Does a Conference-Only Schedule Benefit the Ducks?

Jon Joseph Editorials 26 Comments

(To the tune of “Maybe Baby” by Buddy Holly and The Crickets, 1957)

Maybe baby, we’ll play ball
Maybe baby, later this fall
Maybe baby, we’ll see ball one day (see ball one day)

It’s funny honey, COVID don’t care
It never listens to Larry’s prayer
Maybe baby, we’ll ball anyway (ball anyway)

Bison not trippin’, makes me sad
Brutus not showing, makes me glad
‘Cause one day, wait and see
Maybe a Natty, this season we’ll see

Maybe baby, we’ll play ball one day
Play ball one day

On July 10, 2020, following the lead of the B1G, the Pac-12 Conference announced that the 2020 season, if played at all, will feature only conference games. There will be no out-of-conference (OOC) games for The Conference of Champions. The conference-versus-conference schedule, including the number of games to be played, will be revealed by Larry’s lackeys in the near future.


The Ducks won’t be getting revenge on the Buckeyes this year.

Cui Bono? Which Pac-12 teams, in theory, benefit the most from the cancellation of out-of-conference games, at least when it comes to making the College Football Playoff (CFP)? Yes, Billy Bob Hancock has announced that, notwithstanding the conference-only B1G and Pac-12 decisions, the 2020 CFP is still a go.

However, dear Ducks and Duckettes, before pursuing this issue, allow me to ponder what could well make sense for OOC replacement games come September. May I humbly suggest, subject to ASPCA and PETA approval, a Labor Day battle of the B1G and Pac-12 mascots? After all, COVID-19 has passed over our fauna friends, and the Fighting Irish (I have added independents BYU and Notre Dame to the equation to arrive at 14 versus 14) most likely are “Jameson” whiskey immune? (Thank goodness you can still dump on the Irish, at least this Irishman.) The Fighting Illini and Runnin’ Utes can wear a mask. And the Sun Devil is already running a fever.

Mascot Throwdowns

The Arizona Wildcat versus The Illinois Fighting Illini in Tucson, Arizona: I have no clue how a Wildcat can bear down, but in the desert, the Illini wilts. Wildcats win.

The ASU Sun Devil versus The Indiana Hoosier in Bloomington, Indiana: “Hey Hoser, if you know what a Hoosier is, please let me know?

Agent Kuhn, how do you kill the Devil?” You don’t. ASU wins.

The BYU Wildcat versus the Hawkeye in Provo, Utah: I’ve read James Fenimore Cooper. Natty Bumppo (Hawkeye) wins.

Eugene Johnson

How would Puddles fare in an OOC mascot matchup?

The Cal Golden Bear versus The Maryland Terrapin in College Park, Maryland: Soup’s on! Bear even eats the shell. Golden Bear wins.

Ralphie versus The Wolverine in Boulder, Colorado: Ralphie is a Bad Man (er, Buffalo!). But if any dude can step up a weight class or five and win, it’s a Wolverine.

The Fighting Irishman versus the Michigan State Spartan in East Lansing, MI: A crazed Celt in a brutal battle beats down the 5.5 Million Dollar Man.

Puddles (Give It Up!) versus The Gopher in Eugene, Oregon: With the help of Coach Bill Murray, aka Carl Spackler (Caddyshack), Puddles’ aerial assault blows up Goldie. Then our fine feathered friend, in between push-ups, helps Rocko run down Judge Smails. Noonan!

Hey everybody, we’re all going to get paid!

The Beaver versus The Cornhusker in Lincoln, Nebraska: Aw, shucks. It’s Frosty in Lincoln and Benny Beaver can’t pull this one off.

Cardinal Smarty versus Northwestern Smarty in Palo Alto, California: Game called on account of darkness when the two contestants are no longer able to compare SAT scores.


Benny Beaver doesn’t fare any better than his football team usually does.

Bruin versus Brutus in Columbus, OH: Post game, Coach Chip Kelly asks, “Et tu, Brute? Check, please.Brutus wins.

Tommy Trojan versus Nittany Lion in Los Angeles, CA: Trojan AD Mike Bohn wisely takes Clay Helton, masked for the coach’s personal safety in the event Trojans fans are also there, to the beach. Thus, Tommy Trojan escapes with a W over a non-existent, mythical creature. Kind of like Paris versus Achilles? But “Franklin, Tommy, I don’t give a damn!

Runnin’ Ute versus Boilermaker in Lafayette, Indiana: At the end of the day, it’s Mister Boilermaker buying the drinks. Ute wins.

Scruffy Husky versus Scarlet Knight in Seattle, Washington: Game forfeited when the Knight’s horse breaks down in Newark. Soprano Family is not happy. Knight, Greg Schiano, Squire and Nag all enter the witness protection program.

Palouse Wildcat versus Bucky Badger in Madison, Wisconsin: Still pissed about the Puddles put-down in Pasadena, Bucky Jumps Around and kicks the brats out of one of the Left Coast’s Mildest of Cats.

So, for those of you too damn lazy to keep score at home, it’s Good Guys 8, Bad Guys 5 and Smart Guys left in the dark.

Who Benefits Most from No OOC?

Matt Zlaket

The Ducks will dodge a couple tough OOC tests in 2020.

All things being OOC unequal, which Pac-12 teams CFP-wise benefit the most from a conference-only 2020 season? Remember, no school that has lost two games has yet to compete for a Playoff title.


  1. Clay Helton.
  2. USC: Not having to do ‘Bama in Dallas, and missing Notre Dame helps the Trojans’ Playoff cause big time.
  3. Oregon: The Ducks miss the best FCS team on the planet and its likely first-round draft choice, QB Trey Lance. The Ducks miss top 3-ranked Ohio State and its no doubt, first-round draft choice, QB Justin Fields. And Hawaii, last season’s Mountain West runner-up and with a bowl win over BYU, is not tiny bubbles. If the regular season schedule is not altered, the Ducks get all of the tough games, sans Cal, at Autzen.
  4. Washington: UW, with its toughest conference games on the road, misses Michigan, even though I believe they would have won the game.
  5. Oregon State: Beavers may like still water, but not having to travel to Stillwater to play Oklahoma State is nice.
  6. Cal: Even though it’s a possible win, TCU in Berkeley would have been a stern test.
  7. Stanford: On the road at Notre Dame in 2020 would have been a big ask.
  8. Arizona: Kevin Sumlin does not have to take the show on the road to Lubbock and also misses Hawaii.


  1. UCLA: By Bruins’ standards, the OOC slate was a piece of cake. No power-5 opponent. Next season, LSU comes to LA. The Chipper needed these 3 games.
  2. ASU and Utah: With the toughest game for both teams a matchup against BYU, 3-0 OOC was very likely.
  3. Wazzu: They now miss the opportunity to play Bad, Worse and Worser.

Let’s just hope, friends, that we will see a full slate of conference games played in 2020. I want to see Penei Sewell, Jevon Holland and other guys play again for the Ducks before heading off to the NFL.

Every day, it’s a-gettin’ closer?

Jon Joseph
Georgetown, TX
Top Photo by Tom Corno

Andrew Mueller, the Volunteer Editor for this article, works in higher education in Chicago, Illinois.

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Holy Crap!

The ENTIRE Michigan State football team is being quarantined for COVID!


Lucky them. Statistically, in 2-3 weeks or less the entire team will be ready to start Fall camp. Does this seem like a random event (rhetorical question).

What’s been the outcome of all the agitation about Clemson et al. having these ‘major outbreaks” a few weeks back?

Wonder what the situation is for coaches.

David Marsh

I’d take the Beaver over a corn husker in a corn husking competition… Assuming one also has to eat said corn after it is husked. Just giving a little help to little brother in Corvallis.

A conference only slate which should include additional bye weeks as the Pac-12 announced as part of the plan to help monitor COVID should help Oregon greatly. It may even set up an undefeated season.

Jon…you are so amazing! How you weave such great thoughts and humor is incredibly unique, and I’m still smiling over the Stanford Smarties and Northwestern Smarties joke. This article is the epitome of both informing and entertaining!

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

I have been giving great thought to how we core Oregon fans will have something to read, and something to ponder during the upcoming College Sports Apocalyptic Era, (my new phrase that you will see more of soon) and I will expand upon it in tomorrow’s article.

Nimble minds like yours cannot be placed on “hold” during the Oregon Sports Desert that awaits us, and I think we can come up with a plan that keeps you, I and the other talented writers of the site active, and yet pleases the readers of FishDuck.


That’s right. Not only do the Presidents have the final say on which conference only schedule will be used, they will decide if any season will happen at all. The Presidents have to approve this; and it must be unanimous, it’s all in or all out. It would not surprise me at al if the SEC ends up being the only P5 conference that plays games this season…and Hancock will be right when he said that the Playoffs would go on as usual.


ACC and Big12 are still technically in play to play as well.

Consider that ACC’s TV rights (like SEC) are owned by ESPN (woke, but desperate for content). Nuff said.

Big12 has the savvy Bob Bowlsby as Commish, and, though he is playing a mixed hand in revenue sources, governors, and university administrators, one should never discount the moral malleability of politicians and college presidents.


Hence the “mixed hand” Obi Wan. I’ll defer to you Re their lower tier contracts, but my impression is that ESPN, being an equal or majority partner in the SEC & ACC networks, would have much fuller broadcast rights to those conferences. Not just for football, but for any other Fall sports that might open should those conferences go forward with football.

I’ve already decluttered my DVR in anticipation of WNBA games, which may indeed serve as gateway viewing for SEC volleyball, soccer, and cross country. The tenacity of life.

Santa Rosa Duck

Thanks Jon. I think if the Pac 12 actually goes with this schedule and plays games then our Ducks should be on the hook to pay NDSU and Hawaii their appearance fee. There is no justification for stiffing them. The problem of course is where does the money come from?

Jon Sousa

I think the idea of no OOC games is a later start to the season. For this reason, it makes no sense to me to add another conference game. If we play 10 games, one of them should be HI or SD. There is no way around that without getting sued.

The idea behind starting the season later is to give more chance for COVID to run its course. The later we start the season, the less the chances of COVID being a problem. Look at HS football moving back 6 months.

Nine games should be our max and 5 divisional games only should be the minimum.


What continues to astound me is the utter lack of leadership on protocols for how teams are going to navigate the reality of the virus. What testing systems are in place, is there testing and tracing systems, does each university have a testing lab up and running? The whole changing the schedule doesn’t really matter without policies in place.

Major League Baseball is playing without crowds and had issues with testing results turnaround times. It will be interesting to see how their season moves along.

The NBA seems to have the most well thought out program. There are isolated and have testing that seems to work.

When will a conference, any conference come up with a well thought out program to ensure the safety of the players. I doubt the Pac-12 will lead on this one. Maybe Oregon can be the leader and really come out and say this is how we are going to keep our players safe. Until then schedules really don’t matter.


As has been noted on FishDuck, WNBA starts its ‘Canarys in the Coalmine’ play this weekend, and is scheduled for lockdown locales like NYC, Chicago, Minneapolis, Washington DC, Seattle, Atlanta, and Los Angeles; among others.

Pray to whichever gods you hold dear for their success on and off the courts.
(insert emojies for wry, ironic, and concern)


I thought the WNBA was playing all their games, and practices too, within the IMG Academy bubble in Florida?… Do I have that wrong?


Your are absolutely right; my bad & thanks. Hadn’t followed it that closely and just took the schedule of games at looked at the teams and their regular season homes.

Awfully ambitious plan to keep all of the players and staff at the academy for almost 8 weeks. By the end of the season everyone will sure know everyone else’s moves & tendencies. Will be interesting to see which teams get better and which get stale.

Really glad to see that Ruthy and Sabrina are not going to be living & playing in their teams towns.


Good stuff, Jon. Looking at the proposed plan; one option is a 10 game schedule, with each team playing its division foes and 5 from the other division, which would involve some tinkering, or if the Presidents decide 9 games is better, keeping the schedule intact. The intact schedule, with UW, Stanford, USC & ASU at Autzen is favorable, and as yesterday’s article told us, if it goes with the 10 game plan, swapping out Ohio State with Utah, is a win.


Oh Jon. You’ve done it again. You have provided us some fun in the lull of off season and during the pandemic. You wrote fitting lyrics to an old tune. You got a dig into Lavish Larry. Keep the stories coming, Jon. Thanks.