As I stated in my article about the absurdity of Marcus Mariota falling to the 13th pick in the draft, NFL “experts” don’t always respect our Oregon Ducks. Mariota isn’t the only player to fall victim to this bias, with...
Over the next two weeks, FishDuck.com Feature Writer Caleb Couturie will be analyzing the 25 teams in the NFL Draft that may look to select Marcus Mariota. **DISCLAIMER: This is part of a project FOR FUN. All trades suggested are merely hypotheticals, and...
It’s been an interesting week for Chip Kelly’s Eagles. The New York Giants built up to their NFC East showdown with Philadelphia by talking trash all week and literally stomping on the midfield Eagle...
The Philadelphia Comcast Sportsnet branch reported Thursday morning that while former Oregon head coach Chip Kelly was offensive coordinator for the University of New Hampshire, Tom Coughlin interviewed him for — and offered — a job with the New York Giants.
[gn_quote style=”1″]“It was a quality control position,” Kelly said. “It wasn’t a coaching position. When you get to a point where I was, doesn’t matter what level you’re at, you’re designing offenses, you’re calling plays, coaching an individual position. Even though it’s a huge step up going from New Hampshire to the Giants, that was it.”[/gn_quote]
He obviously turned the job down when offered, taking his talents west to Eugene to be first offensive coordinator then head coach for the Ducks. Kelly spent four years as head coach here before taking a job with the Philadelphia Eagles.
This news was released in light of Kelly’s Eagles taking the road to New York to face Coughlin’s Giants this Sunday. After a big win over Washington in week one, Philly’s lost three straight in struggling fashion, giving up 52 to Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos last week.
The Philadelphia-New York game takes place at 11 a.m. PST on Fox.
— Sam Finley, EDN Sports Editor
Usually, I will not say that officiating was the reason for why a game was won or lost. It is true that some referees are a little better than others, but that shouldn’t decide matters as long as teams play as they’re supposed to play.
That wasn’t the case on Saturday night at Colorado, however. The Oregon men’s basketball team had the chance for another road sweep in front of them. They were tied 71-71 with mere seconds to go, and it looked like the matter would be settled in overtime.
Unfortunately for the Ducks, a rather bizzare whistle was blown and changed the scenario. It appeared that E.J. Singler had cleanly blocked a shot by Colorado guard Nate Tomlinson. Instead, a foul was inexplicably called with one second remaining.
Tomlinson went to the line and hit one free throw and that was enough for the Buffaloes to edge Oregon 72-71. Sure, that one play alone did not doom the Ducks in the end. They missed some shots that could’ve been made, etc.
Still, in all my years watching basketball, the referee usually won’t make a call in the final seconds unless someone hits the ground or takes one in the face. Anything less than that, an official will let the guys play.
That’s what should have happened here, especially when the game is deciding where teams wind up in the Pac-12 Standings. In all honesty, Colorado probably had the edge if the game had gone to OT. Singler, Tony Woods, and Olu Ashaolu were all in foul trouble late and losing one of them would’ve seriously hurt their chances of winning.
That’s not the point here. The issue is that the game was decided on a dubious whistle. It’s the type of move that cheapens the outcome of events and makes fans wonder if the sport is on the up and up.
I’m not saying that college basketball is headed the way of the WWE over this matter. (Far from it). But it’s something that the Pac-12 needs to make sure doesn’t happen again. No matter who you wanted to see win over the weekend, you have to admit that it is never a good thing when something like this occurs.
Regardless, the Ducks can’t look back on this bad call for too long. With an overall 16-7 record (7-4 in Pac-12 play), this team still has a shot at winning the conference. Failing that, they can also finish as one of the top four in the standings (guaranteeing them a first round bye in the Pac-12 Tournament).
That said, it won’t be any easy task at hand this week. Oregon has been inconsistent at home, and they will need a sweep to stay in the hunt. Considering how well Washington (who they face on Thursday) has played as of late, that’s not exactly a get-well card. Ditto for Washington State on Saturday, who can be dangerous at times.
By the same token, this is also where a good team can show what they’re made of. If the Ducks can perform well at Matt Knight Arena, then they just might begin setting up a legitimate argument for getting in the NCAA Tournament. If they don’t, it could be a struggle to make the NIT. The next few weeks should be very interesting, indeed.
Now let’s talk a little bit about the Super Bowl before I wrap this one up. As predicted here last week, the New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots 21-17. Okay, so I was off on the score (I said the G-Men would take it 28-24), but it otherwise went as I thought it would go.
You’ve got to tip your hat to Eli Manning. For years, he’s been doubted and has lived in the shadow of his brother Peyton. At the end of the day, however, he’s won two Super Bowls and has been named the MVP in both of them.
Now, you can legitimately argue that his big bro (when healthy) is still a much better quarterback. But how can you not say that Eli is now one of the best signal callers in the NFL today? If this latest win doesn’t give him that deserved recognition in your eyes, I don’t know what will.
Over on the Patriots’ side, I’ve heard some post-game murmurs that this loss has ‘diminished’ Tom Brady’s legacy as one of the best quarterbacks of all-time. Diminished? How? The guy has started in five Super Bowls and has won three of them.
Furthermore, saying that this setback ruins his overall body of work implies that Brady won’t ever play in another one of these games again. For the record, I see him getting back to the Super Bowl at least one more time. If he wins that one, it’ll mean taking four out of six tries.
Even if he doesn’t, Brady has still established himself as one of the top ten quarterbacks of all time. ‘Nuff said.
Oh, not quite. Someone asked me who I believe are the top five quartebacks I’ve ever seen play. Well, here’s my list: 5) Tom Brady. 4) Dan Marino. 3) Dan Fouts. 2) Joe Montana. 1) John Elway.
I know that list won’t make a lot of folks happy, and I’ll clarify my rankings on of these days. Unfortunately, I’ve run out of time and word space.
So until next time, I’ll see you in the bleachers.
— Sam Finley, EDN Sports Editor
We’ll get to the men’s Civil War basketball game in a minute. In the meantime, you didn’t ask me for this piece of information, but whomever wins the Super Bowl on Sunday will result in a former Oregon player getting a ring. That’s right, the big game in Indianapolis will have a ‘Ducky’ feel to it.
On the New England side, there is safety Patrick Chung. One of the best defensive backs in Oregon history has performed admirably at the pro level. He’s made a lot of big plays for the Patriots with an interception here or a special teams play there.
However, Spencer Paysinger has also quietly established himself with the New York Giants in his rookie season. The ex-Duck linebacker has 11 tackles this year, and should make a lot more before it’s all said and done.
Thus, with both teams having a U of O alum on their roster, I can neutralize that as a reason to take one side over the other. So let me tell you how I see this coming out in objective fashion.
On paper, it looks like the Patriots will roll in this one. They remember how the Giants ruined their undefeated season in that Super Bowl a few years ago, and a lot of people will tell you it’s not smart to bet against Tom Brady. Furthermore, the Giants snuck into the playoffs with a 9-7 record.
Ahhh, that’s where it gets interesting. Sure, the Giants didn’t have the prettiest of regular seasons. Nonetheless, they won when they had to and they seem to be playing their best football at the right time.
The matchup between Brady and Eli Manning is a compelling subplot to this story, too. Brady has won three Super Bowls, and will undoubtedly go down as one of the five greatest quartebacks of all time.
Meanwhile, Eli Manning has lived in the shadow of his big brother Peyton for years. People sometimes forget that he, like Peyton, also has a championship ring on his finger. If he wins on Sunday, it’ll mean he’ll have two in his collection. (Trust me, big brother will trade in his records for that honor).
So how does this play out? I see a tough battle and, having a lot of friends who are Patriots’ fans, it would be easy for me to say I’m rooting for a good game. Admittedly, my head is saying ‘New England’ while my heart is saying ‘New York.’
But I’ll go with the latter this time. This one will go back and forth and history will repeat itself. The Giants upset the Patriots once more 28-24.
Now let’s talk about that Civil War game. These match ups have gotten more competitive in recent years, and the one at Matt Arena definitely went down to the wire. But who saw this coming? Oregon State beating Oregon 76-71? I certainly saw a tight affair, but thought the Ducks would take it.
A big reason for the Beavers’ upset was the 27 points from Jared Cunningham. He’s become their playmaker, and hit some crucial three-pointers down the stretch.
“It’s our rival school and it was a big game with a great crowd, ” said Cunningham afterwards. “We had a lot of Beaver fans out there. I think we turned the corner with this win, especially with it being the Civil War game. It means a lot to Beaver nation.”
OSU may have turned a corner on their season, indeed. They’re now 4-5 in Pac-12 play (14-7 overall), and made a statement by beating their arch-enemies on their own floor. If they can perform like this the rest of the way, there might be a few more shockers before it’s all over.
For Oregon, however, the feeling has to be very bittersweet. Yes they’re still very much in the Pac-12 race with a 6-3 conference record (15-6 overall). But the Ducks didn’t play like a contender over the weekend.
Oregon sputtered around in the first half, and some of their mistakes finally came back to bite them in the second. Devoe Joseph did his part with 26 points, but received little help. Still, he argued it wasn’t lack of scoring that did his team in.
“It was more about defense and turnovers than offense,” Joseph explained. “It is disappointing. Any time you play at home, you expect to win. But we weren’t aggressive. It’s what we didn’t do, not what they did.”
He’s right. The two things that have been the Ducks achilles’ heel bit them hard against OSU. Their inconsistency on defense was apparent as Cunningham and Ahmad Starks (who had 15 points) lit up the scoreboard. And you’re not going to beat many teams when you turn the ball over 23 times. It’s something that Oregon will have to minimize when they head out on road against Colorado and Utah this week to keep their postseason hopes on track.
“We can’t lose home games and be in the huddle,” said Oregon head coach Dana Altman. “We have some serious work on the road this upcoming week.”
Whatever happens, the situation in the Pac-12 just got a little more interesting. How it all winds up is anyone’s guess.
Now, here’s a quick item before I wrap this up. Last Friday, EDN launched a live blog for what we think is the biggest game in prep basketball. We’ll be doing it again this coming Thursday night when Sheldon visits Marist. Check out the sports section about 7pm that evening, and see how this game between two of the state’s best teams is covered.
Until next time, I’ll see you in the bleachers.
— Sam Finley, EDN Sports Editor
An amazing men’s basketball game on Saturday. UCLA had Oregon dead in the water in the first half with a 37-24 lead. The Ducks couldn’t hit a shot into the Willamette River, while the Bruins’ big men dominated the paint.
But a funny thing happened after halftime. Oregon came out firing on all cylinders, while UCLA’s inside presence went from titanium to tissue. As a result, the Ducks were able to pull out a 75-68 victory at Matt Knight Arena.
Let’s be clear about something: This was a game Oregon would not have won last year or the year before. E.J. Singler, who led the Ducks with a career-high 26 points, considers this win a character check.
“We showed toughness and heart today,” said Singler. “Coming out and winning feels good, shows we have heart, and that means a lot.”
It means plenty for their place in the Pac-12 standings, too. The Ducks now have a 6-2 conference record, and are tied for first place with Cal. Still, there’s plenty of basketball to be played, and Oregon will have to be ready for every opponent.
They certainly won’t be taking Oregon State lightly when they come to town this coming Sunday. Sure, the Beavers haven’t lit up the conference this season, but they have won two in a row and have the talent to upset a lot of teams.
“They can beat anyone in the conference,” Singler explained. “Their stats don’t show how good they are playing. They are playing very tough.”
Meanwhile, the Oregon women’s basketball team might be getting it together as well. After getting thumped 92-73 at USC Thursday, the Ducks came out with a much better performance Saturday. Thanks to the 21 points from Jasmin Holliday, they stunned UCLA 82-63 and this could change the outlook for their season.
Had they lost this one, the perception would’ve been that another subpar season was on the way in the Willamette Valley. Instead, the Ducks now have an overall 11-9 record and are perhaps a few more wins away from some kind of postseason berth.
They still need to play with a tad more consistency, but it appears that Paul Westhead has this program on the right track. Good for him. His legendary status in the game of hoops aside, it is always a pleasure to talk to this man and I hope he can add to his illustrious resume while he’s in Eugene.
Of course, you can check out plenty more about the basketball scene this coming Wednesday when our weekly college hoops roundup comes out. It should become required reading for many weeks to come.
Moving onto the football soap opera, you might need to add another name to the departing list. First, LaMichael James declared for the NFL Draft. Then last week, Darron Thomas decided to also take his game to the next level. Now, rumor has it that Chip Kelly might be taking the head coaching job with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
By the time you read this column, the deal could be done. If so, it’s hard to say why Chip exactly took the job at this time. Maybe he felt that, after three consecutive BCS Bowl appearances, that it was time for a new challenge that only the NFL could provide. (ED – According to ESPN, Chip Kelly has declined the Buccaneers offer of immense wealth and status.)
Whatever the rationale, a quick word or two for those now believing that the sky is falling. It’s important to remember that while Kelly did have unprecedented success at Oregon, the foundation for those accomplishments had been paved for many years (going back to Rich Brooks). Second, if Chip does leave, there are a lot of high-profile coaches that will want to take his place.
This is still a team loaded with talent and the fancy facilities are about to get that much fancier. I could see Chris Petersen from Boise State taking a phone call on this one. Heck, I could even see a wild card like Jon Gruden considering coming here.
The point is that whether Kelly stays or goes, the recent successes of Oregon football are not coming to an end. They are still very much in the beginning stages. Should be fun watching this whole thing play out, either way.
But since we are talking about the NFL, let’s shift the attention to this past weekend’s playoff action. In the NFC Championship, the New York Giants eeked out a 20-17 overtime win over the San Francisco 49ers. Why do I bring this up? Because this game increased my admiration for one Eli Manning.
The guy won a Super Bowl a few years ago, but people have dismissed him and claim he’ll never be as good of a quarterback as his brother Peyton. Yet, despite the odds, he helped quietly lead the Giants to three impressive playoff victories over the Falcons, Packers, and the Niners.
In the most recent case, he was repeatedly knocked onto the muddy turf but was able to get up and throw for over 300 yards and two touchdowns. Oh, and if the Giants win the big game against New England in a couple weeks, it would give him two Super Bowl rings to his big brother’s one. Should that happen, wouldn’t that make Eli the better quarterback of the two? I sure think it would.
Now for a quick word on something else you could be seeing this coming Friday. As I’ve stated many times, I’m ramping up the prep coverage in this sports section. If the logistics are worked out in the next couple of days (as I think they will), I’ll make a point of formally announcing what we’ll be bringing to the table for the remainder of the year in the weekly prep basketball roundup. Right now, all I can say is I’m excited about the potential this new component could have and I think you will be too.
Until next time, I’ll see you in the bleachers.
By Sam Finley, EDN Sports Editor
You hear the word ‘resolve’ a lot in the world of sports. It’s mostly said by coaches hoping that their team will rebound after a tough game. I suppose you could argue that some other words could be used instead, but maybe it is a good time for me to suggest some quick resolutions for some folks in the realm I cover.
First of all, I have a resolution for Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback Tony Romo. After years of bravado, maybe it’s time for this signal caller to put up or shut up. How do you keep Romo away from your festivites? Tell him he’ll have to play a big game there.
Seriously, I’m tired of hearing that this guy could be the next Brett Favre. (Though he does have the off-field drama queen role down pat). Either he shows what he can do in a pressure situation (this weekend against the Giants is a great opportunity) or it is time to turn off the hype machine.
Next up, LeBron James. We know what this so-called “King” can do in the NBA regular season. However, we’ve been told that LeBron just needed a better cast of characters around him before he could win the title.
That excuse floated out the window when he left Cleveland for Miami last year, and he started talking about the multiple championships that the Heat would acquire. Funny thing is, in the 2011 NBA Finals, the best player on the court was Dallas’ Dirk Nowitski (who let his game do the talking for him).
Therefore, until the Miami Heat win the big one, maybe it’s time all of us have this joint resolution: We saw Michael Jordan play. Michael Jordan was the greatest basketball player of all time. LeBron James, you’re no Michael Jordan.
Now for a more local resolution. For the Oregon football team, it’s pretty simple. The Ducks have had three marvelous seasons under head coach Chip Kelly. Going to two Rose Bowls in the past three years (and playing in the BCS championship in the one between) is nothing to sneeze at.
But in early 2012, they need to do something to solidify their 2011 campaign as a step in an even higher direction. They’re playing Wisconsin in Pasadena this Monday, and should probably borrow the mantra from the late Al Davis. Yep, they need to “just win, baby.”
You’ll find a an article written by myself an Mr. Don Smalley on what the Ducks (and Badgers) need to do to come out ahead on Monday. What that article DOESN’T tell you is what will happen.
As I see it, it comes down to one factor I didn’t list: De’Anthony Thomas. The freshman phenom can do it all from lining up in the backfield, running a pass route, even returning kicks. Some have said Oregon hasn’t seen an offense like Wisconsin’s yet. (That’s bunk! They were called the Stanford Cardinal).
The truth is, I don’t think the Badgers (or any other Big-10 school) has seen an athlete quite like DAT this year. I’m looking for him to have a big day in front of his Southern California relatives, and that’ll be a big reason why the Ducks will finally get that elusive Rose Bowl win. Here’s my prediction: Oregon 42, Wisconsin 31.
Let’s get to one or two of my resolutions before I wrap this one up. First, I intend to keep my long standing resolution not to every play leap frog with a unicorn. (I’ve heard that can be painful). I’m also planning to try and be a little nicer…but we’ll see how that goes. It may take a little more ‘resolve’ on my part.
Seriously, 2011 had it’s ups and downs for me. But this was a good year, and my resolution is to take the EDN sports section and continue to mold it into something worthy of your constant attention. We’ve had some great articles in our first year, but we want to take what is good and make it even better.
We’re going to be starting some weekly reviews for both college and prep basketball that I know you’ll want to read. You’ll also find even more profiles than ever before. For that matter, you’ll probably find EDN in some places you didn’t necessarily think we’d go. Here’s a perfect example: The WWE is coming to Matt Knight Arena in February, and I intend to be there. (Look out Triple H, here I come). So check back here and watch the evolution happen.
Until next time, I’ll see you in the bleachers.