Does a Conference-Only Schedule Benefit the Ducks?

Jon Joseph Editorials

(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.

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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.

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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.

Winners

  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.

Losers

  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 FishDuck.com Volunteer Editor for this article, works in higher education in Chicago, Illinois.

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