Note from FishDuck.com: This is the first column from FishDuck’s newest writer, Jeff Hostetler. We have welcomed Jeff aboard the FishDuck team, a Florida Gators fan with a fascination of Duck sports as well, to provide us all with weekly reviews of all that is taking place in college athletics as well as the Ducks, and providing some important links to check out. Unlike 99% of his colleagues with SEC upbringing, he’s able to look beyond just the deep south to recognize that others around the country play football too. We’ll try to keep the S-E-C! S-E-C! chants to a minimum.
Welcome aboard Jeff!
Welcome to college football nation. Each week I will be letting you know the rundown of all the other teams outside of Eugene. As much as we want to talk Duck Sports 24/7, sports do exist outside of Eugen as well, here we’ll be covering all the news around the country to digest to keep Duck fans informed Oh, and we’ll discuss Oregon topics as well.
Before we go any further, let’s give a shout out to the Oregon Men’s baseball team. After being nothing more than a club team from 1982-2009, Duck baseball is now a Top-10 team and currently are in first place in the Pac-12 with a very realistic shot at winning the Pac-12 title. What better way to enjoy the weekend then knowing the Ducks spanked the Beavers 3-2 in their last game before this weekend’s USC series.
Now let us get into some football talk, since that is what we are all about down here in the South. Now a few thoughts for the week.
- Spring ball left a lot of questions for most teams. It will be hard to imagine who may have the advantage towards becoming the starter at QB for Oregon this year based on the spring performances. Some say it is a no-brainer to go with the experienced player, but after watching Marcus Mariota move the ball so easily and break off those long runs, I don’t think Bryan Bennett should turn his back on the kid for one moment despite what he did while subbing in last season. For all we know, it could be a game time decision, and Chip Kelly has time to mix it up with three cupcake games before conference play. We Florida fans can relate to this situation well because Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett both looked great in the spring game with no clear-cut favorite there either, but hopefully they’ll have a running game that can score at least once inside the 10 yard line. Ugh!
- Conference Alignment is out of control. The NCAA needs to step in and do something before we have UCONN playing San Diego State for a BCS bowl bid. Also, schools need to swallow their pride and keep the rivalries alive despite switching conferences. No more Texas vs. Texas A&M, Nebraska vs. Colorado, or Missouri vs. Kansas thanks to teams switching conferences. If you told me conference realignment meant no more Florida vs. Florida State, then I would put everything to a halt. As long as money is a factor then rivalries and conference loyalty will always take a backseat to maximizing revenue. Get rid of the greed and get back to the pure fun of college sports, unless you’re a fan of watching UCF travel to Boise State for a BIG JOKE…I mean BIG EAST Title. Now there’s talk of Boise State perhaps backing out of their move to the Big East, they’ll have to pay a lot to nix the contract if suddenly suffering buyer’s remorse, or maybe they finally realized just how may frequent flier miles they would be accruing once switching conferences.
- Here is a thought: what team in the PAC-12 North could be a sleeper this year? I am going with the state of Washington as a whole. With both coaches in place, the Washington schools have a chance to pull off some upsets and shake things up. Never overlook a Mike Leach squad (even if he is now coaching WSU), while Washington is dangerous with Keith Price running the offense, if only they could figure out how to play any defense whatsoever. The additions of a couple Ducks to the Husky staff in Peter Sirmon and Justin Wilcox might just be able to do that, though if their bowl appearance is any indicator they have a LOT of work to do to stop the bleeding.
- You have to feel bad for Arkansas football…maybe. They still might be a Top-10 team, but without their coach I do not know how long they can hold it together in a very tough SEC WEST division. John Smith is not the answer for Arkansas (unless he wins 11 games and possibly an SEC title). The news breaking Saturday of three players arrested for burglary makes for an awkward cherry on top of an already bad situation in the wake of the Bobby Petrino scandal. Look for Arkansas to pounce on the next great coach out there. Do Duck fans think Chip Kelly would head to the SEC to give his offense a try? It happened a hundred years ago, when Arkansas snatched away the most innovative coach in the country in Oregon’s Hugo Bezdek, though Bezdek did eventually return to Oregon after a six-year stay in Fayetteville.
- Playoffs…we are talking about playoffs. The FCS division decided to expand their playoffs to 24 teams. I feel that is a smack to the face of all the BCS leaders involved with the process of making a 4-team playoff happen. How hard can it really be? There are a million solutions for how the playoff should be coordinated, if excluding the money factor. That’s a big IF though. Do what is best for the fans and players, get us at least an 8-team playoff. So what if the SEC sends three or four teams one year, It will be money well spent. I really feel fans will relate and pay big money to see Boise State take on Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Or how about Oklahoma vs. LSU for a trip to the national title game? The possibilities are endless. Let’s get a playoff going now so we can start working out the inevitable kinks. PLAYOFFS or bust, baby!
That’s all the thoughts for now. I look forward to interacting every week with not only Duck fans but fans from all conferences. Let me know your thoughts and comments below.
Last thing, why don’t you date a girl from the University of Washington? Because she looks like a dawg! (Insert corny joke music) ‘Til next week FishDuck readers.
A few interesting links from around the nation…
- It just keeps getting worse for Arkansas…
- More on the Arkansas’ trio who didn’t get the memo to keep incognito with the nation’s eyes on them in the wake of the Petrino firing.
- Nick Saban says “heck no” to the playoff idea.
- The ACC has a lot of ESPN money coming there way for many years to come.
- For Duck fans hoping to exact some revenge on Michael Dyer for that whole “wrist thing” in the BCS national championship when Arkansas State comes to Oregon to open the season, looks like he may not be making the trip, or any others for that matter any time soon…
- Texas Longhorns two stepping with the law.
- Suspensions galore at Oklahoma, leaving the Sooners with just one receiver who has ever caught a pass in a game.
- And speaking of legal issues, remember Terrelle Pryor? Ya know, that guy that almost came to Oregon, then completely destroyed the Ohio State program and led to the downfall of the sweatervest? In an interview with Sports Illustrated he said he sold items to help his family.
- Florida State has a new mascot that may be the worst idea since Roboduck. Granted, all mascot news these days has been a major disappointment after Ole Miss wasn’t able to secure Admiral Ackbaras their new mascot.
LSUfreek’s take on the whole Petrino situation:
Some worthwhile Oregon-related stories to check out from the past week…
- Matt Prehm at Duck Territory ponders if Kenjon Barner could become the #2 career leading rusher at Oregon?
- Ken Goe of the Oregonian joined the guys from AddictedtoQuack for the weekly ATQ podcast to discuss UO Track & Field.
Adam Jude at The Register Guard covers De’Anthony Thomas’ return to the track just in time for the Pac-12 championship.
- Columnist George Schroeder of The Register Guard also had a nice piece on De’Anthony after his stellar performance at the Oregon relays last week.
- ESPN‘s Ted Miller did a feature on Oregon’s “Preying Mantis,” defensive end Dion Jordan.
- Former Oregon punter and longtime NFL player Josh Bidwell was on 750 The Game talking with John Canzano.
- Graham Watson of Dr. Saturday showed off the absurdity of Oregon’s new bling, er Rose Bowl rings.
- AddictedtoQuack highlighted the newest commit to Oregon’s men’s basketball team, Willie Moore.
- Jeffrey Martin of The Oregonian features undrafted Oregon departee Darron Thomas and his pursuits of an opportunity to play in the pros. It sounds like Thomas has been invited to join the Cleveland Browns, best of luck DT!
- Curtis Anderson of The Register Guard considers the possibility of Oregon completing a fourth straight sweep of the Pac-10/12 titles this weekend.
- Ken Goe of The Oregonian has a very nice article on Oregon women’s track rising star English Gardner as a lead-in to the Pac-12 Championships.
- Register Guard beatwriter Rob Moseley covers highlights from Chip Kelly’s Pac-12 conference call this week.
- John Hunt of The Oregonian recaps Oregon’s 3-2 victory over Oregon State this past week in baseball.
- Locas Clark of The Daily Emerald highlighted Oregon softball’s emerging star Kailee Cuico.
- Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian has a nice feature on Oregon baseball assistant coach Mark Wasikowski.
- Isaac Rosenthal of the Oregon Daily Emerald previews this weekend’s baseball series with USC.