No California or Arizona? Oregon Pivots to COVID Conference Schedule

Jordan Ingram Editorials 47 Comments

Oregon fans, don’t despair.

Yes, the monster games against North Dakota State and Ohio State at Autzen Stadium as part of the Ducks’ pre-conference schedule are no longer on the table due to a resurgence of COVID-19 cases across the country. Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott made the official announcement restricting the Pac-12 football season to conference-only games on July 10, one day after the Big Ten’s decision to do the same.

At this moment in time, the Ducks will have a 10-game season, including the Pac-12 Championship game. However, this is the best-case scenario. As cases continue to spike in California and Arizona, there are talks of closing down the state and halting interstate competition, including conference games.

If California and Arizona prohibit competition, the Ducks would need to fill five games within the adjusted conference-only schedule. This is not impossible, as Oregon could potentially play home-and-away match-ups against Colorado, Washington, Washington State, Oregon State. Throw in a game against Utah and that’s a nine-game, conference-only schedule (not including a conference championship).

Kevin Cline

Perhaps a game against Nevada is in the cards? Not likely but things could change.

But if the Pac-12 pivoted to allow non-conference games with states still open in lieu of losing half the conference to quarantine, it definitely opens a much more diverse schedule that includes non-conference match-ups. Is this new hypothetical “COVID-Conference” schedule possible? Is there enough time for Oregon Athletic Director Rob Mullens to cobble together five games? If so, which teams could be in play? Let’s take a look.

If we scratch the first three games against NDSU, Ohio State and Hawaii, the Ducks start on the road against Colorado before returning home to host the Huskies. After those two games, the Ducks have a bye scheduled followed by five straight games against teams from either California or Arizona. Oregon wraps up the season with Washington State and Oregon State.

Let’s keep those games locked in, including the bye week.

Potential candidates to fill the void will depend on which states are open for business—a prospect that can change at any time. For non-conference games, Oregon could play Portland State, BYU and Colorado State, if each of those states remains open.

BYU is an attractive option, as the independent Cougars do not belong to a conference. As of July 10, BYU has had five of its originally scheduled games canceled due to COVID-19, three of which were Pac-12 teams (Utah, ASU, Stanford). Both BYU and the Pac-12 would benefit from getting those games back, plus an additional match-up against the Ducks.

If we look around the region, other teams start to emerge as potential contenders in this scenario such as Boise State, Idaho, Utah State, Nevada, or UNLV? (against former offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo? You bet!)

From Twitter

After the Pac-12 announced a conference-only season, BYU was forced to cancel three games scheduled against Pac-12 teams.

Or there is the tantalizing possibility of playing against the Colorado School of Mines. Yep, the Orediggers have been around since 1888 (132 years) with a capacity of 4,000 at Marv Kay Stadium (built in 1893). And in 2019, the Orediggers finished 12-1 overall (10-0 conference) and may have a chip on their shoulder and looking for something to prove.

It’s also safe to say Notre Dame would be a good target for a high-profile game against the Ducks, with national visibility for both teams. The Irish lost their date with Wisconsin for the upcoming season and may lose USC and Stanford.

While pundits believe Notre Dame will look to the ACC to fill most of its holes, there is an open date on October 24, which would be wide open for a neutral-site game against Oregon.

New Mexico State may also be looking for someone to play for its season-opener on August 29 if UCLA is nixed. Maybe Nevada would like another bell-ringing?

But time is running out. So Ducks fans, it’s up to us to save the season. What are your ideas? What teams are viable under the COVID-Conference Schedule?

Jordan Ingram
San Diego, CA
Top photo by: Eugene Johnson

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Duck out of Water

Thanks Charles and Jordan. Appreciate the article. Curious, what would the playoffs look like if some conferences delay start of season and some do not? Would this be a NCAA decision? Or a conference decision?
Thanks for the help and input

Charles Fischer

Your handle perfectly states where we all are with this COVID situation. As to your questions; I have no idea.

Cheryl

I’ve been wondering if there is a way to make the football helmets into protective equipment that would prevent the players from getting the virus during a game. I know that the major problem would be to make them so that the players could breathe freely. What do you think?

David Marsh

Well… It would require air tanks… But if they are small enough they shouldn’t cause a problem… Basically an air right helmet with an air supply… Might need a com system to be able to communicate with teammates … Which opens up a whole new can of worms…

Then you’d probably want those air tanks to be interchangable so they can be small enough….

Bahh… Let’s just move to sport to space at this rate…. 0g football in SPACE!

DonealDuck

I did not say anything negative at all about anybody, yet my comment was still deleted, so I will expand on what i was saying, so that it makes sense and can only be deemed as a positive in this discussion.

I have not read any other comments, so if I step on anybody’s toes, saying the same thing, I apologize in advance.

!. The Pac 12 schools have all agreed to do everything together. Oregon cannot even post a game replay on their own website. There is no way that President Schill and AD Mullins will break from the Pac 12 to schedule five more games in the middle of a virus pandemic season.

B. Part of the reason both the BIG and the Pac 12 decided to go to conference only schedules was they could maintain consistent testing protocols across their schools. IF the BIG and Pac 12 really wanted to play more games, the first thing the two conferences with ties going back decades would do is agree to match their protocols and keep the scheduled BIG vs Pac games. With less than 8 weeks before these games, this is not happening.

Drei. The cancelled Hawaii and NDSU games are with teams from 2 of the 4 Covid-safest states in the Union. If Oregon did not play Hawaii and NDSU, while scheduling and playing other new OOC games, Hawaii and NDSU, along with other Pac scheduled opponents such as Portland State for that matter, would 100% slam dunk win their lawsuits vs Oregon and the Pac 12. Slam Dunk win. Again, there is no way President Schill will do this.

I am the biggest football fan in the world. But these are the realities. And sticking our heads in the sand or deleting comments which address actual realities as they concern Our beloved Ducks, will not change them.

Charles Fischer

Two items Doneal….first I did not delete any of your or anyone’s comments. I see one of yours above, that makes reference to lawsuits that I covered in my comment and it is still there.

Second…we want all opinions here, and trying to inhibit others from commenting in the future by stating they are sticking their head somewhere because they happen to disagree with you is not polite and respectful. Read our rules again please.

We disagree (and I want disagreement!) and we debate, but we do so in a civilized way.

If anyone has a problem with a comment being deleted–take it up with me by email, as we do not do it here. (It is a buzz-kill for everyone else)

DonealDuck

And we are lucky we are not the SEC, for once. Because of the region’s cavalier earlier attitude towards the virus and the resultant second wave they are experiencing now, I dont even think they can go to a ‘conference only’ schedule. They might be stuck with playing all of their games including sheduled OOC games, pay the OOC schools their payouts while not playing the games, or cancelling all their games.

DonealDuck

i apologize Charles. The new format lists the comments in reverse order than the old format, so I was looking on the top for my comment. I totally apologize for thinking it had been deleted. This is my first time posting under the new format. So I apologize for my mistake there.

Charles Fischer

No sweat Doneal. It is all new to me too, and we are still working out a ton of kinks. It is very kind of you to write that and please do keep sharing your thoughts.

Thanks again.

Charles Fischer

To Doneal, Sco, Utah and anyone who takes this article very seriously:

I think I am to blame for the tone of the article, as I had input into the topic, title and frankly…had some fun with the whole concept of the “COVID-Conference” schedule. Jordan won’t be able to post responses until later today, but I thought I would offer some thoughts.

I thought UtahDuck did a good job of stating facts, ScoDucks brought the improbability of playing BYU, and Doneal mentioned lawsuits as these points and more from this community are all great assertions that I concede to.

The heck-of-it-is….I am pretty disgusted at the whole situation, because again…I think we are being slowly lead into a slow process of not receiving an answer, but realizing in mid-November that it is not going to happen. In the end we have athletic budgets busted if we don’t play football, yet we are almost assured of a player being damaged by the virus or a fan who contracts it and dies if we do play football.

Those are lawsuits that I believe are not covered in a standard liability policy written a year ago; they would more than likely had acts of the Animal House, Deathmobile, covered in the policy before a pandemic. So in the end….I believe the attorneys win.

And besides….reducing the games by 25% is going to make a big difference? Sheesh. It is all nonsense at this point, and I thought a little tongue-in-cheek writing along with looking for real input would be fun as Jordan did. Santa Rosa Duck said it best labeling it as a “bit of whimsy.” (GREAT word, and not seen often these days, but so appropriate for a breezy summer day.)

No harm meant, just an attempt to salvage some humor…something that is not so darn negative as what we fans are feeling.

Animal House Deathmobile_YouTube.jpg
Last edited 3 months ago by Charles Fischer
Jon Joseph

RAMMING SPEED!

DonealDuck

Why would a conference cancel games with OOC opponents, only to reschedule the same OOC opponents with different conference teams? The lawsuits would be flying. This makes no sense whatsoever. Sorry

David Marsh

The biggest issue is standardizing testing and health protocols. The NCAA itself is a pretty weak institution that does little more than enforce recruiting rules… The big10 and PAC12 have both opted at this point to create their own systems for player health and to ensure those systems are as good as possible they want to ensure everyone who plays follows the same rules.

The each team is its own bubble and to ensure safe play each bubble needs to be clean so that basically they don’t transmit the virus. Having the same testing requirements and policies would help ensure everyone is at least doing the same thing.

I think there is potential for out of conference games if and only IF the powers at be can work out these problems then out of conference is possible.

As for BYU I think they are a prime candidate that could work their way into some conference’s schedule… They would have to embrace a conference and a conference’s standards when it comes to covid related issues … Which may be giving up too much of their own authority.

I think there are too many moving pieces that have the powers at be scared of no season. Shrinking the schedule and making standard practices within their conference is one of the few things conference management can control.

Jon Joseph

David, what network will broadcast this game? Will the game be played in Provo or Eugene?

There will be no independent ad hoc scheduling. The conference season is played or nothing will be played.

There is not enough time to negotiate OOC games and to find a network that can sell enough advertising to broadcast said games.

And what exactly, would you be playing for?

David Marsh

Those are all questions I think result in independents nit wanting to schedule games… They may play a game but in reality they have probably no say in the matter. At this point so late in the process it would probably all go to a conference network to do the coverage which is a major loss for the independents.

I was just trying to add some hope into my comment…

ScoDuckers

If the PAC-12 has already cancelled non-conference games, and Utah has already cancelled with BYU, then how are we gonna get them scheduled? Not trying to come off combative, I’m genuinely curious.

Also, I think beating up on both of our rivals twice would be a saving grace for this season if California and Arizona shut down. I like the idea of beating Washington at home, having all their writers talk about how they know our game plan now, and then we travel up there and beating them down even harder! That would make for some great smack talk on the message boards.

Haywarduck

Like I said, repeat that dawg game scenario 6 times and this whole COVID-19 thing might just get tolerable! I can only dream about the depth of despair the dawg faithful would be in after their 12th straight loss, in one season.

UtahDuck

I’m not sure you want oregon to play Utah schools. The situation in utah regarding Covid is pretty bad. I’m going to avoid talking about the state government as a whole but I will mention a few things and try to refrain from giving an opinion on them.

1) utah does not have a mask mandate and most of the state is entirely open including bars. The only exceptions are salt Lake county and Summit county the Bluest counties in the state. Which have closed bars and like businesses and have mask mandates.
2) Utah is a relatively small state with limited number of hospital beds/ICU beds and Ventilators. as of right now utah is has a low rate of hospitalization for covid cases but of the patients being hospitalized we have a high ICU rate around 30-40% our DR’s and nurses are fried.
3) we are currently sitting at about 1% of our state population having had/having covid and our rate of infection is growing. Comparison to Oregon, Oregon has about 1M more people than utah, Oregon has had 12k cases utah has had 30k. the high for oregon last week was 397, utah had a high 866. While I don’t know oregon’s positive test rate, Utah’s is currently at around 12%.

Again I tried to avoid any opinions on what is going on in Utah But I will say If I was Oregon’s athletic Department I would avoid any travel to and avoid playing any team from a state that is currently unable to handle covid.

Charles Fischer

Whew! This article is quite the buzz-kill about the football season. But I think the whole “COVID-Conference” schedule is fun to consider.

Thanks Jordan!

Santa Rosa Duck

That article is one I was just about to post. The total buzz kill is the final paragraph when an anonymous official at a Power 5 school suggests that this is no longer a one year problem but perhaps a two year problem.

BigDucksFan

Not knowing but guessing a vaccine will be found before the 2021 season start.

Santa Rosa Duck

Assuming 2021 practice would start around July 15, 2021. That is 12 months from now. We do not currently have a vaccine. Once there is a vaccine, it must be tested on volunteers. Assuming successful testing, then it must be manufactured in quantity. Then it must be distributed and vaccinations given. Does all this happen in 12 months? Plus what about the 20% of the population that says they will not take a Covid vaccine? Smart people are working on this but there has never been a successful vaccine created for any past Corona Virus.

BigDucksFan

Good points, however with this virus I would think testing and manufacturing would start together. Assuming the vaccine doesn’t kill people but is only 50% effective it would be used as a “better than nothing” remedy. For those who don’t want to take the vaccine, thats ok, they are only hurting themselves the others are covered.

Agreed that its not the best situation but sometimes you have to take your best shot (no pun intended).

30Duck

Not only wet blanket on college football, but the NFL too. On a side note, last night I watched the Timbers play their first match in the resurgent MLS season…and I found it to be just as entertaining as it ever was, i.e. my modem went offline and there was a stasis of some 15 minutes, before the modem started again, and nothing had happened in the interim. Tonight I will watch my cat chase shadow images on a wall.

30Duck

Thanks for writing the article, Jordan. It was a first round game of the MLS Playoffs against the LA Galaxy, the Timbers won, 2-1, and play the Houston next, Saturday @ 5:00 on ESPN. The games are being held on fields, with no fans in a Sports Complex near Orlando. As usual, the MLS Playoffs take a long time, the champion won’t be decided until August 11.
There is some concern now about what the experience would be like w/o fans, and based on this we’d all adjust to it quite easily. This was Soccer, and I’m not even close to being a “fan”, but I wanted the Timbers to win and found myself caught up in the game, and the players didn’t seem to have any problem with intensity.

Baseball is planning to start on the 23rd, NBA a week later on the 30th, the NHL is still working on getting started, so we could have some games to watch. For a while. A couple of Duc Notes: The Golden Eagles, featuring former Duck, Elgin Cook won the $1,000,000 TBT and Sabrina Ionescu and her NY Liberty will get the WBA season started with a game against the Seattle Storm, on Saturday, the 25th, 9:00 AM on ESPN.

Last edited 3 months ago by 30Duck
Douglas Mai

Honestly we need to really look at society as a general and 90% of people are selfish so they want to go out and this will eventually cause all Football to be cancelled which is a total shame because all of this momentum with Mario will have just about been fruitless at best. What if the whole football season is cancelled?

Then what happens to your possible number 5 to maybe even number 1 class in Oregon’s history? Well I would presume none of them come to Eugene because their getting free rides to come play for the Ducks. Don’t believe students who mostly pay their own dime to get a degree would appreciate Oregon giving these guys free rides to come and not play football as in boy would that cause a whole new bunch of pissed off people.

So people understand when the Government tells you to stay inside your homes except to go shopping for neccessity’s then by all means do it. Florida just got over 12 thousand new cases so there’s your answer right now as in the people of South who usually breath and eat Football are gonna not have it so whats that mean for the rest of us.

No Football and like the Lady’s Basketball team who in my humble opinion would have won it all last year say’s this sucks because for some odd reason if your a Duck fan then Championships usually don’t happen because there’s always something ruining it for Duck fans.

Found out just yesterday that China who thrives on screwing their people over new about the virus before it traveled from their country all over the world and this doesn’t surprise me so say thanks everyone to that communist country for trying to kill have the worlds population including their own people because why, their selfish.

Last edited 3 months ago by Charles Fischer
Charles Fischer

Douglas….let’s stay away on the political commentary…since we do not do it here. Others who disagree will respond and now we are discussing politics instead of the Ducks. If you insist on discussing it–I will delete the posts.

If you would like to have your handle again, MaitaiDuck, instead of your name–let me know.

And when you write a comment….after every three sentences….on a PC computer you would click on “Enter” twice or on a Mac computer click on “Return” twice and it creates the space between, (as you see above) that is easier for all to read.

I am delighted to see you back, but we must refrain from politics and simply want people to be able to read your thoughts easier.

Thanks.

BTW…I love your thoughts about Mario and the team–Amen Duck Brother!

Last edited 3 months ago by Charles Fischer
Jon Joseph

One problem with trying to schedule completely ad hoc, what network will broadcast the games? At least, any game outside the already contracted-to-be-broadcast, conference versus conference games.

I just do not see a lot of advertising money coming in for a ‘meaningless’ game vs the CO School of Mines (CSM), Portland State (PSU), etc,. I also doubt that smaller schools will have the means to perform adequate, continuous testing.

Also, even with a conference vs conference schedule that plays out in full, if I am Penei, Jevon Holland, and any other player likely to be invited to the NFL draft combine, do I want to play at all? Why not just get ready for the 2021 draft?

How is game tape vs CSM and PSU, going to do anything to improve my standing in the 2021 draft? Do I want to risk injury practicing for and playing in these games?

If the full conference season as scheduled cannot be played, the season will not be played. Without media revenue, the cost of playing simply cannot be justified.

Thanks for giving it ‘the old college try’ but the way things are going, I think we can kiss the 2020 season good-bye; including, playing the 2020 season in the spring and then kicking off 2021 in September. This happens and the ‘student-athlete’ model continues to fall apart.

BTW, ‘pandemic relief money’ has gone to the big time sports agencies to save jobs; will CFB, at least on the P5/G5 levels be considered too big to fail by the guys and gals in DC?

If not, there will be radical changes to college athletics such as we have already seen at Stanford, across the nation. Many now varsity sport will become club sports.

At this point in time, not only the CFB season but also the CBB season is in doubt.

,

Jon Sousa

“Also, even with a conference vs conference schedule that plays out in full, if I am Penei, Jevon Holland, and any other player likely to be invited to the NFL draft combine, do I want to play at all? Why not just get ready for the 2021 draft?”

They want to play. A six to nine game conference schedule is a lot safer to play than a 13-14 game schedule. How does not even practicing for over a year improve stock, especially when other teams are playing?

Brady Breeze ended the season with his hair on fire. People will be watching him this season to see that it wasn’t a fluke. How does BB even get an invite with only 2-3 good games at then end of two seasons ago?

These guys want to play football. Play an 6-8 game conference schedule like the rest of the P5, go undefeated, and get an invite to the playoffs.

Jon Joseph

Jon, there are millions of reasons for a lot of these kids not to play. And these reasons are being thrown at these kid’s every day by agents, or their runners, in line to represent them.

I think Brady will play. But guys who are Draft Combine worthy?

Quackanadian

The could make an all Pac 12 schedule, have those other 3 games conference games.

BigDucksFan

Sounds good to me.

Haywarduck

Or we could just play the huskies 13 times and get that monkey off our back!

Jon Sousa

I´m guessing the Ducks would win at least 10 of those games.

Jon Joseph

That would be Dawg of a schedule.

Santa Rosa Duck

Haywarduck, I am shocked. Our Ducks will have a better team this year and that would put the Huskies at an incredible disadvantage.

Hey Jordan, I am guessing this article was a bit of whimsey but fun to consider none the less. Thanks.

Germanicus

As much as I love Oregon football, I feel at this point (unless things really improve) the season should be scrapped or moved to spring. It just feels irresponsible at this point.

BigDucksFan

It sure is looking that way. I guess we are gasping at the last straws, hopping and not wanting to let go of the season. Like maybe, just maybe they will find a vaccine just in the nick of time that we can sell start on schedule. But it kind of feels like we are standing on the Titanic hoping for the light in the distance.

BigDucksFan

Interesting thought Jordan. However I wonder in this age of the virus how many fans would actually go to a game with Portland State, BYU and Colorado State ?? Especially in the middle of a season. Also would it be cost effective for the school since I would think that Oregon would be paying those schools to show up ??

But you are correct in that “time is running out”.