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Blazers get some good challenges

Mon, 11/03/2014 - 12:05pm
Cliff Pfenning
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If you watched the Blazers lose at home to Golden State Sunday night, it was a pretty crummy loss for how it played out - especially with the officials overturning a call with 14.5 seconds left that gave the Warriors the ball.

Official reviews have long been a sore spot for me, primarily with how they are managed, and how long they take. If a call cannot be quickly overturned because was a bad call and has video evidence to prove it, then it should just be left as it was called. Sunday's call, even after three minutes, never had a clear view to be overturned, but that's what reviews have turned into - make the perfect call, even if it's down to an inch.

Having a time limit on reviews would be one way to make NBA games shorter.

The bigger element from Sunday's game was simply how the Blazers struggled to find some rhythm other than Wesley Matthews and then LaMarcus Aldridge because Damian Lillard hasn't gotten in synch yet with the season. And, yet, they still almost won.

But, almost is still a win that didn't happen.

With Cleveland in town Tuesday, then Dallas on Thursday, it's not out of the possibility there's a 1-4 start ahead for Portland. Even with that start, though, the team showed a lot of grit in Sunday's game that should turn into victories long into the season. And, the bench is no longer an issue.

 

College Football Playoff

Sun, 11/02/2014 - 2:41pm
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Sure the first College Football Playoff standings were interesting but don't you think the second one will be more so? Sure #3 played #4 and we'll know what happens there. But Mississippi St. and Florida St. played poor games and didn't win convincingly. Will the committee keep them ranked 1-2 just because they're undefeated? 

They’ve said they’re looking for the best teams. A 7 point win against Arkansas doesn’t seem like the best team in the country to me?

And how far does Ole Miss slip. They were ranked behind Auburn and barley lost, by inches. Do they have to move below the slew of 1 loss teams? Or do they only get dropped a little.

I think it’ll be interesting to see what the committee will do with Auburn, right now I’d move them up. I think they’re better than Miss St and FSU.

What do you think?

Time for a statement victory

Tue, 10/28/2014 - 9:13am
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In the wake of the disastrous loss to Arizona, the University of Oregon football team righted itself and moved directly back into the national title hunt thanks to what you might call ... routine victories.

UCLA, Washington, California. The offense scored nearly 49 points per game, and the defense showed itself to be good enough to hold opponents long enough to allow the offense to get separation on the scoreboard.

The games weren't all that special, other than some big stats being put up by quarterback Marcus Mariota and freshman tailback Royce Freeman. And, the return of Jake Fisher on the offensive line, which got the nation buzzing.

Those were routine wins - solid wins that were in doubt only for short moments. The Ducks only have to repeat that over and over through the Pac-12 Title Game. But, they could use what you might call a "Statement Win." A win that shows off they're where they were for the 46-27 win over Michigan State in Week 2, when the offense took over the second half at the same time the defense absolutely shut down the Spartans.

There's no better team to make this kind of statement against than Stanford, which played its way through the Ducks and into the Pac-12 Title Game the past two seasons, each time dropping Oregon out of the National Championship picture.

Offense on track. Defense on track - especially throughout the second half. Statement.

It certainly doesn't need to be 59-0, or 82-27, but a solid win that shows off to the nation the Ducks still own the Pac-12. Forget about the last two years with the Cardinal, and now Arizona, Oregon's in charge.

There's no Oregon fans who will complain for one second about a one-point win - the result only has to go into the win column. But, a Michigan State-level win is what the rabid UO faithful want, followed by another series of routine wins over Utah, Colorado and Oregon State. Then, another statement win over Arizona in the league title game. That should put some major flavor into the playoff semifinals, keep season tickets in high demand - and keep the recruits for coming seasons looking at Eugene as much as Tuscaloosa.

 

PSU kicks off Big Sky schedule

Sun, 10/05/2014 - 1:12am
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PORTLAND - Portland State scored a huge win Saturday night by beating UC Davis 23-14 in its Big Sky Conference opener at Providence Park.

The Vikings ground game was effective with 254 rushing yards; the defense stymied the Aggies, shutting them out in the first half; and an unlikely source - field goal kicking was pivotal in the win.

With the victory, PSU opens Big Sky play at 1-0 and is now 2-3 overall. The win was also a big emotional boost for a Viking team that had started Big Sky play 0-2 each of the last two seasons.

Jonathan Gonzales booted a 53-yard field goal on the Vikings first possession of the game. The boot tied for second-longest in Portland State history and gave the Vikings a 3-0 lead.

Portland State extended that lead to 10-0 with a 12-play, 88-yard drive on its next series. Kieran McDonagh scored on a six-yard quarterback keeper.

Another lengthy drive, dominated by the Viking running game, ended in another McDonagh rushing touchdown. His three-yard score with 4:11 to go in the second quarter put PSU ahead 17-0 by halftime.

McDonagh notwithstanding, the star of the first half had to be the Viking defense. PSU held the Aggies to only 70 yards on 24 offensive plays. UC Davis had three three-and-outs and no drives longer than five plays in the half.

The Aggies showed some life early in the third quarter, taking advantage of a Patrick Wells interception of a McDonagh pass. On UCD’s first play from scrimmage London Lacy hit Keelan Doss on a 36-yard touchdown, making it 17-7 PSU.

When the Aggies produced a six-play, 62-yard scoring drive late in the third quarter, UC Davis had cut the Viking advantage to 17-14.

But the Vikings’ Gonzales made the difference in the fourth quarter. He added his second field goal of the night, a 30-yarder, three minutes into the period and it was 20-14.

PSU’s defense produced two more three-and-outs. When the Viking offense took over with 6:52 left, it had a chance to put the game on ice. And it did.

The Vikings ran 14 plays, including eight runs by sophomore tailback Nate Tago, in the series. The big play came on 4th-and-2 from the Aggies 45-yard line. Tago got the two yards to extend the drive and burn the clock. With 26 seconds to go, Gonzales made his third field goal of the night, a 19-yard kick, and the Vikings were winners.

Tago finished with a career-high 106 yards on 26 carries. Shaquille Richard, who started at running back, ran 16 times for 93 yards. McDonagh completed 19-37 passes for 194 yards and two interceptions. He also rushed for 33 yards and the two first-half scores.

The Viking offense controlled the ball all night, running 94 plays, converting 13-23 third downs and maintaining more than 35 minutes of possession.

PSU’s defense had its best night of the season, holding the Aggies to 240 total yards. The Vikings shut down UCD’s running game, giving up only 44 yards on 21 carries. Viking Coach Nigel Burton expressed his pleasure with the defense when commenting on the risky fourth-down play the Vikings attempted and converted late in the game. “When coaches go for it on fourth down, what it really says is you are confident in your defense (if you don’t make it).”

Linebackers Anthony McNichols and Zach Berg and defensive tackle Junior Alexis had six tackles each to lead the Vikings.

“(The win) was ugly but effective, and sometimes those are the best ones,” said Burton. We know there is a lot we can fix, but we still got the win, and that is better than the alternative.”

Who's the sexy dude on the sideline?

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 4:00pm
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Oregon State released its schedule for the 2014-15 men's basketball season on Monday, and gave its loyal fans a brief on ticket prices for the 17-game homes.

And, it promoted the Las Vegas tournament the team will play in - opening with Oklahoma State. Actually a pretty good schedule to be able to make some noise in the college hoop world with an upset or two. The Beavers didn't upset much during five years under coach Craig Robinson.

OSU promoted the schedule as the first under new head coach Wayne Tinkle, who made Montana a regular in the NCAA Tournament from the Big Sky.

Nowhere, though, did the Beavers announce their new head coach was so sexy.

Not, of course to me, but to the women - or woman - of the world, primarily Nicole Shea, who works for College Basketball Insider. During the 2013-14 season, the site, collegeinsider.com, had Shea go through coaches: both head and assistants; and pick out 100 to make a list.

She put Tinkle on top.

That was before Tinkle got the nod to replace Robinson after eight years at Montana.

Here's the list:

http://collegeinsider.com/top100/

So, the Beavers moved from having the President's brother-in-law as coach to the "Sexiest Coach in College Basketball." Tinkle, who beat out PSU coach Tyler Geving for the award, even had a short acceptance speech on the site.

If you go through the list, there's a few other coaches with Oregon connections, including a former OSU head coach.

 

2014 US Open Review

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 8:01am
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Well the 2014 US Open for Roofball is in the books and I’m very happy to announce that Derek Weber, that’s me, won his/my seventh tournament.

We had 21 players competing for the 16th annual US Open and the final three came down to Christian Verkest, Dale Bernhardt, (both one-time RFA Cup Champs) and myself. Christian and I advanced to the finals were Christian got off to a solid start with an around in the second inning. We traded throws until Christian needed a ping and a catch on his last throw to tie. Christian let the ball go and hit the pole, now all he needed was a catch, but the ball took a huge bounce to the right and went to far for him to catch it. I threw my last throw not needing anything got a simple catch. Final score of 40-38.

Seven women participants played setting a record for most women competitors in one tournament. Try as they might they could not beat Amy Determan who won her fifth Woman’s Title. She tied her own single-game score with a 47. One newcomer made the semi's as Devin Humpage threw a 26, 37, 25.

The next tournament, the Roofball games, will be played in September. Stay tuned for more details.

The Majors are heading for a great playoff run

Wed, 08/13/2014 - 8:54am
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The Major League Baseball playoffs are still a couple months away, but it's not too early to start predicting the teams that are likely to be involved. And, it's going to be a nervous two months for baseball executives watching the wild-card races in terms of who's going to be watching those upcoming playoffs.

They've got some tough numbers to beat, as last year's playoffs produced some of the best ratings in three seasons when the Boston Red Sox beat the Detroit Tigers in the American League Championship Series, and St. Louis Cardinals beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League.

This year, it could be the Dodgers against the Washington Nationals, while the Baltimore Orioles play the Oakland A's. That would be something - going from four of the hotbed markets (they were four of the top nine teams in the league for average attendance and filled an average of 90 percent of their stadiums), to only one of the top 12 in terms of attendance, with an average of just 75 percent of their stadiums filled.

And, they would only be in three markets - Baltimore/Washington, D.C., Oakland and Los Angeles.

So, New York Yankees, you've got baseball and television execs pulling for you every game, just as they're pulling for the Tigers and Los Angels Angels in the American League. They're pulling for the Cardinals, Atlanta Braves and San Francisco Giants in the National League.

Gonna be a great playoff run, not only on the field, but in the stands and on television.

2014 US Open Preview, No Roofball not Tennis

Wed, 08/13/2014 - 8:52am
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We’re 4 days away from the 16th annual US Open. 

On August 17 24 players will compete for the 16th annual US Open. Defending Champion Derek Weber (hey that's me!), will try to defend his back to back titles against eight time champ, Casey Campbell, six time champ Dan O’Reilly and four time champs Adam Willis and Buddy Emmons. Jason Richard a 3 time champ looks to win his 4th title out of 5 tournements ever played.

Other competitors include:

Steve Stupey – 2009 US Open Champ and 2014 RFA Cup Champ

Beth Willis – 14 time woman’s champion

Amy Determan – Two time woman’s champion

If you’re interested in learning more check out www.roofball.org where you can find out more about the rules, players and records. Interested in showing up watching or possibly playing? Email president@roofball.org.

Simonton is a great choice

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 9:20am
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Ken Simonton, who ran for more than 5,000 yards during his four seasons at Oregon State, was among the list of five inductees who joined the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame during the annual ceremony at the Multnomah Athletic Club.

Dave Husted, Lindsey Yamasaki, Barry Adams and Harry Merlo joined the Hall as the Class of 2013/14 during the ceremony.

Simonton reached the national sports scene as a freshman in 1998 when he ran for 1,028 yards, becoming only the second freshman to pass the 1,000-yard barrier in the Pac-10s history. As a junior, he led the Beavers to an 11-1 record and win over Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. Prior to his senior season, Sports Illustrated had him on its cover along with Oregon's Joey Harrington as Heisman Trophy contenders.

After finishing his collegiate career with 5,044 yards, he played briefly in the NFL, NFL Europe and the Canadian Football League before retiring in 2008.

Husted established himself as one of America's top bowlers after turning pro in 1978. He won 14 PBA Tour events, including the U.S. Open three times, and had career earnings of more than $1 million.

Yamasaki led Oregon CIty to four OSAA girls basketball titles (1995-98), before playing at Stanford for four seasons. She played briefly in the WNBA, and professionally in Europe before retiring in 2006.

Adams coached high school basketball for 40 years, and won 656 games and a pair of state titles. He also operated the Cascade Sports Camp for 40 years.

Merlo was a long-time supporter of local tennis events and owner of the Portland Timbers for three seasons.

 

What a playoff season

Fri, 04/25/2014 - 10:05am
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It's been one of the craziest NBA Playoffs in recent memory, and the lower seed results are starting to drift into the frontal lobes of basketball fans everywhere with a basic question: what if Oklahoma City and Indiana get eliminated in the first round?

That's not just the Thunder and Pacers, respectively, but superstar Kevin Durant and burgeoning superstar Paul George. For the NBA and its TV partners, that would be a huge whack in the gut.

Memphis and Atlanta? In the second round? They each have a 2-1 series lead with a home game coming up this weekend.

Even the Blazers beating Houston in the first round has to be making the NBA shutter as it would take out Superman and constantly media-hyped defensive standout Dwight Howard, and scoring maching James Harden and his beard.

Houston gone, and Portland - hidden out in the Northwest for basketball fans - moving along. Sure, LaMarcus Aldridge has been an All-Star for three consecutive years and has absolutely dominated the series in a historic fashion, but he's never been much of a media personality. His name has rarely been in any offseason headline other than last summer when it was rumored he wanted out of Portland. He denied it quickly, and the story died.

Media hype means viewers.

Fortunately, point guard Damian Lillard is getting some pub through his connection to Adidas, and has started showing up in at least one TV ad. But that's only just starting, and he hasn't gotten into the public eye much in his two years in the league. He's no Steph Curry.

And, it could get worse, too, if Washington upsets Chicago.

The NBA has to be pulling for the Los Angeles Clippers (Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, Doc Rivers) and Miami Heat (Lebron, Wade, Bosh) to move along to a Finals duel, which conspiracy theorists might look to as a reason to why Golden State's Curry didn't draw a foul on the final play of its game against the Clippers Thursday night.

Think officiating might be a factor in the Blazers series with Houston for the next week?

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