Friday, May 18, 2012

Message To My Readers, Plus More: Future Projects, Links

Kenjon Barner

I gotta say, I feel bad for some of my loyal readers, who keep asking me when am I gonna come back and hit it hard, like I was doing?  

When the timing is right.  I just have something more important in life right now that I wanna focus on.  But I appreciate the love.

I've always been told in life, it's about the people you meet and connections you make.  I recently made a connection with a reader all the way from San Diego!  Mike Snow, an up an coming rap artist/Duck fan/website designer, has offered to design one for me, and promote it down there.

That's something I will definitely look into.  I'm also working on a pretty cool article I'm excited about, that I work on the side when I can.

But in the meantime, I'm just gonna be adding links and maybe a few quick takes for a while.

Now for the links:

A lot going on recently with the BCS, and conferences making deals, etc.  Does it ever stop? Probably not.  As long as it makes the greatest sport to watch EVEN better, I'm for it.  From the SB Nation comes this article out of Pacific Takes. 
Another person's view from SB Nation. And Schroeder, from the Reg-Guard has this.

Bunch of Pac 12 links from Ted Miller's blog.
More from Miller:

A bunch of good stuff as well from Addicted to Quack.

Friday, May 11, 2012

BCS: Why The Pac 12 and B1G Should Succeed, Plus Other Links

It was so nice out today (hit 80 in some area's) I didn't really feel like writing much.  Instead, I spent most of my time cruisin around bumpin some mad mallard music, a little old school west coast rap, and chillin with my crew...the birdgang!

However, the Ducks are still on my mind.  It's a sickness really.  I started an article that will come out soon comparing war, football, and the Oregon Ducks.

In the meantime, check out these links:

How important is the Rose bowl to you?  Rachel Bachman writes about it here, in the WSJ.

The LA Times has this on the Pac 12 coaches reaction to the proposed playoff system.

SI's Stewart Mandel talks about how the Ducks look even faster on offense in 2012.

Dion Jordan lookin to have a big year in this article from espn.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Message To The Pac 12

Got into a conversation the other day with a coug fan about who has the worst fans in the Pac 12.  His answer?  Oregon.  And the beaver fan butting in on our conversation naturally said the same thing.

And they're not alone in this.  Many of the other fans from the conferences 11 other teams say the same thing.

To be fair, even I can admit Oregon fans can be a little overzealous at times.  What can I say?  We're proud of our teams' recent success.  The seed that was planted 18 years ago when Kenny Wheaton went the other way against Washington, is now a full grown Douglas Fir tree.

Oregon fans love to point out that their fir is more beautiful than yours!  So if you're getting tired of it and want them to go away, it aint happin'.

Oregon has a track record that goes back to "the pick" in 1994, and has been building since.  Joey Harrington took the program to the next level in 2000 and 2001.  In both years - 2001 especially when they were snubbed out of the NC - Oregon was in contention for a national championship appearance. 

Since Chip Kelly has been here (first as an OC in '07) Oregon has climbed to even greater heights.  National champion contenders in '07, '09, played for it in '10, and again a contender last year.

Oregon is the only team currently in the country to have played in three straight bcs bowl games.

And fans that used to say, "Kelly has yet to win a bcs game," can no longer play that card after Oregon's win over Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl.

Sure Oregon lost an experienced starter at QB in Darron Thomas, who went 23-3, but the Ducks have depth all around, including at QB.

Both Brian Bennett and Marcus Mariota have tremendous potential.  

Combine that with many key players returning, some people project Oregon will be BETTER in 2012, and they're set up nicely beyond 2012 as well.

Of course there are the sanctions yet to be handed down, and that's the only hope fans from the 11 other teams have.  However, from what I've read so far, I see no reason to think it will be anything more than a slap on the wrist.

And Chip may leave for the NFL as he almost did earlier this year.

The point is this:  the program that turned the corner in '94, will keep movin' along.

The Ducks aren't going away.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Pac 12 Coach Rankings: Where Does Chip Come In?

Picked this article up today out of SportingNews, which ranks the top coaches in the Pac 12, and coming in at #1 is Chip Kelly.  Can't say I disagree...the numbers speak for itself. 

As for the rest of the list I don't really care:

2. Mike Leach (WSU)
3. Lane Kiffin (SC)
4. Kyle Whittingham (Utah)
5. Sark (UDumb)

6. David Shaw (Stanford)
7. Rich Rod (Arizona)
8. Mike Riley (OAC)
9. Jeff Tedford (Cal)
10. Jim Mora (UCLA)
11. Todd Graham (ASU)
12. Jon Embree (Colorado)

The new comers (Leach, Rich Rod, Mora, Graham) come in at 2, 7, 10, and 11 respectively.  Which brings up my only question about the rest of the rankings...why is Leach at #2, when he hasn't even coached a game in the conference yet?  In fact the other new comers should be left off the list.  At least if you're making a list of the best coaches based on what they've already done in the conference, not what they MAY do.

Just my opinion.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Green Monster

2010 CW Photos

Looking Back: 2008 Civil War PT. 2

#24 Jeremiah Johnson scoring on his 83 yard touchdown run

I, on the other hand, was less confident given Oregon's recent struggles at Reser.  Also, Oregon was playing a beaver team motivated by a jacked up home crowd, and playing for the right to go to the Rose bowl.

I could only hope for the best.

However, it became evident early on that this was the Ducks day.  They set the tone in the first quarter with a 17 yard touchdown pass from Jeremiah Masoli to Jeff Maehl, and never looked back.

The faster - more athletic Ducks, ran wild on the beavers that day.  Oregon state appeared baffled at times on defense, and looked slow.  They couldn't stop Oregon's relentless attack, as the Ducks won 65-38, and amassed a total of 694 yards of total offense.

Oregon would go on to finish the season 10-3 after a Holiday Bowl win over Oklahoma State.  The beavers won a forgettable Sun Bowl over Pitt, 3-0...a score fitting for such a crappy bowl game.

Revenge is sweet, especially with a lot at stake.  The more at stake, the more a loss hurts.  As former Oregon receiver Jaison Williams said (on the game) "to go out and ruin somebody's dreams like that, it felt good."

Seeing beaver fans leave heartbroken, and discarded single roses all over the stadium was priceless.  That's why it's my favorite memory.

Below is my video containing the best clips from that game.  Enjoy!

Looking Back: 2008 Civil War PT. 1

It has been brought to my attention from Duck Pond Man that today is National Remind Rodent Fans of Happy Duck Memories Day.  In honor of this great day, I thought I'd take some time to reflect back on probably my happiest memory of the Civil War: a look back on the beat down of 2008.

You couldn't have asked for a better scenario in terms of getting payback then the 2008 Civil War.
Its been said that winning the Civil War is for the right to live in the state of Oregon.  When Oregon state got a cheap 3 OT win in the '07 CW at Autzen, over an injury riddled Duck squad, Oregon fans had to live with it for a whole year!

A win over the beavers is satisfying enough.  A win over them with a lot at stake is even better!  In addition to the Ducks looking to avenge the '07 loss, both teams came in nationally ranked, and with bowl positioning on the line.

The 23rd ranked Ducks came in with a record of 8-3 overall, 6-2 in conference play.  17th ranked Oregon state also came in at 8-3, but were 7-1 in conference play.

For the Ducks, a win would put them in a tie for second with the beavers.  

At the time, the second place bowl game in the conference was the Holiday bowl.  The third place bowl game was the less prestigious Sun Bowl.

Whenever there's a tie, the bowl gets to chose who they want.  It was figured that if Oregon won, they would get the more prestigious Holiday Bowl, because they're the more prestigious program.  And Duck fans would've taken delight in sending the beavers to El Paso.

You don't wanna go to the Sun Bowl.  That's a bad bowl!  Fans don't wanna spend their holiday's in the dirt filled town along the Mexican border, fearing for their safety from drug cartels coming across the border! 

So beaver fans were hoping for a victory just to avoid having to go there, plus a win would also have sent them to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1965.

They were a cocky bunch, beaver fans were, leading up to the game.  They expected it to be a Rose bowl coronation for their team, and Oregon would just lay down.  Thousands of roses were being handed around from person to person, before the ball had even been teed off!

I guess you couldn't blame them for feeling so optimistic.  They were riding a six game win streak, defeated #1 USC at home on ESPN earlier in the year, had won two in a row against the Ducks, and had not lost at home to Oregon since 1996.

But Duck players had revenge on their minds.  They weren't phased by the jacked up, record crowd, at Reser stadium on an unseasonably warm 60 degree day in late November. 

Local sports talk mega star Jason Skukanic, from Portland's ESPN affiliate 1080 the fan, was down on the field during warmups.  "You could see it in their eyes," Skukanic observed, commenting on Oregon's demeanor before the game.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Spring Game Links

As I've said before, I wasn't at the spring game this year, but the guys over at fishduck were, and they have you covered.  Here's a bunch of good links about the spring game:

Ducks #4 in CFB Live Preseason Top 25

This past Tuesday ESPN released its College Football Live preseason top 25.  It's never too early to look ahead to next year, and with spring football over, what else are you gonna do from now until September?  With that said, lets take a look at their rankings, and where the Ducks come in:

1. USC

2. Alabama

3. LSU

4. Oklahoma

5. Florida State

6. Oregon

7. Michigan

8. Arkansas

9. Georgia

10. South Carolina

11. West Virginia

12. Kansas State

13. Michigan State

14. TCU

15. Clemson

16. Stanford

17. Wisconsin

18. Ohio State

19. Nebraska

20. Boise State

21. Virginia Tech

22. Oklahoma State

23. Louisville

24. Texas

25. Rutgers

My first impression right away is how in the hell is USC #1?  When did they become THAT good again?  

Alabama, LSU, always reload.  Oklahoma's always in there as well.  Getting tired of the Florida State love.  They were a preseason top 5 year a year ago, and failed to meet those expectations by going 9-4.  Not a bad record, but certainly not what they had in mind going into the season.

What type of hit does Arkansas take after losing Petrino?  South Carolina is probably too high at #10 after losing some key players on defense like Melvin Ingram and Stephon Gilmore.

Another team taking a big hit is Stanford.  You lose what everybody says is the best QB prospect to come out in the last 10 years, you're gonna take a step back.  

And did you honestly think I would leave out Oregon, sittin' up there at #4?  That's mighty kind of them over there at CFB Live, showing a lot of respect.  But Oregon also has some question marks.  However, with their schedule, they could easily come out of the gate 8-0.

While I don't agree with some of the rankings, it's just one man's poll, it's a good attempt.  Gets the conversation going at least.  These things are certain, the final top 5/10/25 will not resemble what it does now, somebody from the SEC I'm sure will get too much "love" from the polls, somebody will be crying foul, and Boise State will exceed expectations again, proving the doubters wrong (which pains me to say because I hate Donkey U.).

Friday, May 4, 2012

De'Anthony Thomas

Changes Coming To The BCS?

Another big development happening while I was gone was the announcement of the BCS adding a playoff system.

Of course this is great news to me, because I've always been in favor of a playoff system.  I was really starting to get burned out with the BCS and the bowl season, especially since Oregon has become a national player.

It's one thing to be a fan of a team with low expectations, it's another to be a fan of a team consistently in the top 10, and part of the national title picture.  As the stakes get higher for your team, the harder a loss takes. 

You start thinking of the games you need to win in order to stay apart of that picture.  You lose, you realize you just lost your chance, and your season is probably over.  Kind of puts a damper on things, unless you're able to rebound and win a Rose Bowl like Oregon did this year!

Here's how it works: four teams would be selected and ranked after the bowl games, and play in a playoff to determine a more realistic true champion.  Still not perfect, because I think you should add even more teams, but it's progress.

Before you get too excited, the proposed changes wouldn't take in to affect until 2014.  There are also a lot of loose ends to tie up   

Look at it this way; changes are coming, and maybe they can spend the time between now and 2014 to really hammer out the details, and come up with a credible system.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Spring Game Recap

A Pac 12 conference record crowd of 44,129 showed up to Oregon's spring game this past weekend.  Sadly, I wasn't apart of that crowd, as I had an unexpected situation come up that I had to tend to, so I was eager to find out how the team looked.

I watched the replay (three times), scoured the web for articles, and talked to fans for their perspectives.  Here are my thoughts.

Upon arriving to their seats on a warm Saturday afternoon at Autzen stadium, Duck fans were greeted with this image on Duck Vision:

 That, and many other reasons are why Duck fever is at an all-time high.  There were a few important position battles going in, none more important than the competition at quarterback.  Long time Duck fan Jason Sherrill  was among many of them who wanted to get a glimpse into Oregon's future: "I've heard so many good things about both, I couldn't wait to see who had the edge," said Jason.

It was considered by a lot of people, including myself, that Bryan Bennett was the leading candidate to become the teams next starter at QB.  But the play of Marcus Mariota may have changed that.

Mariota could be the perfect quarterback to fit Chip Kelly's system.  He can throw AND run, and looked spectacular at times.  To barrow a phrase from Chip Kelly, Mariota "won the day."

He was 18 of 26, threw for 202 yards, with a touchdown and an interception.  On one player in particular, he flashed his speed on an 82-yard touchdown run, resembling another quarterback from the past that flourished in Chip Kelly's offense.

I'm talkin' about Dennis Dixon of course, and I'm not alone:  "I had flashbacks of Dixon," exclaimed Matt Shelton, student and Duck fan, "Mariota was calm and collective the whole game, and looked much better," he added.

Mariota's team, Mighty Oregon, defeated the Fighting Ducks, 41-14.

Other position battles of interest for me was at receiver, and a long both lines.  The Ducks should be pretty deep at receiver this year (a lot of potential talent, but unproven) and one guy who looked impressive Saturday was Daryle Hawkins.

The junior wide receiver accounted for 4 receptions for 55 yards, including a 35-yard touchdown reception from Mariota.

DE #9 Arik Armstead
Arik Armstead looks like he's gonna be a beast, and will pair well on the defensive line with Dion Jordan.  And overall, the Duck defense could be pretty good this year, with the return of such key players as John Boyett, Michael Clay, Kiko Alonso, Dion Jordan, and more.

Overall there are still many questions left to be answered.  The battle for starting quarterback is far from over, there are still questions a long the offensive line and the receiving corps, but the future looks very bright.  The Ducks clearly have reloaded and are gonna be right back in the national title race next year.