College Football

The End of Oregon’s Golden Era

“Success comprises in itself the seeds of its own decline and sport is not spared by this law” Pierre de Coubertin

Oregon Football use to be the toast of the college football universe. The program had great facilities, incredible boosters, and an avid fan base. With Nike’s backing, the team had unlimited uniform combinations and tons of media coverage.

However, success is fueled by wins, and when losses mount…well…college football can be a fickle lover.

Following a disastrous Alamo Bowl loss, in which Oregon once lead by more than 30-points, and a 2016 campaign that finished with an abysmal four wins. The once proud program finished at the bottom of its conference and division.

Something needed to be done, so the University of Oregon’s Athletic Department made a drastic move. A maneuver that hadn’t been done since the 1970s. Fire its head coach.

The last firing of an Oregon Football Head Coach occurred in 1976, when Don Reid was dismissed. During the last 40-years, the program has hired head coaches from within its system. A strategy that’s created a continuity unrivaled in college football; however, that streak ended in 2016 with the termination of Mark Helfrich.

Why? Coach Helfrich took over a program that was souring. His tenure as head coach saw a decline in recruiting, a breakdown in discipline, and slippage in fan enthusiasm.

The decline in Oregon’s play prompted an interesting piece by AlmostDailyBrett, which attempts to explain ” The End of Oregon’s Golden Era.”

Oregon alumni and fans can only hope that Oregon’s decline is short lived. Perhaps, the UO’s Athletic Department has taken a step in the right direction by hiring its new head coach: Willie Taggart.

Duck Nation will soon see if Coach Taggart and his new coaching staff corrects Oregon’s woes. Just maybe, he is the shot in the arm that is needed to right the ship and return the Ducks to their Golden Era.




Mariota Wins The Heisman!

A new day dawned for fans of the Oregon Ducks. A decade and a half of building a winning program culminated in the schools first Heisman trophy winner.

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Marcus Mariota’s talent has been no secret at Oregon, and now the world knows just how talented the Hawaiian native is. This year’s Heisman winner received the second highest vote totals (90.9%) in the trophy’s 80-year history.

Another first for Mariota is that he is the first man from Hawaii, and the first Polynesian, to win the Heisman trophy.

The next step in Oregon’s history will be to bring home a national championship, but for now. Duck fans should all be celebrating this historic moment because years of hard work and sacrifice have paid off.

Congratulations to Marcus Mariota and the Oregon Ducks.

More information on the vote and the trophy’s history can be found at the official Heisman website:!the-vote/c2b1

BCS: Out In Style

Sports do not build character. They reveal it.– Heywood Broun

Screen Shot 2014-01-07 at 1.44.11 PMDuring its much-aligned existence, the BCS always had its critics. In its 16-year run there were countless tweaks to how it operated. Despite the fixes the system was far from perfect, but in its final year the BCS era ends with a bang.

This year’s bowls (Rose, Fiesta, Sugar, Orange) were by far the best series of games the BCS has presented. The Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio (#5 Stanford vs. #4 Michigan State) was a back and forth game that ended with a brutal defensive stand, which handed the victory to the Michigan State Spartans. Until that last play the game was in doubt.

The Tostitos Fiesta Bowl (#15 UCF vs. #6 Baylor) didn’t have the dramatic alternating lead changes like the Stanford/Michigan State game did, but it featured a huge upset when the BCS buster UCF Knights beat the high-octane offense the Baylor Bears.

Following the New Year’s Day BCS games, the Allstate Sugar Bowl featured the #3, two-time national champion, Alabama Crimson Tide battling the #11 Oklahoma Sooners. This skirmish had four lead changes. Alabama had a chance to tie the game with a touchdown drive during the final 47-seconds; their hopes were dashed when A.J. McCarron coughed up the ball and Geneo Grissom returned the fumble for an eight-yard touchdown. If that wasn’t enough, a botched kickoff recovered by Oklahoma ended any chance for a miracle for the Crimson Tide.

On January 3rd the Discover Orange Bowl hosted the #7 Ohio State Buckeyes verses the #12 Clemson Tigers. This game featured more than a 1000-yards of offense and four lead changes. The game was sealed when Stephone Anthony intercepted Braxton Miller’s pass at Clemson’s 39-yard line with 87-seconds remaining in the game.

The BCS Championship Game couldn’t have been scripted any better. #1 Florida State Seminoles and #2 Auburn Tigers colliding for the ultimate prize: The NCAA Coaches Trophy. This game had it all. One team takes a commanding 21-3 lead early in the game, a valiant come from behind challenge (featuring a 100-yard kickoff return to take the lead), and a championship drive to win the game with only 13-seconds remaining. The heroics of the athletes on both sides were stellar examples of what makes college football special.

These final BCS era games are examples of what college football post-season should be. In many respects, this year’s bowl games raised the bar for what the new playoff system should strive to deliver every year. I believe it’s possible if the new playoff system doesn’t implode under the weight of bias and conference tie-ins that plagued the BCS during its run.


BCS Championship

Orange Bowl

Fiesta Bowl

Rose Bowl

Sugar Bowl

CFB Playoffs: A Quagmire In The Making

Football is an incredible game. Sometimes it’s so incredible, it’s unbelievable­–Tom Landry

Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 1.57.25 PMCollege football’s new playoff system is only a year away. I was excited to see this development finally come to about, until I read about the framework that is in place to decide the teams. Now I’m hesitant because the structure that is in place will undoubtedly bring chaos, perplexity, and disenchantment.

During the BCS era, controversy was the rule, not the exception, when it came to the BCS championship. I give the BCS some credit because it was a huge step in the right direction compared to the old system. Under the pre-BCS system sport’s writers and pundits would vote for a national champion following the bowl season. This format obviously left a lot to be desired because the best teams may never play one another. In fact, in many cases this system left the championship in dispute.

The BCS promised to fix this major oversight by giving college football fans an undisputed national champion, and for a little bit it did provide a nice alternative to the old system. However, it did not take long for the BCS system’s subjectivity and bias to rear it ugly head. As stated above, “during the BCS era controversy was the rule, not the exception….” This is seen in a number of championship selection controversies that ran throughout the 16-year existence of the BCS.

Now, a playoff is set to debut in 2014. Oddly enough, the executive director of the college football playoff committee is Bill Hancock; a man who happens to chair the BCS and was a long time critic of a collegiate playoff. This raises a huge red flag, to me. A man who spent years disparaging a playoff is now set to run the entire system. It seems to me that the establishment really doesn’t want a playoff.

Evidence of the establishment’s aversion to a playoff is apparent in how teams get into the postseason and the number of teams included. First, teams don’t go to the playoffs by winning conference titles or attaining a high ranking. Instead a committee will select the teams. Second, only a field of four will make the playoffs, not a collection of six or eight elite teams. It’s a sure bet that some great teams will be overlooked by the selection committee.

There is a myriad of ways a playoff system could have been set up. I would wager that a group of fans from “Any Bar, USA” could have came up with a more compelling playoff structure than what the establishment “experts” did.

The system announced by Mr. Hancock doesn’t let the gridiron decided which teams are in the playoffs. It turns the decision over to “powerbrokers”. This makes no sense; it would have been easier, and wiser, to build upon what is in place. Design a playoff that allows teams to control their own destiny. If teams win their respective conferences; then they will go to a BCS bowl based on existing tie-ins. For non-automatic qualifying conferences, there are BCS at-large berths available that allows those teams from weaker conference a shot at reaching the BCS ( or the new playoff system).

Simply put, reach a BCS bowl and you play for a playoff spot. Win your bowl game, plus one, and earn an opportunity to play for the Coaches’ Trophy. What Bill Hancock and the NCAA gave us is a system that will cause problems and unquestionably shutout viable teams.

I foresee this system being a fiasco that will spiral to a dilemma. Instead of consistently having a clear and incontrovertible champion, we will have teams crowned in the miasma of controversy because the selection committee overlooked a top-notch contender. It’s clear the “powers-that-be” missed a golden opportunity to–once and for all–terminate any dispute surrounding a college football national champion. The new playoff system is a quagmire in the making.