character who refused to seek input from Knight or former Oregon distance running star Alberto Salazar, delivered a successful program around a core of hurdlers, jumpers and throwers—not seasoned distance runners like those who’d given legs to Oregon’s storied track tradition and birthed a sneaker giant.

“So, in the showdown leading up to the coach’s exit and eventual shuffle to the University of Oklahoma, Knight cut off his financial support to the track squad. The identical don’t-cross-me tactic Knight deployed after president Dave Frohnmayer earlier aligned the university with the Worker Rights Consortium, a group critical of Nike’s labor practices.

“‘The bonds of trust,’ Knight said, ‘have been shredded.’ Eventually, the university reversed course and Knight turned the financial tap back on.

“‘That was the worst moment, by far,’ recalls Frohnmayer, still apologizing for the decision he made five years ago. ‘It was terrible for him.’

Some of us had the misfortune of watching Mr Knight spend a half-hour patting himself on the back when the new Oregon arena opened.  Others have written that Knight was instrumental in the last football coach firing, and routinely dicates game decisions in football games.

The truth?  Who knows.  But clearly this is a relationship unlike any other in college football!

 

3. Comments Made to Opposing Fans after an Oregon Duck Victory

EUGENE, OR - OCTOBER 31: Quarterback Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans throws a pass in the second quarter of the game against the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium on October 31, 2009 in Eugene, Oregon. Oregon defeated USC 47-20. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Gett
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

How about if I just let a website called “The Displaced Trojan” do the talking on this topic, although Lord knows we Husky fans know what this guy is saying first hand.  Here’s what he said:

“The Ducks football team has enjoyed some success at the national level recently, they’ve got the best owner in college sports, they train in state-of-the-art facilities, they wear the worst uniforms of all time…but they will always play second fiddle to USC.

“We know it.  They know it.  And this leads to hate.

“I know this because I’ve experienced this hate in person.  Back in 1999, I was at a USC game in Eugene, Oregon, when we lost in triple overtime after Carson Palmer broke his collarbone just before halftime.

“After the game, instead of exchanging pleasantries—like most fans with class and an appreciation for an exciting game, nearly every Oregon fan we came across heading out of the stadium (and there were a lot of them) had something ugly to say. 

“‘Go home you f””kin loser!’ or ‘I bet it feels like sh*t to be wearing that USC jacket about now, huh.’ 

“I’ll spare you the various versions of ‘USC Sucks!’ and the sophomoric condom lines, but needless to say there wasn’t a lot of class and sportsmanship in Eugene that night.  I’m sure there are a few Duck fans who may justifiably take exception to this, but in my experience, Oregon has the most vulgar, low-rent fans in the Pac-10…And that’s saying something with Cal in the conference.”

 

2. Testimony from Actual Fans

EUGENE, OR - NOVEMBER 6: Wide receiver Josh Huff #4 of the Oregon Ducks jumps into the crowd during the team introductions before the game against the Washington Huskies at Autzen Stadium on November 6, 2010 in Eugene, Oregon. The Ducks won the game 53-16
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Is it only sports writers that feel this way?  Or is it the general public?  Three stories from fansabout their experience:

“I was about 13 years old and I was with my dad at a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe. Awesome tournament, I’m getting autographs from Jon Elway, Mike Eruzione, Charles Barkley, Jason Kidd, Ray Allen, Chris Webber, Mike Schmit, Jerry Rice.

“It’s a dream come true for a kid that loves collecting sports cards.  So we’re walking around watching some of the golfers and we come across Rick Neuheisel, then the University of Washington head football coach.  Rick was teeing off.

“Now my dad was a huuuuge Ducks fan, thus having a big influence on me and the school I would eventually choose, and he collected every football poster since 1991 until 2005 where I have picked up the tradition. 

“So while us Ducks are routinely included in the ‘Worst Fans In The Pac-10′ discussion, my dad and I quietly wait while Neuheisel tees off between the 15 or so people watching his foursome.  Neuheisel swings and everyone but my dad and I golf claps.

“Who knows why but my dad turns to this elderly guy next to him and quietly says, ‘I’m an Oregon Duck fan and I’ve always thought this guy (Neuheisel) was an a**hole.’

“The guy turns to my dad, pauses, and says bitterly, ‘Oh ya?  Well I’m his dad and I think you’re an a**hole!’

“Ackward to the fullest.  Neuheisel ended up being a nice guy and actually apologizing personally to my dad at a big dinner later, but even despite all of this I’m still a big hater of his.”


Not like this was necessarily unique however.  Here’s another fan story:

“My wife and friends and I travel to at least one away game per year, but we have decided to stop going to Eugene.  The people there really are different than at any other venue.  They wear their rudeness on their sleeves like a badge of honor, and will cuss you out (and challenge you to a brawl), not caring if there are kids around or anything.

“Meanwhile, if you go to Pullman, Tempe, Palo Alto, etc, strangers will invite you into their tailgate parties for a beer and treat you like on of their own.”

And said another fan:

“I grew up in WA and live in Oregon now, and I have to say the Duck fans are the worst I’ve encountered…friends in the marching bands of OSU, Stanford, and UW have all mentioned appalling treatment by duck fans in Eugene (things getting thrown at them, getting cursed at, having to take security measures walking around Eugene, etc).  While I do have friends who are diehard Ducks fans, by and large their fan base is just obnoxious.”

 

1. Lastly, What Ducks Fans Have Written to Me

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And lastly, let me just share my own experience here on Bleacher Report.  In an article I wrote about uniform expenses and the potential advantages for recruiting that alumni money can have on a program, here’s what I was hearing from Oregon fans in response.

And keep in mind, this is only one of about 50 or more similar comments, and the guy writing this tripe was not a young guy.  His photo (before he mysteriously pulled it) showed a guy in his late 50’s/early 60’s!

One Randal Fitzhugh, apparently a diehard Oregon fan, was miffed that I would dare write about his beloved Ducks or suggest the whole thing with Phil Knight was getting a bit weird.  Here’s what he wrote:

“Your writing is totally despicable and you’re an obnoxious whiner and let’s see what else…a pretentious ass.  Your claims are blatantly self serving.  You pretend you’re bringing some value to the sports world with your commentary, but you get off on your little power trip…?  Man, you are so pathetic words can’t describe the level of petty, spiteful thoughts that must go through your head to write the articles you’ve written.  Using BR to vent your pettiness is also disingenuous to the readers, which (IMO) shows your obvious lack of moral character.” 

Not that I am alone in this guy’s wrath.  Here’s what he wrote on someone elses Bleacher Report article:

“Why not title your article ‘Fu*k Everyone Who Ever Thought a Bad Thought About Auburn?’ It’s not other writers, Alabama fans, Duck fans, sports analysts, etc. who denigrate Auburn…it’s hacks like you who prove that Auburn has fans who are poor winners and that sportsmanship certainly isn’t in your repertoire…what a paranoid, pathetic article…and your team won?”

Nice happy people, aren’t they?

So, as I said in the forward for this piece, I didn’t really have to write much on this one.  In fact I wrote very little of this, and rather just gathered and re-posted the tons of bits and pieces from other fan forums, about Oregon Duck fans.  There’s is so much of it out there.  This is just a mere sliver of the mountain of venom coming from Ducksville.

If I was a Duck fan, I might start doing some inward examination before launching accusations toward everyone else! And rather than write scating comments towards authors who point it out,  I might ponder why everyone else sees my own program the same way!

 

Written by PhilCaldwell

November 26, 2011 at 11:16 am

Washington Husky Fans Shouldn’t Be Disappointed Over Loss to Oregon Ducks

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Relax Husky fans!  Before you go jumping off the nearest bridge, think about how far this program has come in three short years!

Last year the Ducks put up 53 points to the paltry 16 the Huskies could manage.  A mere year later the Huskies could have, and probably should have, won the last game ever played at beloved Husky Stadium before the big renovation.

Had Keith Price not generously donated the ball to undeserving Duck cornerbacks, not once but twice, the Huskies could have left the field at halftime enjoying a two touchdown lead instead suffering the same at the hands of Oregon, bequeathed 14 easy points by driving a total of half a football field.

Washington completely out-played and out-classed Oregon in the first half, amassing 11 first downs to Oregon’s 6, with twice as many offensive plays.  What the stats could not show was a far more hungry squad of Husky upstarts, jacked up by the presence of the eyes of the undefeated national champ team of two decades earlier.

But in spite of the play inequity, the total yards were nearly equal.  Precisely the problem when playing the high-energy Ducks, especially when they donned the old Oakland Raider uniforms with the only school color being an out-of-place green “O” on silver helmets.

In the third quarter Oregon did what Oregon always seems to do.  They came out on the opening drive with quick sideline strikes of 15 to 20 yards using both sidelines, stretching the defense and setting it up for what would come next.  By the time the harried and panting Huskies caught their breath,  Kenjon Barner and LaMichael James were suddenly shooting up the center of the field with five straight healthy gains,  ended only by a nice juicy TD on 12 plays that consumed barely two and half minutes.

What had been a game the Huskies should have been winning, was suddenly 24-10 with a potential blowout looming.

But the Huskies didn’t pout.  They came screaming right back up the field with their own quick 9 play drive, to answer with their own impressive touchdown.  Keith Price threw a lofter on the left side of the end zone to five-star recruit Kaysen-Williams, for a Husky TD to bring it back to 24-17.

Williams, the all-world freshman recruited heavily by every team on the planet only last year, made the prettiest catch of the night and perhaps in his brief Husky career, stretching high to snag the pass with his big toes barely skimming the surface before they hit the sidelines.

Chris Polk was no slouch either, running up the middle from the shotgun formation on four straight draws with healthy gains on all but one.  Oregon suddenly looked like deer’s in headlights, with zero defensive answers, especially when the suddenly resurgent sold out Husky crowd of over 72,000 were going nuts and creating noise mayhem.

All week long there had been festivities and hoopala for what would be the last game ever played at Husky Stadium, where past greats had dwelled on Saturday afternoons since 1920.  In fact a full team of Husky greats were in the stands, intimidating both teams with the same glaring eyes that had mutilated every single opponent on the way to a national championship two decades prior.

Back when the current Dawgs were still urping up Mommy’s milk in their high chairs, these middle-aged guys with paunches and thinning hair had been wreaking havoc across the land, scoffing at east coast insistence that the also undefeated Miami Hurricanes would have had any chance of staying with them on the field.  But they never got the chance to prove it, since this was long before the BCS system of placing undefeated teams in bowl games.

And yet back to the future, the Huskies were having a hard time understanding how the Ducks could have a 17-3 lead early in the second quarter, given how silly UW was making them look.  But this is what the Ducks do to opponents, lead when they’re being dominated.

Keith Price missing receivers by sailing passes 10 yard over their heads did not help.  Passes with open receivers that looked to be sure touchdowns, ended up going the other way twice in the first half, and Price ran for his life in the onslaught of much quicker Duck defensive lineman.

Following the first Price debacle, Oregon needed just three plays to take the lead, starting from the Washington 38, which ended when LaMichael James scampered up the left side 18 yards for a disturbingly easy touchdown.

A quarter later it only took four plays starting at the UW 34, after Price duplicated his first quarter error in exactly the same way, lofting the ball high over the head of a bedaffled Jerome Kearse and into the hands of a by-himself Eddie Pleasant standing on Duck 17 yard line, which he promptly returned 49 yards.

Oregon didn’t need many offensive plays to lead by 14, but when the Huskies kept hanging around it was clear this game would have little similarity to the seven straight 20+ point blowouts that preceded it.

On the six plays where Price took what should have been normal time throwing the ball deep, patiently waiting for his receivers to run their routes, he was sacked badly.  A dozen other plays had Price rushing to throw the ball, which didn’t allow for feet to be set long enough for a stable foundation.  Hence the ball sailed high into wide open Ducks.

When Oregon started their drive from their own 30 yard line with 8:34 left in the third quarter, it was do or die time for the Huskies.  Trailing by only seven, if they didn’t stop Oregon on this drive the game would be lost for good.

They didn’t.

Oregon’s rickety quarterback Darron Thomas drilled David Paulso for 34 yards across the middle on the third play from scrimmage, and followed it with another to Josh Huff for 19 more yards.   Two running plays later it was 31-17, and Husky fans were muttering in their frigid seats at the old dilapidated stadium.  It was over.  UW knew it and the hated Ducks knew it, especially when the next Washington drive stalled at mid-field with a confused and ugly 4th and 4.

Oregon had the ball and a big lead with only 3:40 left in the third quarter.  But when a wide-open Daryle Hawkins dropped his third pass of the night at the five yard line, Oregon was forced to kick a field goal, which was certainly no gimmie considering how bad Duck kicker Alejandro Maldonado was.  In fact 35 yards was his limit, and he barely managed to sneak it over to cross bar to give the Ducks a 34-17 lead with a buck 49 left in the third.

Things really got hopeless when little-used Husky Michael Hartvigson was stripped by Terrance Mitchell at the Husky 32 yard line in just two plays, but were bailed out by a couple of knucklehead Duck penalties, and an ugly pathetic miss by Maldonado from 46 yards, short and off-line to the right.

Still, by now Oregon had slowed down the offense, and were burning large chunks of time by running the clock down to the bare bones with each play.  Sometimes Oregon would walk to the line and return to the huddle several times, just to drive everyone crazy with the trickery and confusion.

Never-used sophomore Nick Montana woke up the crowd with an impressive 53 yard strike to Kasen Williams down the right sideline to the Duck 27, but when a wide open Kevin Smith dropped a nice easy pass that hit him in the numbers as he stood alone in the end zone, the Husky faithful could tell it was not their night.

But it was the best game played against Oregon in a very long time, and if nothing else, the Ducks went away feeling a bit fortunate to have won so easily.  It certainly wasn’t because they played well.  The Ducks easily could have lost this game had the Huskies not been so sloppy and charitable, and by the time things wound down, Oregon could tell that this would be the last easy game for years to come.

The Huskies are still thin in only their third season since being terrible, have kept even with Oregon and the rest of the league with recruiting, and suddenly look like a team to be reckoned with starting in 2012.  Especially since another set of Sark recruits will come rolling into town.

And with the NCAA sniffing the crotches of devious Duck activity all winter long, how long can this go on?

Oregon’s core are still only juniors, but stars such as Darron Thomas and LaMichael James are likely to bolt for greener pastures in the NFL, hence the chances of this Duck bunch staying together after this year is looking grim.

So while clueless Oregon fans were mouthing off on their way to the parking lot tonight, failing to appreciate that all streaks eventually end, the rest of the Husky faithful are recognizing this game for what it was.  The Husky program is back and getting better each year.  We know it.  The Ducks know it even if they won’t admit it, and by this time next year the rest of the country will know it.

And with NCAA sanctions drifting in like eerily gray November clouds, this same Oregon squad will likely be moping come this time twelve months hence.  The mini era of the Ducks dominating the Dawgs has likely seen it’s last chapter, as the men of Montlake return to their 1991 roots and tradition!

Washington Huskies Mutilate Utah Utes in Pac-12 Pickfest

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Who says karma is only for balding hippies wearing bed sheets and hanging around city parks?Following a relaxing bye week with summer-like weather enticing a sea of Utah Ute fans donned in red,  this first-ever Pac12 game at Rice-Eccles Stadium (where?) would be Utah’s chance to snap a dreaded six game losing streak to the hated Dawgs of Seattle after waiting since 1979 for the opportunity.And yet on the opening kickoff, the newcomers did their impression of a Bishop Sankey kickoff reception in Nebraska.

The Ute’s Ryan Lankey coughed up the ball with only seconds gone to start the game, after Husky Garret Gilliland drilled him and shook the ball loose, which wandered and squiggled right into the arms of a streaking Jamaal Kearse, who graciously raced the gift 10 yards without breaking his stride for a quick UW touchdown.

That, as it turned out, would actually be a highlight for the newly-come-hither Utah Utes of Salt Lake City.

Especially when Husky defensive end Josh Shirley, starting in his first-ever collegiate game, raced around the line and splattered Utah starting QB Jordan Wynn for a six yard loss in their first snap from scrimmage.  Followed by another stinker up the middle for a one yard loss.

A pass completion later it was fourth down and a punt and an ugly three-and-out for the Utah Utes in their sorta-cool packed out stadium, with houses peeking over the far end zone and sun shining brilliantly.  Fans across the Root Sports network were getting their first look at Uteville.

It shone more brilliantly for Dawg fans when the Huskies got their opening drive and quickly stampeded downfield on two pass completions and four Chris Polk runs, before finally running out of gas on a failed 4th-and-1 at Utah’s 32.

Polk appeared to stumble over his own feet, and by the time he recovered, momentum had suddenly shifted to the home squad, who took over at midfield.

Starting at their own 32, Wynn threw a surprise sideline bomber to Ute wide receiver pal Devonte Christopher, who made a spectacular catch and 68 yard touchdown romp before it was ruled he stepped out of bounds back on the Husky 32.  But by just a hair.

Not to worry, because Wynn tossed a drifter to Dres Anderson in the end zone several plays later to knot the score at 7-7.

And after the Huskies suddenly looked lethargic and frat-party tired in route to a three-and-out, seven plays later Utah failed on their own 4th-and-6 after marching downfield to the Husky 37.

But alas, bad things continued to happen to good people, when a snappy low pass from Keith Price skipped off the fingertips of 5-Star recruit Husky freshman Seferian-Jenkins, and into the lap of the Ute’s JJ William at the Utah 34.

Suddenly, what looked to be a 14-0 Husky lead, was dangerously close to morphing into a 14-7 deficit, especially when John White nailed back-to-back 6 yard scampers to the Utah 40 to end the first quarter, and followed with eight straight successful plays which was finally snuffed when Sean Parker picked off a Jordan Wynn pass at the 4-yard line.

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Three plays and a first down later from deep in goalpost shadows, things nearly turned Cornhusker bad when Chris Polk, running for his life, fumbled on his own 6-yard line but managed to pounce on it.

A Keil punt later combined with a brain-dead kick receiver penalty, and Utah was in business starting at the Husky 40-yard line.  Desmond Trufant, who was being picked on for some reason, aided the drive with a mutilation of Dres Anderson in the red zone.

But on the very next play, Trufant both forced and recovered a Ute fumble on the 6-yard line.  A clear momentum-changer for the Huskies, since what easily could have been a 21-7 Utah lead was still tied 7-7 after two critical Ute turnovers deep in the red zone.

The Huskies kept the ball the remainder of the half, helped by two knucklehead Ute 15 yard personal fouls, and finally finished the half with a 44 yard Erik Folk field goal and an undeserved 10-7 lead at the last two ticks of the first half.

At halftime, things would take a dramatic turn in Washington’s favor.

After an opening touchdown drive making it 17-7 Huskies, Utah went three-and-out, but pined the Huskies deep in the red zone again when Kayson Williams unwisely attempted to return the kick and was dog-piled at his own 6-yard line.

Chris Polk took over, with runs of 10 and 12 yards, finally ending at midfield after blowing a 3rd-and-1 when Price heaved a wayward desperation pass on a busted play action.  Fans across the nation wondered why that play had been run, when Chris Polk was running like a mad man and chewing up both time and yardage at will.

But when Utah finally got the ball back with seven minutes left in the third quarter, Gregory Ducre picked off Utah’s replacement QB John Hays’ first pass with a brilliant over-the-top sideline pick.

And with Kieth Price imitating wooden-legged pirates due to his on-going knee-gone-bad, he drilled a bullet barely past the fingertips of Utah’s Brian Blechen for a game-dominating 24-7 lead, when Kearse scampered the remaining 23 yards for a UW TD.

It was now 24-7 with seven minutes left in the third quarter, and the game was effectively over.

And when the Huskies opened the fourth quarter with a 14 play touchdown drive that consumed almost eight minutes, what had been a Utah-dominated game was suddenly a Husky laugher.

Polk rushed for 143 yards on 17 carries in the second half alone, as the Huskies piled on 24 unanswered points since the field goal ending the first half.

The Ute’s backup quarterback, a transfer from the defunct Nebraska-Omaha program, did his best, including a nifty suicide hurdle into Cort Dennison for a desperation first down.

But with Chris Polk gaining strength as the Utah defense grew more winded with each drive, there was little they could do.  Especially when Kieth Price kept nailing time-consuming short passes that finally ended with the Huskies up 31-7 with 9:17 left in the game.

For Husky fans still wheezing from the stench of the Kieth Gilberson recruiting classes, it was a welcome sight to see the Huskies finally back doing what Husky teams do.  Dominate in the third quarter and draining the clock in the fourth for the kill.

Utah would manage to score again with seven seconds left in the game, but by that time the vast majority of Ute fans had been sipping beverages and drinking away the pain of it all, in their favorite sports bars for an hour.

It was a surprising win for a suddenly powerful-looking 4-1 Husky Dawg squad, and with the hapless Colorado Buffaloes coming off another loss against WSU this afternoon, Washington fans haven’t been this happy in over five years!

Written by PhilCaldwell

October 2, 2011 at 8:57 am

Washington Huskies Gut Out Tough Win against California in Déjà Vu Game

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SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 24:  Chris Polk #1 of the Washington Huskies breaks a tackle to score a touchdown for a 14-7 score against the California Golden Bears during the first quarter at Husky Stadium on September 24, 2011 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Harry How/Getty Images

When California’s Zach Maynard hit a wide-open Keenan Allen for a 90-yard pass-touchdown three plays into the opening California Golden Bear’s drive in the UW Pac-12 opener, a collective gasp from the purple-clad 60,437 about blew down the decrepit and soon-to-be razed south stands at Husky Stadium.

It was an unlikely strike too, because Allen was so wide open on blown coverage that the stunned multitudes apparently had little to say. Other than creative angry chants about defensive coordinator Nick Holt, which embarrassed the crack Root announcing duo.

Craig Boilerjack and Joel Klatt, still marveling at the hundreds of small boats lazily swaying several hundred yards away on the glistening waters of Lake Washington, wondered aloud how long fans were gong to tolerate coverage that bad; somewhat a Husky tradition of late.

The Dawgs had managed to reach midfield after receiving the opening kick, but were forced to punt six plays later, and Will Hahan’s high kick pinned California back on their own 9-yard line.  But after Isi Sofele ripped out an 11 yard gain to the 20, Cal briefly had breathing room until Zach Maynard coughed up the ball on his own 11.

UW came right back three plays later with a Keith Price to senior Devin Aguilar for a quick 44 yards to the California 20,  followed by Price to all-world freshman Austin Seferian-Jenkins for a game-tying touchdown with just over five minutes burned.

Suddenly, the game felt eerily like the week prior vs. Nebraska, with very little defense giving way to two squads with potent offenses.

But when Cal went three-and-out and drilled UW’s Kasen Williams milliseconds after catching the ball on the ensuing punt, it became evident that college football had returned to the traditional receiving rules so prominently known until a week prior.

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No call, Huskies with the ball.

Eight plays and 65 yards later, it was 14-7 UW.

California came roaring back down the field but settled for a Giorgil Tavecchio 29-yard field goal to make it 14-10, and UW quickly answered with their own sustained drive of 78 yards, finished by another Seferian-Jenkins TD to make it 21-10 with 8:51 left in the half. Cal again drove the length of the field but again settled for a 36-yard field goal trailing 21-13 with just over five minutes left in the half.

Again, the game was feeling disturbingly similar to the prior week in Nebraska, especially when Husky QB Price got chopped from behind by Cecil Whiteside while carelessly carrying the ball single-handedly on a scamper to his own 33.

Price had been doing that all game long and had narrowly managed to avoid the same on several earlier plays.  This time luck ran out. California’s Mychal Kendricks promptly fell on it, transforming what could have been a game-dominating UW drive into a hair-puller.

California tried to take advantage of the momentum swing with a quick line-drive pass down the right side, but Desmond Trufant made a brilliant defensive play at the goal line to knock the ball away.

Two plays later a wide-open Keenan Allen dropped a ball that most grandmothers could have caught,  but made up for it on a duplicate follow-up play on a risky 4th-and-4.  This time Allen took it to the UW 20.

Three plays later, CJ Anderson punched in a one-yard dive to make it 21-20, and when UW’s Erik Folk kicked a half-ending 52-yard field goal only 51 yards, the Huskies left the field up only a single point up.

Coaches grumbled to sideline reporters about missed opportunities and squandered defensive coverages.

Sark was still cranky about his defensive play following the half, and about ripped off sideline reporter Petro Pedackus’ head when he asked about it, in spite of his snazzy black suit that looked like it belonged in a wedding party.

California nearly gave the game back to the Huskies with nine minutes left in the third,  when the ball squirted out of Cal Maynard’s hand at UW’s 12-yard line and straight up the air for no apparent reason.  Once the dog pile had been cleared, the Golden Bears miraculously retained possession.

Cal had to again settle for a field goal, but with a 23-21 lead in game where they easily could have been suffering a blow out, they had to be feeling giddy knowing they had put up 13 straight points at exactly the time they needed it.

The Huskies followed with their own 13-play drive and a 25-yard field goal. The drive included a lovely 4th-and-1 pitch to Jermaine Kearse to the left side, but when Porter was flagged for a 15-yard chop-block penalty, the Huskies had to settle for a three-pointer too,

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24-23 with five minutes left in the quarter.  Again, what could have been a game-changer was handed away by knuckleheadedness.

When California finished the third quarter with a punt, the ultimate outcome of the game would be determined with the next Husky drive.

It started with a nifty pass to Austin Seferian-Jenkins down the right sidelines to the 40-yard line, but was called back by a painful holding call.  UW was forced to deal with a 1st and 20 from their own 5-yard line instead of a 1st and 10 from the 35.

Chris Polk ran a nothing play up the middle to make it 2nd and 18, but Washington was suddenly bailed out when Cal’s Aron Tipoti was flagged for roughing the passer.  It gave UW an unexpected 1st-and-10 at their own 32.

Two plays later California broke through for an ugly sack of Keith Price.  But Price followed up with a high-lofter to Chris Polk over the middle for a touchdown, and the game suddenly swung back in the Huskies’ favor.

Polk had managed to sneak out of the backfield undetected while both defensive backs collapsed to cover Sefarian-Jenkins cutting across ten yards deep of the line.  Polk easily caught the ball and lazily jogged into the end zone, thereby potentially sealing the deal.

UW enjoyed a 31-23 lead with just over 12 minutes left.  And when California went three-and-out on their next drive, things were looking bleak for Bay Area’s Golden Bears.

But UW, not prone to making things easy on themselves, promptly coughed up the ball again on the Cal 37, when Austin Seferian-Jenkins was stripped of the ball after being stood up, following a nice catch and scamper to the Cal 44.

California had the ball again in great field position, trailing by only eight points.  But again matching the Huskies in sloppy play, Zach Maynard barely managed to fall on his fumble (his third of the game that was recovered by his own guys), leaving them with a 3rd-and-17.

Two plays later on a 4th-and-3, UW’s Cort Dennison knocked the ball loose from Cal’s Savai’i Eselu.  Just over six minutes were left in the game and the Huskies could end it right here with a long sustained drive.

But the Huskies quickly went three-and-out, and California had yet another chance to get back in the game.

Keeping the ball for 15 plays as the Huskies used two safeties to keep from getting burned long, the “bend not break” defense barely managed to keep California out of the end zone.  Finally, when Cort Dennison and Evan Zeger stopped the Golden Bears’ Isi Sofele for a one-yard loss with just over 37 seconds left in the game, it allowed for one final desperation play amidst a sea of worried Husky fans.  Another win that could turn to a heartbreaking loss.

Cal QB Zach Maynard tried to loft a sneaker high to WR Keenan Allen, but the ball sailed hopelessly out of bounds to the left side and fell harmlessly to the turf.  One play later, the game was over, and Husky fans felt very fortunate to escape after blowing countless opportunities to put this game to rest.

Final score 31-23.  California’s perfect start was ruined, while the beloved Huskies are off to their best start in six years after winning seven of their last eight games.

Nevertheless defensive coach Nick Holt and head coach Steve Sarkisian were clearly both cranky following the game.

A win yes, but a win that should have been nailed down a quarter earlier when the Huskies had the ball and an eight point lead with six minutes left.  It should have been easier.

***

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Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners Need Not Apply for Membership in the Pac12

Pac12 Expansion: Forget Texas! Four Teams That Should Be on the Radar

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AUSTIN, TX - SEPTEMBER 10:  The Texas Longhorns mascot Bevo XIV attends the NCAA game against the BYU Cougars on September 10, 2011 at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas.  Texas defeated BYU 17-16. (Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Imag

Erich Schlegal/Getty Images

With all the talk this week of the Pac-12 Conference adding schools in Texas and Oklahoma, count me as one college football traditionalist that hates the idea.

Not so much the idea of expanded conferences and 16 team divisions. That could work, and could be fun. It’s this idea of expanding the Pac-12 into states and regions that have nothing to do with the tradition of the west and it’s on-going insecurity of being snubbed by the east.  It’s what fuels the passion for many of our teams!

Having the name “Pac” in the title suggests west, as in Pacific Ocean, but Oklahoma and Texas suggest “flat dust storms, lots of cows, and too many tornado’s!”  Not exactly tourist attractions that would motivate fans from out west to visiting games.

For Texas and Oklahoma fans on the other hand, it would mean finally something to live for.  Something to yearn about as you sit sizzling in triple digit heat during the dog days of summer waiting for football.  The prospect of visiting cities where sun glasses don’t melt off your face.

Pristine with snow-capped mountains!  The Pacific Northwest with it’s water, Utah for it’s skiing, and Southern California with it’s warm climates and white sand beaches.

Texas and Oklahoma?  Nobody goes to Texas and Oklahoma, we go through Texas and Oklahoma, as fast as we can in most cases!

Nope, the new conference should be based on localized tradition.  It’s what sets college football apart from the professional leagues. Natural rivalries work best when they are from similar regions!

Four teams that could help improve all of this in the Pac-12, instead of stretching it to areas of the country that are far removed from the west!

***

Boise State

BOISE, ID - NOVEMBER 19:  Kellen Moore #11 of the Boise State Broncos throws a long pass over Anthony Williams #91 of the Fresno State Bulldogs at Bronco Stadium on November 19, 2010 in Boise, Idaho.  (Photo by Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images)
Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images

They have that putrid blue field that they just love so very much there in Boise. The rest of us, not so much.

Entire flocks of Canadian Geese have dropped dead from the sky after flying over it.  A fluorescent bluish hue that induces headaches and extreme dehydrating diarrhea to most fans, especially when viewed on television for several hours.

But there is hope.  It could be changed back to normal field grass green for the right deal.

Well membership in the Pac12 is the right deal!

Boise State is constantly on the outside looking in come the end of the season.  No matter how many games they win in a row, when it’s all over the pundits doubt their strength of schedule.  Pac12 membership would change all of that.

Even with their uniforms rivaling Oregon in terms of cornea-searing designs, membership in the Pac12 ends the debate.  If they win here, they’d be in.

Some question the academic strength, but the school is up-and-coming according to recent publications, and who can argue with the football team’s performance over the past decade?

The team is flat-out good. They are consistently ranked in the preseason Top 10, which is more than you can say about 10 of the current Pac-12 football teams.

Two years ago, Oregon learned how difficult road games to Boise State are, when the bucking Broncos of Boise State did what the rest of the teams in then Pac-10 could not do: they beat the hated Ducks.

The team is a natural rival to four separate teams in the Pac-12. Student-fans could drive to the games, just like all the other traditional NW teams, unlike long airplane trips required for Texas and Oklahoma.

Furthermore, the skiing and recreational activities in Idaho are just a trifle better than they are in Texas and Oklahoma!

Alumni provides the money for football programs due to how they travel, and most sane alumni would rather it be Idaho than the barren plains of the south-Midwest!

Hawaii

HONOLULU - SEPTEMBER 02: Levi Legay #53, Shane Austin #10, and Jett Jasper #82 of the University of Hawaii Warriors and other team members rush out of the tunnel to take the field in their season opener against the University of Southern California Trojan
Kent Nishimura/Getty Images

Not exactly the mecca for stellar football programs, but the Hawaii Warriors of the WAC are an attractive choice for all Pac-12 teams, evidenced by the number of preseason games scheduled against them year after year.

And although the stadium and fan support leave much to be desired, it’s still Hawaii.  It’s warm when it’s raining sideways in the north, and rival fan bases would thus flock to the islands for these annual games.

In terms of potential tourist dollars for Hawaii, the Pac-12 offers by far the most lucrative deal.

Allowing the Warriors in the Pac-12 could wreak havoc for teams who routinely overpower the islands in terms of recruits. But Hawaii, already with a consistently potent offense that gives visiting teams fits, the defense would likely also evolve into a powerhouse manned mostly by locals

Nationwide, what kid wouldn’t dream of playing football mixed with surfing lessons in the offseason?

And with their uniforms already among the coolest-looking in college football, they seem to be the most logical of the sub-west teams to convert to the big time!

B Y U

AUSTIN, TX - SEPTEMBER 10:  Wide receiver Ross Apo #11 of the BYU Cougars catches a second quarter touchdown pass by Jake Heaps against the Texas Longhorns on September 10, 2011 at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Erich
Erich Schlegel/Getty Images

Ever since BYU ripped off the national championship from the University of Washington in 1984, Husky fans have had it out for Utah’s most elite Mormon institution.

And why not? BYU consistently has put out teams that can play with anyone. Just last week we saw the arrogant and pompous Texas Longhorns barely manage to squeak out a one-point win against this team of upstarts from one of the most beautiful areas in the United States.

Brigham Young University makes sense from a rivalry perspective too. The Utah Utes have played the Cougars 87 times, making these two teams not only one of the longest rivalries in the nation, but also a natural rivalry that the Pac-12 so dearly loves.

And lets not forget that NFL greats Steve Young and Jim McMahon are grads of this school, as is 1990 Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer. Danny Ainge played basketball at BYU, as did golf’s Johnny Miller and Mike Weir.

BYU is a proven athletic power that could easily keep up in the Pac-12.

San Diego State

SAN DIEGO - NOVEMBER 20:  Running back Ronnie Hillman #13 of the San Deigo State Aztecs carries the ball on a five yard touchdown run in the second quarter against the Utah Utes at Qualcomm Stadium on November 20, 2010 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The fourth nominee may be surprising, but San Diego State provides the rivalry for Hawaii that would need to happen for this to be feasible, and they just so happen to be located in an area attractive to most traveling fans.

Playing their first football game clear back in 1921, the Aztecs, like their former WAC rivals the Hawaii Warriors, have wreaked havoc on larger schools who foolishly scheduled them for “warm up” games.

Already this year they pulverized WSU with a 42-24 thrashing, and have jumped out to quick 3-0 start with victories over Army and Cal Poly too.  And with so many high schools in Southern California with so many blue-chip recruits, rising to the top of the heap of a new Pac16 would be merely a matter of time.

Furthermore there is no better place for frigid fans in the North to visit, than the city of San Diego.

With it’s pristine beaches and near-perfect fall weather, San Diego State would help the Pac-12 cover the entire state of California, and is the logical choice for the 16th member of the new Pac-16!

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Potential Divisions

HONOLULU - SEPTEMBER 02: Ronald Johnson #83 of the University of Southern California Trojans is taken down by Po'okela Ahmad #40 of the University of Hawaii Warriors during first half action against the University of Southern California Trojans at Aloha S
Kent Nishimura/Getty Images

With four teams located in the West, the new Pac-16 could be divided as follows:

(North)

Washington Huskies

Oregon Ducks

Oregon State Beavers

Washington State Cougars

Colorado Buffalos

Boise State Broncos

Utah Utes

BYU Cougars

(South)

USC Trojans

UCLA Bruins

California Bears

San Diego State Aztecs

Stanford Cardinal

Hawaii Warriors

Arizona State SunDevils

Arizona Wildcats

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Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners Need Not Apply for Membership in the Pac12

Written by PhilCaldwell

September 20, 2011 at 9:45 am

University of Washington Huskies Fall on Bad End of Big Call in Nebraska

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LINCOLN, NE - SEPTEMBER 17: Keith Price #17 of the Washington Huskies throws downfield over Baker Steinkuhler #55 of the Nebraska Cornhusker during their game at Memorial Stadium September 17, 2011 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska won 51-38.  (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)Eric Francis/Getty Images

On a dank and misty Saturday afternoon on the plains of Nebraska, two separate and pivotal phantom calls on Washington defenders sapped the energy from the visiting team and handed the game to the gracious red-clad Nebraska home squad.

Only football moments earlier, tied at 17 with just over two minutes left in the first half, UW’s Kiel Rasp sailed a hanging punt to the Nebraska 41-yard line for a waiting Cornhusker Tim Marlowe.

But Marlowe missed the catch, the ball grazed off his left ankle and bounced in the arms of Husky Jamaal Kerse, who picked it up and scampered forty yards into the end zone for a seemingly surprising touchdown and 24-17 Husky lead.

Husky momentum was exploding as players embraced and danced giddily.

Suddenly the fun was snuffed by a late-flying hankie that drifted lazily into the mayhem near the end zone.  A dreaded phantom call had just been ushered that had even the Superbowl XL Pittsburg-Seattle zebras grumbling at the injustice of it all.

Washington was being penalized 15 yards for a bogus “kick catching interference” infraction on Washington’s Cort Dennison.  The call was apparently the result of a new college football rule invented seconds earlier by the same squad of sight-challenged refs, and enforced midst wails and hollers by the entire Husky sidelines.

Truth was, there was no hand up for a fair catch by Marlowe, as the refs alleged.  Nor was Dennison anywhere near Marlowe.

125448603_crop_340x234Eric Francis/Getty Images

An absolutely terrible call that was played over and over on replays to the nationally televised featured game on ABC.  And it morphed the UW Huskies from the sharp efficient team that had been giving Nebraska fits, into the team from two weeks ago that was hesitant and tentative to open the season.After that play the game felt different, looked different and WAS different. Gone was the energy.  And after Nebraska’s Brett Maher nailed a 35-yard field goal a few plays later for a 20-17 lead as time ran out, heads were slumped and players dismayed as they left the field.

A half-hour later, the second half opened much like the first.

It started with an ugly Husky three and out with the Huskies punting again.  This time Rasp’s punt was a 52-yard line drive that fell into the arms of Cornhusker receiver Rex Burkhead, who was immediately flattened catching the ball by re-amped Husky special teams.

But again two separate flags flew and mayhem insued, as the Huskies were again called for this new “kick catching interference” thing.  Cameras caught a completely baffled UW Coach Steve Sarkisain questioning officials on where they were getting this rule from?

Burkhead DID catch the ball after all, which is all Husky defenders need to allow for a legal catch—according to, you know, actual college football rules.  When there is no hand up for a fair catch, which there wasn’t in either case, said receiver is eligible to be drilled by defenders once he touches the ball.  This is how the game is played.  Normally.

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Nevertheless the Huskies were penalized again for another unjust 15 yards by self-righteous officials, who apparently had been downing drinks at halftime while celebrating their previous boneheaded call with the home fans.

And just to make matters worse, the head official, a tall retired fellow with far too much self-confidence, scolded Husky coach Steve Sarkisian for questioning his wisdom, and then stuck UW for yet another five yards just to rub salt in the wounds.

Soon thereafter the Husky defense, now even more lethargic and uninspired, allowed Nebraska to roll through them for 60 yards on eight runs and one short pass to Jamal Turner.

Suddenly the Huskies were down by 10 points with less than five minutes consumed in the second half.

But it got worse.

Husky four-star recruit Bishop Sankey, only recently snatched from the arms of cross-state rival WSU after committing to them years ago, muffed the kickoff on his own 1-yard line.  A single play later, Nebraska gladly converted it for another seven points and a commanding 34-17 lead.

Twenty-one unanswered points that turned the game into a rout.

All four dozen crazed UW Husky fans lining the cheap seats several time zones away, agonized and bemoaned the injustice of it all.  Which made nary a difference in the sea of 85,000 neurotic and delighted Nebraska fans.

125449401_crop_340x234Eric Francis/Getty Images

This baby was all but over with two quarters left, and it had pinheaded referee call fingerprints all over it!

The Huskies actually did put up a fairly impressive fight afterwards and managed to regain the confidence they possessed prior to these dopey penalties, scoring another 14 points before time ran out.  Including a drive that stalled at the nine yard line on downs and yielded zero points.

Nebraska would eventually enjoy another phantom “kick catching interference” penalty (which this time actually seemed semi-legit), but it hardly mattered.

UW’s very fast but young team was defeated, playing like it after these key calls in the middle of the game—in spite of some late-game heroics, they fell by 13 points, 51-38.  One point less than the terrible call and a gift touchdown bequeathed to Nebraska.

And unlike other Pac-12 teams who were running up the score on their second straight high school team (I won’t name names, but their fans are obnoxious and they wear really funny-looking uniforms), UW’s future looks indeed bright!

******

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Written by PhilCaldwell

September 17, 2011 at 9:54 am