Friday, December 30, 2011

A Message To New Readers and Followers

I wanna take the time to thank you guys, it really means a lot.  Someday when I actually become something, I'm gonna remember those that stuck with me from the beginning.  I've learned through other people's mistakes, that it's important to remember everybody, and remember where you came from. Always gotta stay humble.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Closer Look At The Helmet

I was pretty clear about how mad I was about the O being removed, but after looking at these, it's still on there...just on the back. These helmets are actually pretty sick, proving once again that Tinker Hatfield and his crew at NIKE are still the OG's, and way better in the design game, than underarmour (or anybody else who tries to copy Oregon's style). I can't wait to see these in person, and on tv! For the link:
http://www2.registerguard.com/cms/index.php/duck-football/comments/a-closer-look-at-the-new-shiny-helmets/

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Oregon's New Uniforms For the Rose Bowl


These are cool. I mean did you think Tinker Hatfield - the man behind the Air Jordans - would let you down? However, I would still prefer the O helmets. Maybe the new lids will grow on me. Like I've said with every new Oregon uniform...I gotta see 'em in person first.  Take a look:
http://www.goducks.com/ViewArticle.dbml?SPSID=3383&SPID=233&DB_LANG=C&ATCLID=205352242&DB_OEM_ID=500

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Thoughts on Today's NFL Games (12/24), Other Stuff

Thoughts on today's games in the NFL, Other stuff:
If the the jets heart was as big as their mouth, they'd be real. Rex Ryan just can't shut up. Might wanna stop talking after your vaunted defense gives up a 99 yard touchdown reception. Props to Reggie Bush for getting his first 1,000 yard rushing season. Good to see the Lions stick a dagger in the pathetic heart of the Chargers. Norvell should be fired. Props to the Lions for making the playoffs, next year they'll be better though...with a healthy backfield. Looks like the fighting Tebow's are coming back down to reality. Happy to see the Raiders beat the Chiefs in OT. Another example of East coast bias...Chris Berman and how he's always slobbering over the NFC East. I got news for you Berman, every division has at least one (if not two, or three) teams with double digit wins a year, that doesn't make those vaunted. But when the NFC East has a team with a double digit win season, suddenly the whole division is vaunted? Okaaay.
Not really a big deal, but I'm kickin ass in my bowl picks and got another one today, as So Miss beat Nevada.
And tomorrow is the start of the NBA season, and I can't wait! I love the NBA, especially once football has died down and over. If it weren't for the NBA, the sports scene would be a long and boring one till football started again (don't really care about baseball). A great tradition is NBA games on Christmas Day...almost like football on Thanksgiving. Just get your grub on, sit back, and watch some hoops!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Thoughts on Barkley coming back, Kellen Moore.

   USC quarterback Matt Barkley surprised many in the college football world by announcing he will come back for his senior season, and predictably Trojan honk is feeling pretty good about their chances next year.  And why not?  The nucleus of that team is coming back, and will be a year better.  You might as well hand over the Heisman now, because he will be putting up ridiculous numbers with probably the best one-two tandem at receiver in the country in Woods and Lee.

   SC will probably be the odds on favorite to win the Pac 12 next year, which is fine with me.  Let the Ducks fly under the radar (no pun intended) for once.  Its been a while since they have.  I think it's better that they will no longer be the hunted, it'll make them more hungry for a fourth straight conference title.

   One thing I know, is that this will make the conference race much better next year, and it will get the national recognition it deserves.  We'll finally see the championship match up the conference deserves...the type of match up we should've seen this year if it weren't for the sanctions against SC.  A match up between the top two programs of the conference over the past decade.  SC and Oregon is becoming sort of a rivalry.

   With that said, I still can't stand Barkley...he's a douche.  Wasn't it great that he held a press conference on national tv to announce he was coming back for one more year?  Complete with a band, cheerleaders, and a pretty little Christmas tree lit up in the background.  Only thing missing was him wearing one of those ugly Christmas sweaters.  I can just see him wearing one of those.

   Lastly, Kellen Moore and Boise State CRUSHED Arizona State last night in the Las Vegas Bowl, giving Moore his 50th career win.  Impressive...kind of.  Again, when you play the type of schedule Boise State does, and consider the fact that teams these days play more games a year, than 20-30 years ago, the feat becomes less impressive. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Keys To Beating Bucky: My Take on the Rose Bowl



   The Ducks are all business this year as they prepare for the Rose Bowl, against B1G conference champions Wisconsin.  The 98th edition of the grandaddy of 'em all features a match-up between two elite teams with contrasting styles, and a lot to play for.  And maybe more so for Oregon.

   The Ducks come into the game playing in their third straight BCS bowl, having lost the previous two.  In order to take the next step and be taken seriously, the Ducks need to win this game, otherwise they're on the verge of becoming known as a cute little program, that can't win the big game.

   It would also be a chance to salvage a season that just a month ago, had potential for so much more.  Everybody thought the Ducks were out of the national championship picture after losing to LSU, and yet here they were on Nov. 19, against USC, back in it.  However, a missed field goal at the end put the final dagger on those chances.

   A loss in the Rose Bowl and this becomes a disappointing season.  A season of what could have been?  A win makes up for that loss, and sends them into the recruiting season with momentum.  The Ducks also wanna send LaMichael James out on a win.  James, one of the best running backs (if not the best) in Oregon history will likely be playing his last game in a Duck uniform, as he gets ready for a future in the NFL.

   The Ducks literally have a tall task in front of them if they wanna meet those goals.  Standing in their way is a BIG and powerful Wisconsin Badger team.  What do the Ducks need to do to win this game?  The answer is simple:  once again it all comes down to a battle of the trenches.

   I say that because Wisconsin has some giants on both sides of the line.  Look at some of the teams Oregon has lost to recently:  LSU this year, Auburn and Ohio State in 2010 (both in bcs games), and Boise State in '09.  What did they have in common?  Big defensive lines that were able to shut down Oregon's offense, and offensive lines that were able to contain Oregon's blitzing defense, and move the ball on them.

   I love Oregon's offense so I hate to say this, but when a team is able to shut them down - like Auburn did, like Ohio State did, like LSU did - Oregon's offense does look gimmicky and becomes rather pedestrian.

   Wisconsin probably has the second or third best defense Oregon will have faced this year (LSU being #1, USC being #2).  The Badgers have the nations number eight total team defense, and give up an average of 17 points per game.

   The Badgers' offensive line is bigger than all but TWO NFL lines.  The average size on the Badger offensive line is 6-5, 320 pounds.  The Ducks counter with a fast defensive line that is second in the nation in sacks with 43.  And it's not as if the Badgers' offensive line is stellar at pass blocking.  They are 59th in the nation in sacks allowed with 23.

   On offense the Ducks must be able to establish the run game by getting good blocks up front.  On defense, they must be able to get pressure on Wisconsin's quarterback Russell Wilson.  The run d, which gives up a mere 3.6 ypc, needs to be able to contain one of the nations best backs in Montee Ball.  Easier said than done.

   If the Ducks can do that, I feel good about their chances.  The players talk about being tired of losing these bowl games.  Even a loss though is a learning experience, and the Ducks have plenty of big bowl game experience.  Most of the players on this team were on last year's team that played in the national championship, and were also on the team that played in the 2010 Rose Bowl.  "They understand the task at hand," Chip Kelly said, on referring to his players.

   Hopefully they do, and the business like approach ends in a big pay day.


NOTES:
  • All-Time series: Wisconsin leads 3-1
  • Oregon won the last meeting in 2001, 31-28
  • Oregon is 9-15 all-time in bowl games (2-2 in last 4)
  • Oregon is 1-2 all-time in bcs bowl games
  • Oregon is 1-4 all-time in the Rose Bowl
  • Oregon has the nations No. 6 total offense (Wisc. is 15th)
  • Oregon has the nations No. 5 rush offense (Wisc. is 10th)
  • Oregon has the nations No. 3 scoring offense (Wisc. is 4th)
  • Both teams are pretty even in passing offense (Ore. is 71st/Wisc. is  62nd)

Keepin The "O" In It: O-TIME For Life.




   There are rumblings going on that the Oregon Ducks are considering a new helmet for the Rose Bowl that would eliminate the famous 'O' for the first time since the '98 season.  These aren't just rumors started by a few knuckleheads, reports are coming out in other blogs, such as this one: http://duckotherside.blogspot.com/2011/12/uniform-rumor.html, people on message boards are talking about it, and facebook and twitter are abuzz about it today as well.  I've also got a few inside connections - both at NIKE and on the team - who say this may be happening.


   You know the saying where there's smoke there's fire?  Well there's too much smoke here to ignore this, and I'm pretty angered by it.  Look I give the Ducks credit for their uniform changes.  I didn't like it at first (in fact the 2006-2008/'09 edition uniforms with the diamond plates were my favorite) but realized its what set Oregon apart from other schools.  It made them trendy, cutting edge, ahead of the curve, and so on.  But it has to stop at some point.  I draw a line in the sand with the helmet.

   A teams helmet is the most sacred part of the uniform.  It's the most recognizable...a calling card if you will.  The Oregon 'O' helmet has been the one thing that has remained untouched over the years during all the uniform changes, and is one of the most recognized, and popular helmets in the country.  Flashing the 'O' today, is what flashing the 'U' used to be like.  See how I know what the 'U' is?  It's the logo on the University of Miami Hurricanes helmet.  The 'O' is so popular, it inspired a song about it by Xile called "O-Time."  The 'O' is not just a logo, as Xile would say in that song, "it's a culture."

   Change for the sake of change is stupid, and removing the 'O' would be a damn shame.  I hope it's not true, and if it is...I hope it's just a one time thing. 

   Elsewhere in the college football world, the NCAA ruled on Ohio States case yesterday, and it turns out that tatoogate is gonna cost them a mere one year bowl ban, and a loss of 9 scholarships.  Pretty much a slap on the wrist.  Ohio State will be fine.  So they miss a bowl for one year, big deal.  It might be a big deal for next year's senior class, but to new coach Urban Meyer - who's there building for the future - he can tell the young kids that you're coming in to rebuild this program, and will be playing in big bowl games in the future, but you probably wouldn't be playing much next year anyways, so you're not missing out.  And why do most of these kids go to the big time programs anyways?  Because they want to get to the NFL, and they're more likely to get noticed by pro scouts at an Ohio State, a Texas, an LSU, or an Alabama, then they would at a place like Wyoming, North Texas, Toledo, etc.  A straight 'a' student coming out of high school wants to go to the most prestigious school they can, because it looks good on their resume when applying for a job.  And just like a smart kid, a really good player wants to go to a prestigious football program, because it looks good on his resume.  So this won't effect recruiting in the long run.

   Now this doesn't really matter to me to be honest, but what it does do is it shoes that the NCAA once again, is questionable when it comes to handing out penalties, and it has me kind of worried about what might happen (if anything) to Oregon regarding the whole Willie Lyles situation.  It's like if you get in trouble at home...the severity of your punishment could depend on what type of mood your parents are in.  The NCAA is like your parents.  Catch 'em on a bad day, and they'll come down hard on you over something that really isn't that big of a deal.  Whereas you catch 'em on a good day, they'll come down light on you.  Many people think that what Ohio State did is far worse than what USC did, and yet USC's sanctions were FAR worse than what Ohio State got.  Makes me wonder?

   It's with great displeasure that I say this, but today is day 3, 247 of the B*S system.  And because of that, we are blessed with not having a playoff system, but a slew of meaningless bowl games.  Today's bowl, the San Diego whatever something something Poinsettia Bowl, is between TCU and Louisianan Tech.  I can hear the people yawing now.  In this game, we're supposed to pretend that these teams really care, and want to win, even though No. 16 TCU (10-2) is coming in feeling like they should be playing one of the big boys in a bcs bowl game.  Would be fun to see a team like TCU in a playoff system.  Hell it would even be fun to see WAC champion Louisiana Tech in a playoff system.  Sure they would get waxed in the first round probably, but that's what a playoff system does...it weeds out the weak teams.  

   And my final burn goes to the Biebs.  Yes that douche nozzle Justin Beiber.  As I'm sitting here writing this, I hear on the radio that the Biebs is thinkin of changing his hair style, and doesn't know what he should go with.  Such a tough decision to make.  He must have it really hard, but dude needs a little perspective.  While he's worrying about his lettuce, kids in North Korea fight over a kernel of corn out of cow dung because they haven't eaten anything in days.  That's the reality many young Koreans dealt with growing up under the regimen of Kim Jong Il.  This might sound harsh, but I'm glad he's dead.  I watched Inside North Korea last night, and it made realize how bad it is/was there.  It's hard to imagine a society like that exists, and how anyone could ever live there?  I'm proud to be an American!









Monday, December 19, 2011

Quick Hitta: What I'm Burnin' On - Dodgers, Hoops Brawl, Sauna Etiquette.

BLEEDING BLUE:

Its been a tough year for the Dodgers:  from the whole Frank McCourt soap opera playing out in the media - the bankruptcy, an ugly divorce - to the PR nightmare from the fan beating of Brian Stow, to watching little brother (the Angles) land one of the top free agents in baseball in Albert Pujols, further solidifying their status as LA's premier franchise in baseball.  Now comes this: Dodger star James Loney smashed his Maserati on an LA freeway, taking out a couple other cars with him.  Police believe he was under the influence, which would explain why he may have passed out moments before the wreck...which caused the initial collision. 

It would also explain the stupidity in his decision to flee the scene.  Yeah because that will make it better.  Not like anybody would notice a smashed up six-figure car or anything.  Certainly not this lady, a 911 operator:
http://www.tmz.com/2011/12/19/james-loney-911-call/?adid=recentlyupdatedstories#.Tu-2gfL3eW8

THE RAMIFICATIONS FROM THE CINCY/XAV. FIGHT:
I know this story is a week old but I never got a chance to touch on it before.  There's the saying that you can take the person out of the hood, but can't take the hood out of the person.  And maybe that would explain some of the gangsta like mentality displayed in sports.  In fact, SI just did a recent article on that very topic.  But these guys aren't gangsta's.  Memo to Xavier players:  gangsta's don't have twitter accounts; they don't tweet out threats.  You know what that makes you?  An email thug - the only thing worse than being a gangsta is a wannabe gangsta - which is what you are.  A person that sits behind a computer screen talking tough.  Spend some time in a real hood like in Compton, CA, and see what it's like.  Then we'll see how tough you are.

And saying your team is a bunch of "gangsters" and you handle it like men, doesn't make you look any better.  It makes your program look bad, and it makes you look like a coward.  Real men can look the other way, they don't get razzled by a negative comment on twitter.

As a result, Xavier lost their first game over the weekend, 62-42, to Oral Roberts, since suspending three starters.  Up next, the mighty Long Beach State 49ers. 

SAUNA ETIQUETTE:
A little bit off topic here, but there's still some sports in it, is proper sauna etiquette.  I never used to be a fan of them until recently, I found it to be a great place to relax, gather your thoughts, and detox - sweating it out - from a great weekend of partying.  It's not a place for a group of guys to gather and gossip like a bunch of women.  If you're going to talk to me, a simply hey hows it going is good enough.  I don't care about how your week went, or anything else that might be bugging you, I came here to relax, not here your life stories or play Dr. Phil.  And while we're at it, can you please wrap up?
There's always the guy that just roams around in there, naked, taking up half the bench.  I don't need to see your junk...put a towel on.

I bring this up because of a recent trip I made to the sauna, in which a very relaxing moment quickly went down hill.  What ended up happening was a packed house of an interesting mix of guys, talking about various things.  You had your redneck hunter, a far right conservative who's also a conspiracy theorist, and thanks somehow our government controls the weather, a gay guy, and a Russian immigrant who speaks terrible english, who's very mad - and has a bad temper to begin with - about the American system, and why he isn't making enough money. 

Of course they all thought they had to talk to me, and it actually started out okay.  The topic was on the Oregon Ducks.  And they said the usual uneducated  stuff about Oregon.  They're all about glitz and glamor so on and so forth.  Whatever.  Then there was the armchair qb who apparently has a better game plan than Chip Kelly, and thinks he has all the answers.  The discussion quickly went down hill when the Russian entered the room.  There's no way to relax in there with this guy.  His a big guy, with a loud voice, that breathes heavily. After hearing him go on about not getting any action from his wifey at home, to not having enough money this year, I knew I had to leave.  Can't help you brotha, sorry!  But please, leave me the fuck alone!

The Rose Bowl is less than 2 weeks away, which means I gotta get busy here and do an article on that game.  Be on the lookout for that!















Greatest Duck Plays During The Last 10 Years

   Recently an article came out in the Bleacher Report by Joe Penkala, talking about the ten greatest offensive plays in Oregon football during the last ten years, and naturally that got me to thinking, what are MY picks for the top Oregon plays during the last ten years?  And here they are, in no particular order:
  1.  Jeremiah Johnson run in the 2008 Civil war where he busted a HUGE run on 3 and long late in the second quarter, tip toeing down the sideline and bobbling the ball in mid stride.
  2.  Walter Thurmond pick six in the same civil war game on the beavers very next possession.
  3.  Maurice Morris putting the 2002 Fiesta Bowl against Colorado out of reach with an incredible run in which he spun off the back of a CU player, got back up (never touched the ground) and took it to the house as the CU players all stood and thought the play was dead.
  4.  Ed Dickson with a clutch catch against Arizona in 2009 sending the Arizona students back to their seats, and forcing overtime.  Oregon went on to win that game and keep their Rose Bowl hopes alive.  I was at my homie Bryson's place watching that game (what up B!), and I'll never forget what an emotional roller coaster it was.
  5.  LMJ 72 yard touchdown run from one side of the field to the other at Neyland stadium against Tennessee.
  6.  From that same 2002 Fiesta Bowl, Joey Harrington going deep to Samie Parker on an 80 yard bomb.
  7.  LeGarrette Blount's hurddle over an Oklahoma State defender in the 2008 Holiday Bowl, scoring a touchdown and putting the game away for good.
  8.  And finally, probably my favorite one, the fake statue of liberty play against Michigan.  I saw it in person and the scene was incredible.  At the Big House, with 110,000 watching in stunned disbelief as Oregon came in and thrashed Michigan.  it was one of Michigan's worst home losses, as Oregon put up insane video game like numbers.  It was really the day that Chip Kelly and this new Oregon offense announced on a national stage, we've arrived.  Here it is:

video

Awesome Motviational Duck Vid

I love watching these; it's a good way to get your quack fix on during a bye, or during that ridiculously long layover between the Ducks last game of the season, and their bowl game.  But here's the thing, often times I always watch these thinking they person who put it together, could have used a better song to go with it.  Being a DJ, I have pretty good taste in music, and know what moves a crowd.  What you should do before watching this video is download these two songs: "visionz" by Wu-Tang Clan, and "Last Name London" by Theophilus London.  Turn youtube on mute and play these songs to the video.  Much, much better this way.  Ok now the link (wasn't able to upload it for some reason):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCCjvFITets



Saturday, December 17, 2011

I Hate Protesters So I Thought This Was Funny

I hate protesters so I thought this was funny. They think they're making a change by creating their little signs with cute rhymes, and coming up with clever (annoying to me) chants. Most of them are just loud, obnoxious, and just jealous. They attract crowds of people who don't even care about the cause, but are just there to cause trouble. Like people who riot just for the sake of rioting. There are other ways of making change besides doing all that...like voting.
http://www.kval.com/news/local/Santa-crashes-Occupy-Eugene-camp-135701078.html?tab=video

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

No More Bull, Please: Why College FB needs a Playoff System

   It's the holiday season, which means this time of year you get to see all of your familiar Christmas movies, and none better than Christmas Vacation.  Easily the funniest Christmas movie out there, that never gets old.  There's a scene in there in which Clark, who's expecting a fat Christmas bonus from his boss, instead receives a "jelly of the month" club.  Naturally, Clark snaps, and chaos ensues.
   
    That must be how most of the coaches in D-1 college football feel after a long regular season, in which they are rewarded with some meaningless bowl game, in some remote location, instead of receiving the grand prize - the right to play for a national championship


   D-1 college football deserves a playoff system.  This isn't an article on how I would devise such a system - I'll leave that up to the experts - but several plans for a system do exist.  Joe Giansante, a former Senior Associate Athletic Director at the University of Oregon, writes about one here: http://viewfromthebeachcs.blogspot.com/2011/12/fixing-bcs-it-is-within-reach.html

   Instead, this is an argument in favor of a playoff system.  But to be fair, lets examine some of the counter arguments shall we?

    The BCS conferences have stronger teams in them. An undefeated or one-loss record in a BCS conference should mean more than the same record in a weaker, non-BCS conference because the teams are not facing opponents of the same quality. The BCS rankings consider strength of schedule in the computer rating formulas, and the human voters account for it as well.

   Critics will also say that bowl games are meaningful to players, coaches, and fans.

    They point out that BCS rankings are designed to favor consistency over the course of the entire season. It rewards teams that beat the opponents they are supposed to beat as well as underdogs that upset higher-ranked teams. Under a playoff system, a team could lose an entire season's worth of hard work by having one bad day.

    They say a playoff system would extend the 13 week regular season by at least a month, which would interfere with athletes' college studies and which could potentially lead to more injuries from playing.

   And lastly, they say a playoff system would take away from the regular season, and ratings for games would go down.

   There are several flaws in all of these arguments, starting with the first one: that BCS conferences have stronger teams in them.  The BCS conferences have stronger teams in them?  The Big East is considered a BCS conference, so that argument goes right out the window.  The "Big Least," as I like to call it, is the weakest BCS conference and ranks last in terms of strength of schedule, according to teamrankings.com's website (http://www.teamrankings.com/college-football/ranking/overall-power-ranking-by-conf), slightly ahead of non-BCS conference the Mountain West.  The highest ranked individual team from the big least is West Virginia, at 45, behind six teams from non-BCS conferences.  Facing the likes of UCONN, Rutgers, or Syracuse, is hardly murderers row. 

   And the fact that the big least is adding Boise State, Houston, SMU, UCF, Navy, and San Diego State, to "beafen" up its conference is laughable when those are non-BCS teams to begin with.  If Boise State played SMU this Saturday, that would not be considered a BCS game.  So why should it next year?  Or the following years?

   The argument that bowl games are meaningful to teams, players, and fans is also a common fallacy.  I'll admit, there are some pretty cool gift packages that come with playing in some of the more prestigious bowl games, but for the most part, it's overrated.  I've talked to a few current and former players whom have said as much.  A lot of players don't wanna be there.  They're disappointed, and it's easy to see why. 

   A team might have a really good season and win 10 or more games, but they may have slipped up a long the way.  They still had a good season though, going 10-1 or 11-1.  They're reward?  Spending their Christmas vacation away from their family, playing in such cities as Albuquerque, Boise, or Mobile, Alabama.  I mean afterall, who wouldn't want to play in the Nut bowl, or the spud bowl?  And the same goes for the fans too.  If your team has a chance to play for the national championship, and they end up in a second or third place conference bowl game, it's not as fun...trust me.  Which brings me to my next point, that the argument that a playoff system could ruin a teams entire season based on having one bad day, is false.

   Time and time again we see a team lose one game, fall back in the polls, and don't have enough time to recover.  Just this year it happened with Oklahoma State.  A loss about a month ago to Iowa State (their only loss of the year) set them back far enough in the polls, so that they didn't have enough time to make up ground, despite thrashing Oklahoma 44-10 a couple weeks later.

   An example near and dear to me came with the Oregon Ducks in 2001.  A mid season loss - one bad day - to Stanford, in which they blew a 42-28 fourth quarter lead, costed them a shot at the national championship.  They rebounded from from the loss by winning their final four games of the season, and were one of the hottest teams in the country.  However, they were denied the opportunity to play for a national championship because they fell so far back in the polls, they didn't have enough time to recover.

   The Ducks went on to crush Colorado, 38-16 in the Fiesta Bowl.

   These are the same people that will tell you under the current system, every game counts.  Which is true by the way, and that weakens their argument and proves my point:  they can't say under a playoff system a team can ruin an entire season based on one bad day, because that's how it currently is.  A playoff system would allow teams to have a bad day, and still be in it.

   Finally, to the last point that a playoff system would interfere with athletes' college studies and  could potentially lead to more injuries from playing is wrong on so many levels.  They're able to make it work on every other level of college football, so why couldn't it work at D1?  I don't have a link to the interview, but Tim Brando recently interviewed the head coach of DIII Wisconsin-Whitewater, and asked him if playing in the playoffs interfered with his players' studies, and asked if a playoff system at the D1 level would be too physical, leading to more injuries, and the coach pretty much laughed at that.  Different sport, but college basketball is also able to do it.

   And the idea that a playoff system would take away from the regular season, and ratings would go down is wrong because, for one, football is the most popular sport in America, and the most watched on television.  Also, the NFL has a playoff system (obviously) and yet people still tune in every Sunday and Monday.  In fact, it gets bigger ratings than college does.  

   I could go on all day about how the current system is flawed.  There is a counter argument to everyone of their arguments, but the bottom line is this:  I'm tired of seeing teams (my team especially) being rewarded with "jelly of the month" clubs, after deserving much more.  The current system sucks.  It's as simple as that.  D1 college football needs a playoff system.











Monday, December 12, 2011

Upcoming projects

Articles on: O Time, Xile, Rose Bowl preview

Checking in



   Consider this blog a work in progress. I'm really starting to get into this, and learning new things everyday about how to blog, design layout, and so on.  Before I really start adding a bunch of content to it, and marketing it everywhere, I figure I better learn how to make it look professional first ya know?  Makes since.  I want it to look clean!  So hang in there and be patient, and I promise at some point I will bring the heat!

   But first, a step that's very important in creating this little blog is choosing the right name.  I wanna make sure that I choose a name that's somewhat original, and not already taken.  I don't wanna take credit for somebody's idea, or run a risk of copyright infringement.
  

   What I need is for you to vote on a name you like the most.  Your choices are:
  1. Ranz's Rants
  2. Birdgang
  3. Madmallard
  4. Drakes' Takes
  5. Flock Talk
  6. Zone Read
  7. Quacknation
  8. Duckswag
  9. or Talkin'Quack

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Oregon Ducks motivational "Any Given Sunday"

video

Quick Thoughts on the Heisman

   I think RG III will win the Heisman, followed by Trent Richardson and Andrew Luck.  I'm actually not against RG III winning the Heisman for a couple of reasons.  One, what he's doing is impressive enough, but to do it at a program like Baylor is even more impressive.  He doesn't have the tools to work with that he would have if he played for say...Oklahoma, Texas, etc.  He has put Baylor football on the map, and made them relevant.  Two, he's clearly more than just a quarterback.  He's athletic, and a dual threat, which doesn't hurt.  Just ask Cam Newton.  When a you're putting the passing numbers he is, in addition to the other things he does, such as extending plays, rushing, even receiving...it's pretty hard NOT to see him getting the Heisman.
   That brings me to my next point, which is that the Heisman is becoming a joke.  First of all, just because you win the Heisman, doesn't mean it's gonna translate into success in the NFL.  Jason White anybody?  How bout Eric Crouch?  Those are just a couple examples.  The Heisman continuously gets handed out to a less deserving player.  It's become an offensive trophy, and more specifically, a quarterback trophy.  Don't they have a trophy of their own?  If the Heisman trophy is supposed to go to the most talented overall player, on one of the nations best teams, it should go to LSU's CB Tyron Matthieu.
   He's a game-changer on the nations best team, and will probably be the reason why, in my opinion, LSU wins the national championship.  He'll come up with a big momentum changing play as he has done all year. 
   The fact that Richardson and Ball are there, instead of Oregon's LaMichael James, is a joke too.  James, was the nations leading rusher before going down with an injury, has led the nation in touchdowns and touchdown runs of 20 yards or more the last two years, and this year had 4 games in a row of 200+ yards rushing.  He is the best running back, not Richardson and Ball.  Is what it is I guess  

Friday, December 9, 2011

Quck Thoughts On Brandon Roy

I don't know why people are so 'shocked' about Brandon Roy's retirement? I'm sure the blazers knew. They know a lot of things obviously that the fans don't. Like when they were reluctant to agree to the terms of Roys' contract a year or 2 ago (and everybody was 'shocked') it was because they knew he had these knee issues. Instead of using the amnesty clause and looking bad, to the surprise of everyone, they didn't. They (the blazers) probably knew he was gonna retire, so that's why they didn't use the amnesty, and then Roy did the honorable thing by retiring as a Blazer. Just my thought.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Look Back On The Season

***NOTE*** This is the last note I'm doing for a while.  I'm goin in the basement (as Rome would say). I need a break from this (writing here and for other sites) and I'm sure you need a break from me.  It gives me time to sit back and develop new takes on things such as the NBA, NFL postseason, college football bowl season, and whatever else.  I'll come back though, better than ever, but it'll probably be at least a month.***


   Players learn lessons all the time.  They miss a read or an assignment, they get called out in practice or in film.  They turn it over in a game or commit a stupid penalty, they may have to run stairs or do push-ups in practice.  They get caught doin 120 at 2 AM with weed in the car (belonging to somebody else of course), they get suspended.  Hopefully lesson learned.  But players aren't the only ones learning lessons, turns out fans do too.
   During the summer a prominent professor of broadcast journalism, who's had a pretty successful career in the media, suggested to me that I start posting my takes on sports to a blog, or website.  He liked my stuff, and thought it would be a good way to get my footing.  After thinking about what I would cover, I naturally thought of the Ducks - my number one beat - the topic I'm most passionate about.  And looking back on my notes during the season, I've learned I need to follow my own advice when dealing with losses, amongst other things.
   I've had fun tracking the season and writing about it.  Here's a quick look back on how the Ducks got to where they are now, starting with week one against LSU.
     After an off-season filled with controversy, the Ducks came into the season with high expectations from a team that lost the national championship by a last second field goal, and returned almost everybody at the skill positions from that team.  Part of the off-season controversy was the Cliff Harris suspension, as the third ranked Ducks went into the season without their all-American corner, in a showdown against fourth ranked LSU.  A game with national title implications.
   It was a game filled with mistakes as the Ducks lost a close one.  Take away a turnover here, or a penalty there, and maybe it's a different outcome?  Maybe it's not.  Don't forget, Oregon out gained LSU, and put up the most points against them this season.
   But the young, resilient Ducks bounced back by winning nine games in a row.  Memorable games included the Cal game, Arizona St., Washington, and Stanford games.  Cal because it was the game LMJ ripped his arm out of the socket and put it back in himself.  Arizona St. because it had the first "big game feel" to it.  Both teams were ranked in the top 15 and GameDay was there.  Washington because any game with them is huge.  This one was big because it meant so much to Washington fans.  An Oregon win put them back in their place.
   I also learned that I can break my Duck superstitions and the Ducks will still win.  By watching that game with friends at Big Al's - a sports bar in Beaverton - instead of alone, I was breaking a superstition of mine.  Well the Ducks won, and I had the time of my life celebrating the victory with my friends.
   And Stanford because it was Oregon's chance to get back in the national title picture.  Not only did they win, but they won convincingly, which was great!
   Then I learned that maybe I do need to follow my Duck superstitions leading up to the SC game.  You see, by being all cocky, karma came back to bite me in the ass.
   The number three Ducks came out sloppy and lost to a team they should've beaten.  They were 14 point favorites for a reason, they were the better team.  Just not on that day.  But once again they bounced back.  They crushed the beavers for their fourth straight win in the civil war, and had a relatively easy time in putting away UCLA in the first ever Pac 12 championship game.  That brings us to now.
   The Ducks are 11-2 and playing Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl, their second appearance in the grandaddy of them all in three years.  I have my thoughts about this game, and who I think could win.  I think the Ducks are very capable of winning, and if they are to win the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1917, they need to bring the team that showed up to beat Stanford, and not the team that lost to SC.
   One thing is certain, the Ducks need to win this game...plain and simple.  Fans are saying it, former players are saying it, current players and coaches are saying it as well.  To become a legitimate program the Ducks need to win.  It's no longer good enough just getting there.  They're on their way to being viewed as a cute little program that loses on the big stage.  I'm not gonna sugar coat it, the Ducks lose, and the season will be a disappointment.
   Another thing I learned is there are so many memorable moments you go through during the season, beyond just the game itself.  That's what college football does - it creates those memories.  Pukin your guts out at a game, having to sit on the cold pavement by the restroom (on a freezing cold night) because you can't even stand is a memory!  A more pleasant memory has been the people I've met, and formed friendships with.
   I wanna give a special shoutout to Jason and Landen Stiner, and the whole Stiner family.  I've learned a lot from Landen, like how to be stronger, and a better person.
   Also, shoutout to the dream team, Duck Pond Man, Don L. Sutton, Seymour Duck, Stacy Zook, Michael Ducklovegirl Simmons-Kelly (and her daughter), Pamela Perry, and anybody else I may have missed.
   BIG THANKS to Xile and Jared Sawyer for letting me be a part of O TIME, and John Laird...a BAMF if there ever was one.  The future is bright guys, and I look forward to learning new lessons, and more positive memories.

UCLA - All Glitz No Glamor: A Preview of the Pac 12 Championship Game.

I have a neighbor who lives up the street from me who’s a big Bruin fan, and lets me know about it every time I drive by with a shout of “go bruins,” or “Ducks suck.”  If he’s not saying something, you can still see it in his yard: all of his vehicles are decked out with bruin decals, he’s got bruin flags and jerseys in his garage, and every Christmas he puts out a large mechanical santa, dressed in a bruin football jersey, that wave at passerby’s.  It’s actually a pretty cool Santa – one of the nicer lawn ornaments in the neighborhood.
            This year my neighbor rolled out santa for what seems like the billionth time, and to his disappointment, it stopped waving.  You see, like his Santa, UCLA football is pretty from the outside, but faulty on the inside.  Like a Ferrari with a Kia for an engine.  They play in one of the most famous venues in sports (the Rose Bowl), constantly pull in some of the best recruiting classes in the nation, and are in a prime location in West LA, yet have nothing to show for it.  They’re perennial underachievers, and this year has been no different.
            UCLA came into the year once again with high expectations.  They had a disappointing year the season before, but they were young and still learning a new offense.  With many starters returning and another year under this system, many people (once again) thought highly of UCLA.  In fact, Kirk Herbstreet even picked them as his darkhorse team in the Pac 12.  Give him credit for UCLA making it to the title game, but they come in stumbling at 6-6, having just lost to their rival USC 50-0, and their coach reportedly being fired.
            Their reward for winning the south division?  A chance to get their ass kicked by Oregon in the first ever Pac 12 championship game.  A historical moment it will be, in a series that has had some memorable moments before, in a rivalry that used to be known as the Bruckbowl.  The rivalry kind of grew during the mid to late 90’s.  There were some pretty close games between the two; Oregon won on a last second field goal in back to back years in ’01, and ’02.  The latter of which may have led to the firing of former head coach Bob Toledo, who once was an assistant at Oregon.  In fact Toledo was one of a few coaches that have coached on both sidelines.
            UCLA leads the all-time series 38-26, but are just 2-8 vs. the Ducks since 2000, including a loss last year.  That was Oregon’s first game ever as being the nations #1 ranked team.  The game was also one of the first on ESPN 3D.  Oregon’s offense and yellow uniforms were on full display and looked brilliant in 3D, as they cruised to a 60-13 win.  The win was the most lopsided in the series, and the most points scored by one team. (you can find a link with highlights of that game at the end of the page).
            Other memorable moments for me include Gameday’s first ever visit to the west coast in 1998, in a matchup of two top 10 teams in Oregon and UCLA.  UCLA won in a close one, thanks in part due to Oregon losing Reuben Droughns to an injury during the game.  Also, Gameday’s first ever visit to Autzen stadium came in 2000, in a matchup between #6 UCLA and Oregon, who was also in the top 20 at the time.  I remember standing out in the cold of the morning freezing my ass off, with my good friend Grayson Boucher (who you may know as “The Professor” from streetball fame) for hours, waiting in line to be in the front row of Gameday.
            Oregon went on to win that day, 29-10, in front of a loud, and rowdy crowd at Autzen stadium.
            Beating the Bruins is something the Ducks have become accustomed to, and they’ll probably do it again this Friday.  The Ducks are 30 point favorites, and the Bruins stand little a chance in preventing the Ducks from making their second trip to the Rose Bowl in three years.
            Maybe that Santa was on to something when he stopped waving.  Knowing that rough times were ahead must’ve taken the cheerfulness right out of him.

NOTES:
  • Oregon is currently 10-2, making it their fourth straight season with at least 10 wins, and seventh all-time.
  • Oregon is the first ever Pac 12 North division champions
  • On the verge of becoming Pac 10/12 champions for the third consecutive time, and would be the 11th conference championship in school history.
Autzen stadium will be the host to the first ever Pac 12 championship game. You know that already, but still sounds cool.

Civil War Week

   Many of you (ok just a few probably) were wondering why I didn't do my usual Monday note on here?  It was because I've been down the last few days after that disappointing loss to SC.
   It was right there for the Ducks.  In what was supposed to be a 'rebuilding year' for them, here they were with just a few weeks left in the season in the mix for the national championship.
   Whether or not they would've made it is debatable, but no one will ever know now because they lost to a team the should've beaten.  They were a two touchdown favorite for a reason.  Maybe I wouldn't be so down if college football had a playoff system.
   Which brings me to my next point.
   I wouldn't be as down if I felt like the Ducks still had a chance to play for the national championship.  I'm sick of the BCS, and the emphasis placed on the regular season.
   All the people that worry a playoff system would ruin the regular season, look at the NFL.  They have a playoff system, and yet people still tune in every Sunday and Monday.  It's more popular than college football, so there's no reason why D1-A (or FBS if you wanna call it) can't have one.
   But, as Chip Kelly would say, the feel sorry train for me is leaving.  There's still plenty to feel good about.
   The Ducks still have a chance to be the first ever Pac 12 champions.  It would be three conference titles in a row.  They have a chance for a fourth straight 10+ win season, and they could even end with a 12 win season if they win out...including their bowl game, which would probably be the Rose Bowl, making it their third consecutive BCS bowl game.
   But it all starts this Saturday against Oregon state in the 115th edition of the civil war.
   The Ducks lead the all-time series 58-46-10, and have won three straight against the barkrats, including last year's 37-20 win at Reser.  Oregon is also 26-9-1 in the series since 1975.
   I'm not really gonna get into my thoughts for this game cause Oregon should win going away.  For me, this has probably been one of the least anticipated civil war games in a while.  The rats are horrible this year, and there's nothing on the line for them, so there's really no point in me wasting energy on them.
   Look I hate osu more than anybody, I could write a whole note on that, but kicking their ass when bowl positioning and conference championships are on the line, means more than when kicking their ass when they're having one of their worst year's in a while.
   Going way off topic here, but obviously Thanksgiving is coming up, which I've always kind of thought was an overrated holiday.  I happened to catch part of The Herd this morning, and Colin was talking about the same exact thing, which I thought was funny.  Glad somebody agree's with me.  The food is overrated, and sometimes just gross.  Green bean casserole?  Gyrating cranberry sauce?  Giblets?  If Thanksgiving food was sooo good, why do we only eat it one time a year?  Some foods taste good but still look nasty: stuffing, pumpkin pie (looks like baby poop), others.
   And Turkey, while I like it, isn't even my favorite protein.  I'd rather load up on pork or chicken or ham.
   And I also don't participate in overeating, so the whole idea of pigging out doesn't apply to me.
   And many people don't even realize how Thanksgiving originated anyway.  Like so many American things, it got passed down from generation to generation, and along the way, the stories of its origins have changed in one form or another. 
   It actually had nothing to do with 'pigging out' and the whole idea that it was a friendly dinner between pilgrims and indians is wrong too.  Do some history and find out.  But it still has a good meaning, which is taking some time out to give thanks...nothing wrong with that.  I'm thankful for a lot of things.  It's just that, canned yams and grandma's green bean casserole is not one of them.
   I hope everybody though has a great Thanksgiving, get your grub on if that's what you do, and keep reading!

Thoughts From Last Week, Looking Ahead to Oregon/Stanford

Gonna get to the Ducks in a minute, but first my thoughts on college football, starting with last week's "game of the century."
   Did it live up to the hype?  I would say no, but SEC honk will tell you otherwise.  That was just a good 'ole grudge-match.  A slobber knocker.  Whatever.
   Look it was a good game, and both teams had great defenses going in, I get that.  But neither team scored a touchdown, I don't need to see it again.  Should both teams win out, I don't wanna hear the controversy that there should be a re-match.
   I gotta burn on the Big East for a second.  This has been bothering me for a while now.  The Big East, or Big Least as I like to call it, should lose its A.Q. status from the BCS.  It's a joke.  The only legitimate teams that were there, are leaving.  You weren't a BCS conference before, and adding Boise State, UCF, SMU, Houston, and the service academies doesn't make you one now.
   Finally before I get to the Ducks, I wanna talk about this situation going on at Penn State.  It's disgusting, and JoPa comes out of this looking pretty bad.  AT BEST, he was oblivious to what was going on around him.  AT WORST, he was covering up child sex abuse for many years.  He's gotta go.
   Now onto the Ducks.
   That's now eight in a row over the huskies, all by at least 17 points.  And yet their fans will still tell you, we wanna be like them.  Riiiiiiiiight!  But now the Ducks got a huge match-up down on the farm against Stanford.  A game in which I think will be far more entertaining than last week's "game of the century."
   There have been some big moments throughout the history of this series, in which Stanford leads 44-29-1, but Oregon has gone 9-2 vs. the tree's since 1998.
   In 1994, Oregon beat Stanford 55-21 to keep their Rose Bowl hopes alive.  In 1995, Stanford probably cost Oregon a return trip to the Rose Bowl by beating them 27-24.  One of the highest combined conference scoring games came in 1997, in which Stanford won 58-49.  The Ducks crushed stanford in '98, 63-28.  The thing I remember most from that game was Michael Fletcher's HUGE hit on a kickoff (you can watch a clip of that at the end).  Of course no Duck fan will forget blowing two, 14 point, fourth quarter leads to Stanford in 2001, losing the game 49-42, and the loss costing Oregon a trip to the National Championship.  Then there was last year's game in which, Oregon came from 17 down, to dominate in the second half and win 52-31.
   That brings us to this year, which is probably the biggest in the series history, with some interesting sub plots.
   You have Oregon, which is new school, with their fancy uniforms and exciting offense going up against Stanford, which is old school, with its classic power I formation offense.
   They use a lot of TE's, they're gonna line it up, pound it, pound it, then hit you over the top with play action.  Which system will prevail?
   Stanford has the nations longest winning streak, and Oregon has the conference's longest winning streak.  Each team's last loss came to the other:  Oregon to Stanford in '09, Stanford to Oregon last year.
   There are also conference, BCS bowl positioning, and national championship implications on the line.  Should be a good game, and Wednesday I will give my thoughts on my feelings about Oregon's chances.

   ---As always, keep reading, and supporting Landon Stiner.

Border War: History of the Oregon, Washington Rivalry

As the Ducks get ready to battle the huskies this Saturday for the 104th time, I decided to take some time to reflect back on the rivalry, and what makes it special.
  
To the fans and players of both programs, it's a huge game.  To them, winning the annual game can make or break an entire season.
  
Former Duck great Rashad Bauman on the game, "this Oregon-Washington rivalry is something real special." Adding, "there's just a different friction when we go play with the huskies.  It's just different."
  
Husky fans can be seen wearing shirts that say, "beat Oregon.  Nothing else matters."
  
The conflict is marked by many heated exchanges between opposing coaches, players, and fans.  Over the years, the border battle has been symbolized by a college town dressed in green, a white uniform, a wooden hook, dog biscuits, a trick play, and a purple and gold bridge.
  
So when did all this hostility begin?
  
The rivalry started in 1900.  The Ducks owned the early years, accusing Washington of being too scared to play them on an annual basis.
  
Many people note 1948 as the beginning of the hostilities.  That was the year Oregon and Cal tied for the best record in what was then known as the PCC (Pacific Coast Conference).
  
Like today, the winner of the PCC would go on to play in the Rose Bowl.  The tie breaker format was set up so that, the ten conference teams would vote on who goes.  Six of the teams were in the northwest, only four were in California.  It was assumed Oregon would go, but Washington talked the University of Montana (then a member of the PCC) into voting for Cal.  Something Oregon fans would never forget.
  
In 1962, Larry Hill, of Oregon, was tackled by Washington fans who rushed on to the field while he was trying to catch the game winning touchdown.
  
The biggest point turn around in NCAA history came in 1973 to 1974, when Oregon beat Washington 58-0 in '73, Washington beat Oregon the following year, 66-0.
  
Probably the most significant play in Oregon history occurred against Washington in 1994.  Known as "the pick," with Washington threatening to take the lead late in the fourth quarter, Kenny Wheaton intercepted Damon Huard's pass, returning it 97 yards for the game sealing touchdown.
  
The win propelled the Ducks to the Rose Bowl, and forever changed the fortune's of the program.  Since that time, Oregon has gone 12-4 vs. the huskies.
  
In 1995, then Washington head coach Jim Lambright, lobbied for the huskies to play in the Cotton Bowl over Oregon, which prompted Seattle Post Intelligencer columnist Bud Withers to write that Lambright's actions, "invited at least another half-century worth of bile from Oregon fans."
  
The rivalry was given a boost when former Colorado Buffaloes head coach Rick Neuheisal was hired at Washington in 1999.  Duck fans, who refer to him as "the weasel" hated him for calling a fake punt in the 1996 Cotton Bowl, with his buffaloes leading 38-6 in the fourth quarter.
  
Oregon fans were accused of turning Neuheisal in for recruiting violations during the dead period.  Oregon also got into some trouble for showing some derogatory video on DuckVision of Neuheisal in front of Washington and Oregon recruits.
  
There was the stompin on the "O" at mid field following a husky victory at Autzen in 2002.   The following year, former Oregon player Keith Lewis promised a Duck victory, and said Oregon would stomp on the Washington "W" after they won.  That lead to a fight during the game, and to add insult to injury, Washington won the game in blowout fashion.
  
Since that moment, Oregon has owned Washington, winning seven in a row all by an average margin of victory of 24 points.  Both are records in the series history.
  
Oregon has also won two straight in Seattle, including their most recent visit in 2009, 43-19.
  
There's a lot of hype surrounding this year's meeting because, for the first time in a while, Washington is actually good.  The Ducks will definitely have to earn it.  It's the last game in Husky Stadium before the renovation, and the Ducks would love nothing more than to be known as the last team to win at Husky Stadium as we know it.
  
A Ducks win would also set up a HUGE showdown with conference and national implications the following week against Stanford.

SO DUCK FANS, ARE YOU READY?  IT'S BATTLE TIME!

Social Media Sites Aren't All That Bad

***This is not one of my better papers, but it's one I did that will be appearing in the Chemeketa Courier soon. I gave a mention to Landen Stiner though, and that's really all I wanted to do.  Obviously I like to write about sports, but this was good to kind of broaden my horizon's.***


                          Social Media Like Facebook Is Changing the Ways People Build Relationships

    There’s this common misconception that social media is bad.  According to socialmediaexaminor.com, 75% of U.S. households have a profile on a social media network.  Many of them have more than one.  Facebook is the most popular of these sites, with over 500 million users worldwide. With so many users online, they can’t all be using it in a bad way, can they?  Sites such as Facebook can be used in a variety of positive ways to strengthen relationships, connect strangers based on mutual interest’s, and be used to bring about change.
    How many stories have you heard of where long lost family members are able to reunite for the first time?  Or maybe childhood friends that lost touch over the years, were able to find each other through Facebook?  How many of you know family members who are scattered across the country, and their only means of communication and keeping in touch with each other is Facebook?  Maybe you’re one of them?  That’s what these sites can do for you.  According to Jeff Hancock, PHD, Director of Graduate Studies in the department of communication at Cornell University, “allowing people to stay in touch in so many ways can strengthen our ability to have close relationships.”  By connecting with friends, or family members on a social networking site, you’re able to keep in touch with family or friends that you otherwise might not have been able too.  You can also make new friends through social networking.
    A shared interest or passion can be the foundation of a cross country friendship with somebody you previously did not know.  For example, you might share a passion with others about a particular sports team, band, movie, or book, and you decide to organize a meeting each month - complete with time and location - in which you will get together and discuss said passion.  The more you communicate online with them, and in person, you’re relationship will grow from being acquaintances to actual friends that you can count on in a time of need.  Such was the case with Jason Stiner, who’s six year old son Landen, is battling Leukemia.
    Jason, a fan of the Oregon Ducks, was able to connect with Duck fans on Facebook he didn’t know.  Word got out that Jason’s son had Leukemia, and almost immediately, idea’s for funds and charities were popping up on Facebook to help Landen.  Them movement spread like wildfire.  A Landen Stiner group  was organized in which, members come up with different ways to raise awareness.  As a result, t-shirts have been made, bumper stickers have been printed, auctions have been setup, bracelets are on the way, a Facebook page for Landen has been created (which you can find a link to at the end of this paper), and an official tailgating destination is set up the week before each game.  Invites are sent out over Facebook, and it’s open to the public.  There are donation jars around the site, and even if you don’t want to donate, you can show up and still have a good time.  Nearly 2,000 people showed up to the last one, including a few celebrities, and was even covered by the local news.
    Social media isn’t all bad, as some people make it out to be.  It can build and strengthen relationships with people you already know, by providing you another way of keeping in touch with them.  It can connect you with strangers based on common interest’s, and that connection can develop into actual friendship, in which you can use in a time of need.  Like many things, if used in the wrong way, it can be bad.  If you’re one of the people that thinks all social media sites are bad, I hope I’ve influenced your decision a little bit.  These are just a few examples that I provided of how, if you look a little closer, you’ll see that social media sites aren’t all that bad after all.

www.facebook.com/LandenStiner

Midseason Thoughts

   Here we are at the midway point of the season, and we've come a long way since that horrible opening day loss.
   Oregon has since won five in a row, and is currently ranked 8th or 9th in the nation, depending on what poll you use.  They are also ranked 10th in the first BCS poll, which came out earlier this week.  Oregon has been in the top 10 of the BCS every year since 2009.  Just another indication that Oregon truly is an elite level program. Another indication is their depth.
   Oregon has been hit with two devastating injuries in the past couple of weeks that would have crippled the program in years past.
   Starting running back LaMichael James, who's the nation's leading rusher, missed all of last week's win over Arizona State with a dislocated elbow.  QB Darron Thomas missed virtually the entire second half of that game with, "knee issues."
   James is tough though, and will be back.  And Thomas says he'll be fine:  "my knee got landed on the wrong way."  Adding, "I'm going to be fine."
   If they're not fine, Oregon now has quality backups - good enough to start at most schools - ready to step up.
   We've all seen what Barner and DAT are capable of at running back.
   Bennett, a redshirt freshman at QB, was effective in running the read option Saturday when Thomas went down.  He rushed for 65 yards on 5 carries, and had runs of 36 and 18 yards on the Ducks' 5 play 88 - yard drive that was culminated by Barner's 5 - yard touchdown run.
   Compare this to the '07 or '98 teams.  Both were on their way to having magical seasons, until injuries got in the way.
   In the case of the 1998 team, they finished with a respectable 8-4 record.  But it could've been so much better.  The season ended with a disappointing loss in some bowl game in Hawaii, that no longer exists, on Christmas Day, to Colorado, 51-43.
   Speaking of the Buffs, that's who the Ducks play next, as they travel to Folsom Field.
   Located in Boulder, it is one of the most scenic settings you will find in college football.  The south endzone was featured in the opening and closing credits of the late 1970's show Mork and Mindy, which was set in Boulder.  It used to get pretty rowdy back when Colorado was in their prime, but I don't expect it to get rowdy, or be anywhere near its capacity of 53,000.
   The Buffs are having a down year at 1-5, and even with all the injuries, Oregon comes in as 31 1/2 point favorites.  Oregon also comes in with the nations #3 scoring offense, and the #5 total offense.  Colorado is 113th in the nation in defense, and their offense isn't much to speak about either.
   I look for Oregon to be able to run the ball, and get pressure on their QB.  The Buffs are also one of the worst in the country in terms of sacks allowed.
  This is the 16th meeting all-time between both schools.  Colorado leads the series 8-7.  Oregon won the last meeting in the 2002 Fiesta bowl, 38-16.  Oregon also won on their last trip to Boulder in 1987, 10-7.  What that means for this Saturday is nothing, just thought I would throw that out there.

That's all I have for now, but you're gonna wanna lookout for my next entry as I'll have thoughts on the college football landscape in general.  Who I think the top teams are, I got a problem with the Big East (which is big in name only), and one other thing I'm burning on that has been bothering me for a while. You may like it!

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND: WHAT I'M BURNING ON; HANK WILLIAMS, MLB POSTSEASON, OREGON DUCKS, ANDREW LUCK

I've had a lot of people lately sending me messages, asking why I haven't posted any notes lately?  Well that was something I was mainly doing during the summer months, once school was out, and I needed something to do to keep practicing my writing skills.  Now that school has started again, I actually HAVE work to do, and papers to hand in, so this has kind of takin a backseat.  However, you speak and I listen.  If what you want from me is another note on my take on things, then that is what you'll get!  With that said, here's what I've been burning on lately.
   As many of you know (and some of you don't) Hank Williams Jr. - famous for his "are you ready for some football" song for Monday Night Football - will no longer be singing his little song.  Whether he was fired, or left ESPN on his own, doesn't matter.  The issue here is why he's gone and what he said.  He stirred up controversy on a show called Fox and Friends (sounds like something my niece would watch, not some news program) last week by making some wacky analogy between Obama and Hitler.  When asked about it later, he wouldn't come off it, and instead dug his hole deeper by calling them (obama/biden) the enemies.  A failed attempt at humor and not surprisingly, ESPN suspended him last week, which eventually led to his termination.  Here's my take on it: ESPN made a mistake by letting him go.  Who HASN'T heard the phrase or song "are you ready for some football?"  MNF has gone through many changes over the years and is slowly becoming more and more small time.  From changing many announcers (Dennis Miller anyone?) to losing Madden and Michaels, then going from network tv to cable.  Are you ready for some football has been the one thing that has stayed the same.  A tradition if you will.  And now it's gone because we live in such a politically correct culture, ESPN caved in to what would've been pressure from some group of protestors, our some form of outcry, and let him go.  Last time I checked, there's this little thing called the right to free speech.  You don't have to agree with what Williams said, and I don't, but he has his right to his opinion and shouldn't lose his job over it.  But I also feel that ESPN, as a company, has a right to protect their interests, and it is within their rights to fire him.  It's unfortunate but if NBC is smart, they'll pick him up for their Sunday Night Football telecast, which is better than MNF now anyway.  They get the better games, it's on network tv still, have better announcers (except I do like Gruden on MNF) so it would make since for him to go there.  Sorry but Faith Hill and her little song doesn't get me ready for football.  Hank Williams would be a major upgrade.  On to the baseball postseason.
   I've heard many people recently talking about how great the first round of the playoffs have been, because so many series' went 5 games.  Wonder what those same people are saying now that the Yankees, Red Sox, and Phillies have been eliminated.  Anybody excited for a potential world series match between the Brewers and Rangers, or Cardinals and Tigers?  Because that's what you might get now.
   Speaking of the Phillies, they were baseball's version of a dream team heading into the season with their 4 or 5 aces that they picked up during the offseason.  And how did that work out?  A loss in the first round.  They failed to live up to the hype, just as the NBA's dream team (Heat) did, and the NFL's dream team (Eagles) currently are doing.  The Oregon Ducks have a dream team of a backfield, and they are certainly producing.  Here are some numbers from their latest beatdown win, 43-15 over Cal:
  • JR RB LaMichael James rushed for 239 yards on 30 carries, surpassing the 4,000-yard mark and moving into fifth place all-time in conference history with 4,129 yards.
  • James became the first Duck to record three straight 200-yard rushing efforts and first player in the FBS with three in a row since Tulane's Matt Forte in 2007. The last Pac-10/12 player to do it more times was USC's Marcus Allen (5) in 1981.
  • FR RB De'Anthony Thomas became the first Duck with 100-plus receiving yards in a game this season with 114 on six receptions. He had a career-best three touchdowns, two receiving and one rushing.
  • JR RB Kenjon Barner set a career-long on his 68-yard touchdown run in the 3rd quarter.
  • JR QB Darron Thomas has at least one touchdown pass in 18 straight games, the second-longest streak in the nation.
  • Thomas had gone 110 pass attempts without an interception before a pick by Cal's D.J. Campbell in the 2nd quarter.
  • After the INT, Thomas went 5 for 6 for 95 yards and three touchdowns.
  • JR CB Cliff Harris had a season and game-high three pass breakups.
  • As a team, the Ducks broke up a season-high 14 passes.
  • JR FS John Boyett recorded his second blocked kick of the season and career when he tipped Cal's 40-yard attempt by Giorgio Tavecchio at the end of the first half.
  • James first touch of the game went for a 53-yard touchdown run, his third rushing score of 50 or more yards this season.
  • The Ducks have now won 19 consecutive games at Autzen Stadium, dating to 2008, and 14 straight conference games - both at home and overall. UO improved to 4-0 in Thursday night games at Autzen.
  • Oregon shutout its opponent in the second half for the second time this season (Missouri State, Sept. 17).
  • The last three times the Ducks have trailed at home at the half, they have won by margins of 28, 19 (vs. Arizona in 2010) and 21 (vs. Stanford in 2010).
  • Oregon's 43 points were its fewest at home since 37 in a 37-33 victory vs. Oregon State Dec. 3, 2009.
  • The crowd of 58,796 (capacity 54,000) marked the 77th consecutive sellout at Autzen Stadium, dating to 1999. The last non-sellout was Sept. 18, 1999 vs. Nevada.
   Oh and LaMichael James was also clocked at running 24 MPH on several of his runs of over 20 yards or more by ESPN during the game.  He'll have to get healthy if Oregon wants to beat Stanford, who is led by probably the nations No.1 QB in Andrew Luck.  No question he is good, but I'm getting a little sick of hearing about it.  Especially here on the westcoast.  You would think this guy turns wine into water or something, I mean he's so perfect (being sarcastic here) he could do no wrong.  Makes me wanna puke.  This is Tebow but worse, and dude looks like he belongs in the Rat Family.  I hope somebody from Oregon knocks him on his back, and the Ducks crush the Cardinal again.  We owe them one down there on the farm (the last Pac 12 game Oregon lost a couple years ago).