Pac-12 Conference

The Pac-12 should hold off and own spring football

Sat, 09/19/2020 - 7:35am
Cliff Pfenning
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Joined: 2010-07-01

In the coming week, the presidents of the 12 colleges that make up the Pac-12 conference (they're now often being referred to as CEOs), will meet to discuss restarting the football season before October ends, like the CEOs of the Pac-12s brother/sister the Big-10 have done.

When they meet, hopefully they'll move off that topic and to a better one - owning spring football.

The Pac-12 should skip fall football and own spring football as it would be the lone major conference playing at that time.

Who really cares about the national championship anyway? It's the confernence title that matters most.

The Pac-12 should skip fall football for 2020, and own spring football, getting back to the 2021 season in fall.


NCAA headed for OSAA changes

Thu, 12/12/2013 - 7:37am
Cliff Pfenning
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When the OSAA expanded to six classifications in 2007 it was to handle competition inequality that much of its membership had become familiar with from regular season and playoff experiences.

Bigger schools had more resources and they were able to win more. So, more classifications seemed like the right way to even out the playing field. Right or wrong, it's now become the way of things in the state with the difference in resources affecting regular season and playoff results less because there's just more playoff results. The change was motivated by smaller schools wanting a better chance to win.

The NCAA might very well be headed for this kind of change, but not because of better chances to win, but better chances to spread the financial resources around - to athletes.

The five biggest conferences: the ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac-12 and the SEC; are looking at the NCAA for ways they can provide more compensation to their athletes because the level of money available from television and marketing has exploded. As with any profession, the workers involved - athletes - want their share, and they've got the public on their side. The schools want to provide more for them, too.

Now, the NCAA is going to be tasked with how to allow that to happen for its members at the Div. I level, which currently has 340 schools. But, only 120 of them play in the Football Bowl Subdivision - FBS, where the money is, and only 65 of them are in the five major conferences, where the real money is. Div. 1 football is already split into two divisions, FBS and FCS, and football is splitting up conferences, too. The Big East split in half last year because some schools did not have big-time football teams. That conference turned into the American Athletic Conference, which the Big 5 have to share revenue with through the NCAA because they both play Div. I basketball, which hasn't been split in two.

Many of the Div. I schools, though, rely on money from the NCAA Basketball Tournament as well as the marketing presence simply playing at Div. I gives them. That's like the Kansas City Royals being able to play the New York Yankees. Overall, the Royals have almost no chance of winning the World Series because their player salaries are about a quarter of what the Yankees can pay their players. The NCAA has this at the Div. I level because of football. That's like Arkansas State being able to play at Oregon last year. The Ducks used it to boost their stats in front of nearly 60,000 fans. The Red Wolves used it to get a fat check from the Ducks.

In a couple years, it might be the Ducks compensating its own players with the same money it used to pay Arkansas State to visit Autzen Stadium.

It's not hard to see the five major conferences moving toward becoming the real Div. I with the ability to compensate players, and there being more than three NCAA classifications.

Football bowl games have been a sticking point for years, but with the creation of a playoff system, and realization that bowl games are bonanzas for the cities and organizations that run them more so than for the schools involved, the bowl system is headed for elimination. Why should Oregon State and Boise State pay Honolulu thousands of dollars to play there - buying expensive tickets for the game being part of the process - when they can make that money themselves by playing at one of the two schools in a playoff game?

This is the first step toward football money changing the face of NCAA athletics and athletes, too.




Oregon back to No. 2

Ducks handle UCLA and pass Florida State in BCS Rankings
Oct. 28, 2013 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

The University of Oregon football team moved back to where most of the nation and all of Oregon want it to be Sunday when the second BCS Rankings were reveleased - right behind Alabama.

Following a decisive 42-14 win over No. 12 UCLA, Oregon edged past Florida State, which dominated North Carolina State 49-17 Saturday, but still dropped as the Wolfpack were unranked.

Oregon, 8-0, plays at No. 5 Stanford, 7-1, Nov. 7 with a victory essentially assuring the team a spot in the National Championship game, Jan. 6, as long as it wins out from there.

Two-time defending national champion Alabama remained No. 1, with unbeaten Ohio State at No. 4.

UCLA dropped to No. 20.

Oregon State fell out of the national rankings after its 20-12 loss to Stanford Saturday. The Beavers, who had their six-game win streak snapped and dropped to 6-2, play host to USC, 5-3, Friday night.

Oregon's Marcus Mariota continued to move toward an invitation to the Heisman Trophy ceremony by throwing for 230 yards and a touchdown Saturday. Mariota has yet to throw an interception this season.

Byron Marshall ran for 133 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Oregon ground game, which racked up 323 total yards.



Oregon's got the heart

The cast picks the Ducks for the Pac-12 title game unanimously - almost
Aug. 20, 2013 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

It's unanimous - almost - that the Oregon Ducks will represent the North in the Pac-12 Conference football championship game, Dec. 7, although that's the alumni opinion.

Voting from the heart, the Ducks own Oregon.

On the other side of the Mississippi River, Stanford seems as good a selection as Oregon.

That's the view of the cast of Sportsland, Oregon, as they ranked the Pac-12 in football, from top to bottom in the North and South just a week away from the start of the regular season. Oregon got the nod in the North from Cliff Pfenning and Derek Weber - both grads, while Marlon Thomas - an Atlanta native - went with the Cardinal. Oregon State ranked third on all three ballots.

In the South? It's a free-for-all, as UCLA, USC and Arizona State got tabbed for the title game.

Episode 20 also delved into Major League Baseball, the continuing drama of Johnny Football and the value of a signature to college players and the challenge of officiating a game in any sport.

It's all recorded at Blitz in the Pearl District of Northwest Portland.



Ducks, Beavers get early season home test

Cal, Stanford visit for Pac-12 weekend series
Jan. 3, 2012

Oregon and Oregon State will get a significant early season test beginning Thursday when they play the first half of a weekend series with Cal and Stanford in Pac-12 men’s college basketball.

Cal and Stanford both swept their series with UCLA and USC and are both 12-3 heading for Thursday.

Oregon beat Washington State, but lost to Washington over the weekend and is 10-4 overall.

Oregon State got swept by the Washington schools, but is also 10-4.

The Ducks play host to Stanford Thursday at 6 p.m. in a game that will be televised by Comcast Sports Northwest. Senior Garrett Sim and junior E.J. Singler lead the Ducks in scoring at 12.8 points per game.

Oregon State, which leads the conference in scoring average at 82.6 points per game, plays host to Cal at 7:30 p.m. The Beavers also lead the conference in assists, steals and turnover margin.

Oregon State junior Jared Cunningham leads the conference in scoring at 17.0 points per game.

OSU plays host to Stanford Saturday night at 7 p.m., while Oregon plays host to Cal Sunday at 4:30 p.m., with both games being televised by Root Sports Northwest.

Oregon’s win over Washington State was the lone road win in conference play this season.

Heading into the weekend, there are no Pac-12 teams in either the Associated Press of ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. Only Stanford and Cal received any votes in either poll.


Oregon, OSU women hit the road for weekend

No. 4 Stanford is the heart of the weekend series for Ducks, Beavers
Jan. 3, 2012

After a weekend with the Washington schools, Oregon and Oregon State travel to the Bay Area to face Cal and No. 4 Stanford beginning Thursday in Pac-12 Conference women’s basketball action.

The Ducks and Beavers both beat Washington and lost to Washington State.

Oregon scored a season-low 47 points in a 28-point loss to Washington State and were on their way to a second consecutive blowout loss, trailing Washington by 16 midway through the second half. The Ducks rallied to win 88-86.

OSU lost to WSU, 61-54, in double overtime.

The Beavers head into weekend play at 10-3 overall, while Oregon is 9-5.

Stanford leads the conference at 11-1 overall after a weekend sweep of UCLA and USC.

Cal is 9-5 after dropping both weekend games.

The Ducks face Stanford Thursday, while OSU is at Cal.


Oregon, Pac-12 survive inaugural title game

Fri, 12/02/2011 - 10:24pm
Cliff Pfenning
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As Chip Kelly prepared to head for the locker room after the first half, FOX Sports sideline commentator Tim Brewster asked Oregon coach Chip Kelly how he felt about his team's play and he talked about the need to limit mistakes and catch passes. Fans watching the game could only agree with Kelly on the opportunities the Duck missed to make a statement to the nation.

Forget, of course, that the Ducks had 35 points at the time. The inaugural Pac-12 Football Championship Game was that frustrating to watch with any kind of perspective as the Ducks won 49-31 and earned a spot in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 2.

Oregon blew out UCLA in the first half, but the score could have been even more of a blowout if just a couple plays had gone differently.

The Ducks were never in danger of losing to a team that lost 50-0 last week and was playing under its coach for the final time after his firing Monday. Oregon had dreams of playing in the BCS Title game just two weeks ago. The Ducks caused a turnover in two plays, then scored in four, with LaMichael James running untouched through the Bruins' version of the Sahara Desert Defense that included no linebackers or even one safety.

So, how would a 70-0 win in a conference title game look?

Then Oregon relaxed. Its next two drives ended in turnovers, including one that got returned for a score and tied the game 7-all. Oregon played undisciplined in all facets of its game, including a flock of penalties, and still scored 49 points. That would've led some people to Tweet something like "we sucked, and still creamed them."

UCLA never had a chance to win, but it won by not getting absolutely blown out.

So, what score would've made the Pac-12 look better - 70-0, where Oregon played at the level it would've needed to beat USC? Or the actual 49-31, where Oregon played at a level where coaches would've busted blood vessels had they been playing an elite-level opponent, yet still won by three scores?

The Pac-12, which had four of its 12 coaches fired this year, didn't fare much better, especially with the game coverage on FOX Sports. Audio didn't work regularly. There were numerous points where camerawork seemed to be without any direction, including the halftime Tuition Toss. De'Anthony Thomas disappeared from the game for an unknown reason, but showed up on the sideline, which caused Brewster to point out that only time would tell if Thomas would play again. That's some solid sideline work.

Of course, Oregon vs. UCLA isn't exactly Wisconsin vs. Michigan State. FOX Sports won't be making those errors in the Big 10 title game.

To put an exclamation point on the uneven evening, Kelly verbally pumped up conference sponsors Dr. Pepper and UPS on the stage quickly erected in an end zone, shortly after honoring outgoing University of Oregon President Richard Lariviere.

What an evening. It sure didn't make the Pac-12 look like an even competitor to a conference like the Big 10, but that can all be wiped away on Jan. 2 in the Rose Bowl.

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