Dropped Balls and Other Life Lessons

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Mike Merrell’s Three-and-Out With the success of Oregon football this season, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and fail to notice some of the life lessons that abounded this past week in college football. The vaunted SEC West, for example, once again proved the value of being a big frog in a small pond. Mississippi State and …

F’s for Football’s First Final Four

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Mike Merrell’s Three-and-Out Yes, this flag is dirty, worn out, and a good part of it is cut off — sort of like the idea of a two-team or four-team college football playoff decided by beauty pageant judges. It didn’t take long for the four-team playoff idea to get as dirty and worn out as the BCS Championship Game that …

Stanford: “We Played One of the Best Teams in the Nation Tonight.”

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From the Visitors’ Locker Room Coach David Shaw had a simple explanation for Stanford’s 45-16 loss to Oregon Saturday night. “We played one of the best teams in the nation tonight,” Coach Shaw admitted. “We had to play a near perfect second half and we didn’t do that. Over the past few years, we’ve been evenly matched, but this game …

Follow the Money: The Heisman, SEC and ESPN

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Mike Merrell’s Three-and-Out Television as we know it today exists only because major corporations are willing to pay for the privilege of telling people how and what to think. From the Buick ads with the annoying music to the AFLAC Heisman Award to the Amway Coaches’ Poll to the Rose Bowl Presented by Northwestern Mutual, college football carries no exemption …

Football Mysteries: Player Names, Home Team Losses and Inter-conference Play

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Mike Merrell’s Three-and-Out More so than most years, this college football season has produced much which, on the surface, just doesn’t make a lot of sense: home teams frequently losing, hardly anybody staying undefeated, a log jam of one-loss teams that threatens to be impossible to sort out, and yes, even players’ names. Making sense of players names, home team …

Mike Merrell’s Three-and-Out: Damnation, Redemption and Hope

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Since the previous week featured so much condemnation and in-fighting among Duck fans, a win over a ranked UCLA team was just what the doctor ordered to settle down some heated feelings. It appears that it isn’t just Duck fans who have trouble getting along when their team is losing. UCLA coach Jim Mora blessed us with quite a show …

Mike Merrell’s Three-and-Out: Chin Up, Campers!

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Besides being disappointing to those who came out on the short side of the upset stick, this weekend had to wreak havoc with the playoff selection committee members’ digestive systems. At this point in the season it is hard to imagine that four teams are going to distinguish themselves as being truly above the rest. Settling it on the field …

Mike Merrell’s Three-and-Out: College Football Playoff

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It would be kind to say that a four-team playoff is an improvement over the BCS Championship that it replaced. But what we have isn’t quite the same as trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. It’s more like trying to fit five square pegs plus a few splinters into four round holes. What could go wrong? …

Mike Merrell’s Three-and-Out: Winston, Bruins and Ducks

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There are those Duck fans with the attitude that anything less than a three touchdown win is just unacceptable, and they are heaping criticism on the Duck coaching staff. Some even go so far as to say that the only reason Oregon beat WSU was a favorable non-call on pass interference toward the end of the game. One writer even …

Mike Merrell’s Three-and-Out: The Greatest Blunders of 2013

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It was a long, long time ago that I first saw a team totally snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory. Unfortunately, the team doing it was our own beloved Oregon Ducks. As I say, it was long ago, so I may be mistaken on a detail or two. Anyway,  the way I remember it, the Ducks were down …

Mike Merrell’s Three-And-Out: Where Have All the Villains Gone?

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Before getting into this week’s Three-and-Out, I have one comment that I haven’t seen anywhere else about the big MSU game: Of Oregon’s 46 points, 38 were scored by underclassmen. With Jeff Lockie looking much improved from a year ago with 11-of-12 passing against South Dakota, don’t worry about 2015. There will be life after Mariota. Now, on to the …

Mike Merrell’s Three-And-Out: Nick Aliotti Was Right

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I know. He was fined. It was not politically correct. It was even against the rules. But it was honest, and it was the truth. Just as Nick Aliotti intimated (well, spouted off, actually), during garbage time of last year’s Oregon/Washington State game Wazoo coach Mike Leach should have been working on his running game instead of scoring two passing …