Coping with COVID Cancellations: What are OREGON’S Chances?

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck Editorials 53 Comments

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As always, I’ve been pondering about Our Beloved Ducks and have been fascinated with the impact of mental issues hitting other teams in the conference. Oregon has met these challenges well thus far, but both the fans and the team may have some trying times ahead. I have written before about the importance of establishing mental toughness, just as Coach Mario Cristobal has set a standard for also being physically tough.

What do you think the odds are that Oregon will have a game cancelled?

How will this young team hold up if the Ducks have a game cancelled?

The disappointments of losing in Pullman two years ago along with two games lost last year that were quite winnable helped to build a mental foundation for this team that had not existed at Oregon for five years. I was especially proud of how the Ducks came out in the second half last Saturday and not only did not wilt, but stormed to the challenge. That game added another brick to the all-important culture being built at Oregon … but we are about to be tested like no other time in Oregon football history.

Bob Hubner of WSU Photos

Jaylen Redd epitomizes second half toughness against the Cougars.

Geez, what a weird year. While the Oregon players seemed to be a little rusty in the first two games, they were not as out-of-sync as I feared going into the season. The differences in execution by Pac-12 teams between the first and second game is vast, and our next opponent UCLA is a great example of that. Oregon has adjusted admirably thus far, but what if there is a game cancellation? Will that obliterate the delicate mental balance achieved thus far by our young team?

Yes, I know I am fussing over something that hasn’t happened yet, but the impact to the team is massive if games do get cancelled. Last weekend? Cal was a mess, Washington was unrefined and poor Utah is bound to be a shadow of what the Utes could have been if there had been a regular season. (All of their games have been cancelled thus far in 2020.) Sports and mental health are connected. Playing the games has a positive effect on mental health of the team, while missing too many games can truly mess with their heads.

Oregon is on a roll, is improving, and I don’t want to see that momentum slide backwards. When a game is canceled, there are myriad emotions that both players and fans experience that range from feeling depressed, disappointed, frustrated, or anxious. The cancellation also brings up complicated issues surrounding how the teams will move forward in competitions like the Cal-UCLA game last week, (deciding to play at the last minute abruptly), which ultimately have more mental effects than physical — by a mile.

Eugene Johnson

The offensive line at Oregon has embraced the reality of their youth, and flourished.

After a game cancellation due to COVID-19, the players will understand the reason behind the game being canceled, but that does not stop the bizarre set of emotions that will beset them. Some athletes may naturally practice Radical Acceptance, a technique where you embrace the reality of what’s in front of you. You don’t try to change what’s going on, but understand that there are some things that are beyond your control. Radical acceptance isn’t giving up, but it does help the players cope with the lack of games.

Is that enough?

Fans have been dealing with the everyday stresses from COVID, and are turning to help from the professionals, as the Ducks have their own team psychologist. While there are great sources for fans to turn to for help such as this one, … is there anything available to the staff that can help to overcome a mental hurdle never experienced before in Oregon football?

Eugene Johnson

I’m sure these fans get just as wound up at home watching the game as I do!

I know; I’m a nervous-Nellie who wants Our Beloved Ducks to win the conference, but after seeing other teams impacted significantly from COVID cancellations — I recognize a potentially big mental challenge ahead that could cripple the prospects of this team.

What do you think the odds are of Oregon having a game cancelled, and what impact will it have on their future performance?

“Oh, how we love to ponder about Our Beloved Ducks!”

Charles Fischer   (Mr. FishDuck)
Eugene, Oregon
Top Photo by UO Athletics

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For Football Season: FishDuck Back to Seven Days a Week!

I had to shut down the daily articles on July 20th because I could no longer work the extra 3 to 12 hours per week of certain managerial/editorial duties. (beyond the usual ones with FishDuck)

I’ve had a blast writing without those duties, and now, due to a new agreement with the writers, I can announce that we will have articles seven days a week again. I wish to thank the writers publicly for their graciousness in coming to a solution, as now I still do not have do those extra duties with our agreement, and meanwhile the writers are back having fun creating articles as I am.

Everybody is happy! So below is the new schedule through football season:

Monday: Mr. FishDuck
Tuesday: Darren Perkins
Wednesday: Joshua WhittedMr. FishDuck
Thursday: Coach Eric BolesAlex Heining
Friday: David Marsh
Saturday: Mr. FishDuck (GameDay Baby!)
Sunday: Jordan Ingram

A couple of writers could not join us as they have new projects in their lives, and cannot write for anyone at the moment–but perhaps we will see them back later.

Things rarely work out so well for all parties in agreements, but this time it has and truly….everyone wins!

Our 33 rules at FishDuck can be summarized to this: 1) be polite and respectful, 2) keep it clean, and 3) no reference of any kind to politics. Easy-peasy!

FishDuck members….we got your back.  No Trolls Allowed!

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Don’t worry about things you can’t control, a notion many adults have trouble grasping. If these young men take nothing else away they’re still way ahead of the game.


Pac-12 to allow nonconference football games. Take it to the bank.


Oregon the only college in the country to have first round picks in the 2020 NBA, WNBA and NFL drafts.

Joining Pritchard as 2020 first rounders are Justin Herbert (Los Angeles Chargers) in the NFL Draft and Sabrina Ionescu (New York Liberty), Satou Sabally (Dallas Wings) and Ruthy Hebard (Chicago Sky) in the WNBA Draft.

The Ducks are now one of just eight programs nationally that has produced six or more NBA Draft picks over the last four seasons.

David Marsh

Per Yesterday’s article about Oregon’s offensive line this video from the Oregonian’s Aaron Fentress of a film breakdown from the WSU game where the Oregon offensive line’s blocking power was on full display. Wroth a watch for those interested.


Thanks for sharing!


Great stuff, thanks for sharing, David. If only football were played all the time at half-speed, I might be better able to understand what’s going on.

Jon Joseph

Have a 6 pak and you can watch at half speed.


How ’bout them Ducks? Loving the Big Uglies. It’s a Monster Jam.


I’d be more concerned about a cancellation if we were playing a team from the state of Arizona or Utah. If I had to rank the most likely game to be canceled it would be Cal because the city of Berkeley has protocols more stringent than the PAC12.

David Marsh

We will know if Cal is allowed to play in Berkley before the Oregon game as Cal’s first home game is supposed to be played next week. Granted that is the game against Stanford which is a close team geographically… but I find it difficult to imagine that Berkley would allow Stanford v Cal but not Oregon v Cal at the same venue…

However… if something like that were to happen I think Cal would rather go to Eugene than not play at all.. especially since home field advantage really only applies to travel and weather (which is a significant factor in the Pac-12 over other conferences) as fans are not allowed.


Cal had to cancel their first game against ASU because of the Berkeley protocols

Jon Joseph

Good call. I think that is exactly what would happen if the CAL team is good to go and the Ducks are not allowed to play in Berkeley.

Steven A

As of now, the players are probably dealing with “what if” a game is canceled seeing how so many have been canceled already.

Off this subject, but in regard to a earlier article, this is the perfect year to give the non power 5 schools a seat at the playoff table at the expense of the Pac 12 for having a short season…..they can let a Cinny or BYU in and then say “see, it can be done/it is a fair system”.

I doubt that the Sheriff of Doctor Pepperville, a/k/a The BOZ, would allow this to happen? After all, it would mean extra work for Billy Bob Hancock.


That is it exactly, they said as much earlier, specifically citing this season as not being one to change The Playoffs. It would require some effort this season, maybe even some heavy lifting. But, if it would expand to the 8 team format, it would actually be even easier.

The Committee wouldn’t have to meet up and watch the games, and “study, discuss, deliberate”, whatever else they tell themselves they do to get the 4 teams now. The expanded format would actually constitute a Playoff; they might not like that.

David Marsh

There is quite a bit of talk floating around (not sure how much is official) about moving the playoff back a few weeks to allow teams to play more games. The SEC is being gutted right now with cancellations.

Jimmie Joe, calling in from E Spittoon, Louisiana, wants Pawwall to tell you to hush your mouth, Yankee!

Jon Joseph

Larry Scott put this on the Playoff Oversight Committee’s latest agenda.

This could allow the Pac-12 to play make-up games and/or more conference games. Also the possibility of playing 1 or 2 OOC games.

Jon Joseph

Maybe? But depending how it all works out I think we are more likely to see 2 from the ACC or the SEC?

Cincinnati’s game at UCF on Saturday, being played at the same time as Ducks/UCLA, is going to be a tough out for the Bearcats.


I’m just taking it one day at a time, and being happy whenever a game is played. Gotta find the joy wherever you can.

Jon Joseph

“Some things are beyond our control.” THIS is the truth; If not understated.

So, I am not going to worry. but be happy. 1st, about playing at all in 2020. 2nd, about being 2-0. 3rd, with a 12:30 kickoff Saturday (3:30 back this way,) I will not have to stay up past my beddy-bye time to watch the game on The Deuce.

I would say that the odds are that a game may be canceled? Bridge to cross when, if, it happens?

Speaking of odds. I am now 14-6 on the season ATS (against the spread.) No hubris intended; I do not want to tick off the CFB gods.

Here are tis week’s best guesses.

Florida -31 at Vandy – This is a chance for Kyle Trask to post more ‘Heisman Stats.” I like the Gators to help send Vandy HC, Derek Mason, back to The Farm as the DC for David Shaw?

Clemson -34.5 at FSU – A week to stew over what could have been in South Bend. A week for Trevor Lawrence to practice and get back up to speed. A week for all those dinged D guys to heal. A week to get the run game fixed.

An FSU team that did defeat UNC (making Mack Brown 0-10 lifetime against his alma mater) but has otherwise been well, BAD.

I am doubling down here. Tigers -34.5 and Over 66.5.

And speaking of OVER, I like the Ducks/UCLA game going Over the same #, 66.5. I also like the Ducks to overcome UCLA, but I think the game will be competitive.

Double OT (Off Topic.) – Andy Staples has a take up on his Mailbag today explaining why Mario Cristobal would be the perfect replacement at Michigan if Jim Harbaugh was to step down this season, a year before Harbaugh’s contract expires in 2021.

Staples also points out that contrary to the the popular POV, Uncle Phil does not write a check every time Mullens asks for same.

I know it’s the Season of the Witch (COVID) but at least behind doors, Mullens best be moving to lock-up Mario by making him the highest paid coach in the Pac-12. Mario now makes more $ than only J. Smith at Oregon State.

Michigan would be coming with @$8M! That’s a lot of bread not to butter. And as a place to live and raise a family, no doubt Eugene has a lot going for it. But so does Ann Arbor.


I need a good year at the tables to cover my golf bets!

Jon Sousa

Never bet on golf.

Jon Joseph

Jon, there is a reason why golf is referred to as Pasture Pool.


All credit to Andy, explaining why Mario would be a candidate for any job isn’t quantum level physics, meaning of course that Mullens needs to look at the data that says Mario is only being paid more than is Jonathan Smith. I believe that Mario wants to build a powerhouse at Oregon, he also wants and deserves to deserves to be compensated accordingly.

Jon Joseph

Mario is on many the radar screen.


I am wondering if that does happen where Oregon can’t play a game due to the other team with COVID, maybe another team from the South with the same issue can possibly schedule with Oregon to play a game similar to what UCLA and CAL did.

Would Oregon think it’s worth it, not a lot of time to prepare, to take that chance to be able to play a game and not skip a week? this way you are not lessoning the number of games in already a shorten year.

It would give them a greater chance having enough games to be picked to play in at least one of the New Year Six Bowl Games. Just a thought.


Alex Mirabal looks so tiny in the picture of our linemen…we do have some giants guys on our offense. Expensive to feed those guys ; )

Jon Joseph

Mirabal was 1 of those guys: It’s not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog.

Like others of us, he is vertically challenged.


Just to reprise some late comments to yesterday’s article: Oregon v UCLA will be kicking off @ 12:30 PM PST on ESPN2, thanks to a late cancellation of Texas v Kansas.

Radical acceptance sometimes is easy when OUR team get moved from a prospective twilight kickoff to a nearly unheard of mid-day start! Don’t want antagonize karmic forces but….Sweet! Even our South Carolina expats will be able to watch much of it during daylight back east.

Will there be faux tailgating in driveways or parking lots proximal to the stadium? I believe I’d consider that if I were in Eugene.

Jon Joseph



A cancelation is likely, Such an event will hopefully occur as a postponement. No matter, it is what it is, and Cristobal teams will keep moving forward. Individual athletes will make their own decisions as events unfold. MC will use these tough times to build the culture and the Ducks will emerge even stronger when all the Covid dust settles. Go Ducks! Win Championships.

Jon Joseph

Brent, unless the season is pushed back, there is no room to play a canceled game. Games are postponed in the ACC. B12 and the SEC but in the B1G and the Pac-12 canceled games are declared to be ‘No Contest.’

There is a glimmer of hope with the ADs voting to allow OOC play if a game is canceled. But this would take some fast and fancy scheduling footwork.

BYU is available the next 2 weeks after this Saturday. Game canceled with Oregon healthy, play BYU now and not in the Fiesta Bowl?

Good point Charles. My gut tells me Oregon will be playing BYU. In the Fiesta Bowl.

How about a game vs UNLV?


Thanks for keeping me straight Jon, as I was recalling a one week option for rescheduling games. My bad. Odds are against playing a full schedule under the current spread and increasing rate of Covid virus. The odds favor Covid, but the Mighty Ducks might PREVAIL!

Jon Joseph

“Bad?” Good luck keeping track of anything in 2020.

All the best to you Brent. Not an oxymoron to refer to you as my SC-Duck-buddy.


It would be very frustrating to all involved to have a game, or rest of the season cancelled. Wa are told everyday that the spread of the virus is accelerating. That makes it seem unavoidable that cancellations will occur. I am hopeful that the season continues. The games bring some normalcy to the fall weekends.

The impact of this virus is taking its toll on people in so many different ways. I won’t go on a rant about my thoughts on this fact…but, like everyone else, I really want too!!!

Stay safe and healthy everyone.


Well Charles, unfortunately it seems more likely than not that an Oregon game will be canceled, either because of Oregon being hit, or the other team. Would the affect be harder to deal with if it was the Ducks, or the other team that caused the cancelation?

With nothing to go on other than what we’ve seen from Mario and the coaching staff, I see the Ducks handling the cancelation as well as possible. I see Mario rallying the team to face this obstacle together. I fear it will be we, the fans, that will have a much harder time embracing the radical acceptance.

In the case of Washington last weeks game, after a cancelation, was their first of the season. Washington is normally unrefined, so the cancelation only exacerbated it. This does bring up the question of will the frustration be heightened because the Ducks will be in midseason if they have a game canceled? A lot to ponder with this one.

As Scarlett O’Hara told us, “Tomorrow is another day”

Jon Joseph

If the president’s approve the ADs approval of playing OOC if a game is canceled, there is a glimmer of hope the Ducks could play if the conference opponent and not the Ducks was the reason for the cancellation.

But, would there be enough notice to get this on?


My guess is that such contingencies have been proposed and the conversations are underway with modifications as the events of the season progress. As you have said before, there are big $ on the line.

Jon Joseph

According to Wilner, every game canceled = $5M!