Opinion: In The Hands of Man
“Everything is good as it leaves the hands of the Author of things; everything degenerates in the hands of man.” From a simple statement grows a strong opinion about the state of athletics and our places as fans. The pressure of winning is intense; more now than ever. Coaches are paid exorbitant amounts of money to do just that; win. And we cheer for them to win. We hope that whatever it takes to win is legitimate enough to not cause real trouble. And when we roll in the mud with hogs, we are bound to get some dirt under our nails. Everything degenerates in the hands of man.
Breaking Down Match-Ups
Each week during the season, I will take the time to break down the match-ups at each position group for both the Ducks and their opponent. A unique look at which team has the edge at each position as well as an overall preview of the match-ups.
Every week I will bring new feature articles for the reader to get to know the Duck Empire just a little better. The Duck Empire is vast and complex, these stories will bring you inside the lives of other Duck fans.
We are always working to bring you breaking news and exclusive stories. The Other Side of Duck was the only Oregon member to interview Lache Seastrunk after his transfer. We are working on future exclusive stories and will work non-stop to bring you the very latest news.
The Other Side Of Duck
We are here to bring you a side of Duck sports that no one else brings. There are two sides to every story, our goal is to bring you the side of the story less discussed. In addition, we will continue to provide more content than responses to other stories. Original content, exclusive interviews, strong opinions and feature articles.
Monday, January 23, 2012
As news broke yesterday that Chip Kelly was seriously negotiating with Tampa Bay to succeed Raheem Morriss and become the Buccaneers next head football coach, writers, columnists and amateurs everywhere immediately began the speculation: Was the sudden departure a Pete Carroll-esque midnight dash to avoid sanctions?
To many people, this made a lot of sense. The season is over, it has been several months since the notice of inquiry was announced and the Tampa Bay rumors made little sense to them. So, they began to speculate. As rival fans swelled with excitement and Duck fans began to ponder "life after Chip," the athletic department was silent which only served to further fuel speculation and rumors.
Recently, I have been asked by a thread started on one particular internet message board that said, essentially the NCAA gave Oregon advance notice of impending sanctions and that Chip would need to be sacrificed to minimize the sanctions. From there Chip decided to leave.
This scenario is just not possible. Let me explain. The NCAA, while they are very scattered in their punishment of schools and no one can predict punishment, there is one thing that they are very stringent with: process. The NCAA follows their process by the book, every time.
The process proceeds as follows:
1. After learning of possible violations, the NCAA will begin an initial inquiry process to gather some basic facts. This happens nearly constantly. In this case, that began last March when the NCAA asked for financial and other records of every football player from the state of Texas. They also requested documents regarding their recruitment.
2. Letter of Inquiry. If the NCAA believes that there is a reason to dig further, they will send out a Notice of Inquiry. Institutions receive these more frequently than we know as well. Many turn up nothing, some turn up violations that are considered major. Oregon received a Notice of Inquiry in early September
3. After receiving a Notice of Inquiry, the NCAA has six months to complete it's investigation and present a Notice of Allegations. At the moment, the NCAA is in the investigative stage. From my earlier article, you should know that it appears the NCAA concluded their interviews with Duck players in December when Dontae Williams spoke with the NCAA. If there is no Notice of Allegations within six months, the NCAA can inform the school that the investigation is going to continue or they can say that no wrongdoing has been found and close the investigation. If they extend past the initial six months, the NCAA must inform the university of their progress every six months.
4. Notice of Allegations. This is where it gets serious. When the NCAA sends this notice, it means that they believe they have found major violations and lists those possible violations along with the rights and responsibilities of the university. A Notice of Allegations does not include any suggested sanctions. It simply lists those violations that the NCAA believes have been committed.
5. Institution Response. After receiving a Notice of Allegations, the university has 90 days to respond to the alleged violations in the Notice of Allegations. This is the point at which most universities will either self-impose or tell their side of the story as to why they think the actions were not violations. The NCAA has been fairly lenient with cooperative institutions who positively self impose reasonable sanctions for their violations.
6. Hearing. At this point the Committee on Infractions will meet and decide if the university has violated the rules it is accused of violating. If the university admits to all of the allegations, then this step will likely be skipped over, for the most part as it is simply the university pleading guilty.
7. Sanctions. If the NCAA finds that the university did indeed commit the infractions, or if the university has admitted their violations, sanctions will follow. The NCAA can accept any self-imposed sanctions and call the case closed or they can decide that the self imposed sanctions are insufficient and levy even more sanctions.
Folks, we are still in step 3, there is no way possible that the NCAA violated all of its premises to give Oregon and Chip Kelly a heads up.
Later this afternoon, I received more calls regarding the rumors about impending doom. Let me say that I have always been fairly forthcoming that I think that the NCAA will find some wrongdoing and give the Ducks some form of sanctions. I have never believed, though, that the sanctions will include a post-season ban. The actions the NCAA are investigating do not rise to the level of Ohio State this past year. No one knew about extra benefits and hid them from the administration then lied to NCAA investigators about them.
WHERE DID THE RUMORS EMANATE?
Where do I think that the rumors started? I think that there is a certain amount of validity hidden somewhere inside the fabulously false rumors. I have heard from more than one person who speaks with coaches regularly outside of football, that the coaches recently heard some news and that has caused some level of worry amongst different people. Let me say, though, that this has gone through a little bit of the "telephone game" phase. It has been greatly distorted as it has worked its way through.
The NCAA, like any large institution is not immune to leaks. Oregon has a former graduate who reached very high levels in the NCAA and the attorney Oregon has hired, Michael Glazier, is a former NCAA employee. Certainly there could have been word that a Notice of Allegations was imminent.
This is where it gets speculative. Many sources have said that the Ducks received news of sanctions. Highly unlikely, though, as I already outlined, that the NCAA has skipped from phase 3 to phase 7 without any steps in between. A more plausible scenario is that Glazier learned of a Notice of Allegations pending and self-imposed sanctions have begun to be suggested. This is very plausible and much more realistic than the sanctions have been "pre-warned" to Oregon.
The good news is that even those predicting harder than "slap on the wrist" penalties are not talking about vacating wins or post season bans.
Those that follow recruiting closely might know that the Ducks played 2011 with just 74 scholarship players, not including walk-ons who were granted scholarships during the season. That means that any scholarship reductions will be easily absorbed. The Ducks have also used less of their available recruit official campus visits this season which could be a sign that the Ducks are trying to use those "lost visits" as part of self-imposed sanctions.
EASING SOME FEARS
Again, most of the speculative part is my attempt to ease the fears of Duck fans. I simply do not see any indication that the Ducks are about to get "hammered." There is little indication that the Duck faithful need to worry about sanctions that will tear down the fortress that we have seen built over the last 15-20 years.
Don't be surprised, though, by some form of sanctions.
Sunday, January 22, 2012
The sad part is, that this commentary would have had a rightful place sometime down the road. But to write it as he lay dying was in about as poor of taste as anything I can imagine any columnist ever putting to print.
So while Canzano chastised Joe Paterno's character, he simply exposed the truth of your own character. The Bald Faced Truth indeed.
I will write more on this later today.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
I have not posted much since the Rose Bowl win. I took some time to decpompress and felt that there was nothing critically important that I needed to express. Every thing that has happened after that game has been beaten to death by just about everyone in media. My voice likely would have just been a muddled mess thrown into the garbled pile of voices.
The other component to this absence is that I have also been quite busy at work catching up from being gone for nearly two weeks. I was listening to Dave Smith's show, where I was a frequent guest during the season as a way to "stay in touch" with the world of sports along with my regular reading, of course. Over the last two work weeks, however, I have been inundated with new problems and have not had as much time to listen to radio during the work day.
Lo and behold last week I happened to tune in to 750 The Game at noon looking forward to hearing my friend on the radio... and he was gone. In his place some atrocious concept by the least evolved persona in Portland radio since Marconi, Pork Chop, and a show called "The Man Cave."
First of all, let me just say that the people on that show were not men; they were pre-pubescent children that never grew up. They were Peter Pan with foul language. I spent four years in the Marine Corps, I can swear with the best of them. Nonetheless, there is a time and place. I tune in to sports radio to listen to people have intelligent conversations about sports because I enjoy the topic. And, I can tell you that Chop and Ditch have as much sports knowledge in their entire bodies as I do in the nail of my little toe. I tolerated both of these guys during their stint on KUFO because I preferred the music on that station to the bland "MIX" stations that populate Portland radio. But I cannot stomach their nonsense when they begin to defile something that brings a lot of good to the world. Neither of these pre-pubescent morons have an inkling of what athletics are about due to their complete lack of intestinal fortitude.
It gets quite tiresome to have people make assumptions about male sports fans simply because we have a side of our personality that enjoys competition.
I was a frequent guest on Dave's show and appreciated the opportunity to talk football during college football season. As many who may have spoken with me or even read some of the stuff I have written may know, not all male sports fans are Neanderthals. In fact, some of us even read non-sports books on occasion! I, for one, have not read a sports book in many years. Most of my personal leisure time is spent reading from a little deeper pool.
Every fan I know is much more evolved than these guys. If I weren't so tight with my money, maybe I would buy satellite radio and not have to deal with adults who think they are cool when they act like 10 year old children, unfortunately, for the time being, I am stuck listening to whatever radio stations Portland has to offer OR listening to CD's.
Gosh, I would switch to Big Suck and Little Ropper, but, unfortunately, their 6-7 "Club 1080" is only better than the "Man Cave" on one level; they don't talk like stupendously ignorant 10 year old boys for their show. Nonetheless, their last hour (the hour that I drive home) is not worth listening to most of the time, and I don't particularly care to attempt to listen every day to get the one good show out of ten.
So, I guess the recording industry should give Alpha Broadcasting a thank you note as I will likely find myself listening to more CD's now. At least during the day I can listen to Pandora and choose what I want to listen to with only a limited amount of commercials.
Once again, Alpha Broadcasting has failed the very people that they should be striving to entertain; the listeners.
Does anyone in Portland radio remember the DISASTER that was 94.7 when they let Marconi have his own show? These guys are worse. Apparently, in radio, you don't learn from past mistakes, you simply make even worse mistakes.
Good bye sweet sports radio, your demise is not far off on 750 The Game.
It is time that every reader lets this get to at least 10 other friends, make your voices heard to Alpha Broadcasting and 750 The Game. Bernard Bohkeni cannot carry his own show. This idiotic concept of "The Man Cave" does not belong on radio. Bring back Dave Smith. If not Dave, bring back Wheels at Work.
Something. ANYTHING has got to be a better option.
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Pre Game Day Fun
Friday-Saturday: Prior to game day, we arrived late Friday night and we had a DSA member in the room right next to us. victory2128 and his fiance met with us Friday night and we made plans to hang out Saturday. We spent the day driving up 101 and kinda sight seeing from the car and talking Ducks before heading to lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings.
Saturday Night: Went downtown and had some drinks with AJ, got to meet some pretty cool people. Spent some time talking with a couple of Wisconsin radio people as well as a couple of local writers... even a chance to meet the Rose Bowl Media Director... they did an amazing job this year setting everything up.
Sunday My family and I took victory2128 and his fiance down to the Santa Monica Pier early where we hung out, ate lunch at the Mexican place at the end of the pier before heading over to the Pep Rally. While it was rather mundane compared to last year's pep rally, it was more "old fashioned" with a LOT more of the band, a GREAT pep talk by Joey Harrington and the best version of "Mighty Oregon" ever (okay, that MIGHT be an exaggeration, BUT, that 4 year old was pretty cool!)!
After the pep rally, we all went out to dinner and then got back tot he room fairly early as we had to get up REALLY early to secure our spot... like, we were there by 4:15 AM!
Tailgate We had another great time in Pasadena. This crowd was a lot different than the Ohio State crowd who were way more subdued. The Wisconsin fans like to party and we had a great time with those Wisconsin fans around us. In fact, there were times you couldn't tell where their tailgate ended and ours began... we kinda co-mingled.
Unlike the LSU fans, though, the Wisconsin fans, even the younger drunk ones were all pretty cool to hang out with.
I cannot remember everyone that showed up, so I am not going to even try! However, there were quite a few Duck fans and a lot of our regular tailgaters showed up.
For those that missed it, I created a new tailgate staple that had Wisconsin fans wondering how come they had not thought of this... Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs! Yes, that is as AWESOME as it sounds!
Post Game Thoughts
So, the game actually went almost EXACTLY as I thought it would... I knew that Wisconsin would be able to run on us early, but I also knew that they just could not contain all of our speed... if you focus on LMJ, DAT will burn you... stuff the box? Darron Thomas will go over the top...
The reason I had faith that Darron would be solid this game is simple, I never thought that Wisconsin could get pressure on him... they came in with just 23 sacks this season which ranked them outside the top 50... though the stats list them with 2 sacks this game, they actually only got one which was truly a sack (just my opinion as I am NOT the official scorekeeper). If people had watched tape of the games Darron struggled early on in, they would not that it had a LOT more to do with quality DT's getting in Darron's face early and the line having to make blocking adjustments. When a 6'5" D-Lineman is in your face, you HAVE to release the ball a little higher to get it over his hands... and that tends to cause some high throws... Wisconsin does NOT, contrary to popular opinion, have good defensive linemen that can disrupt a QB... hence Darron played like the Darron we all know and love.
The Badgers got almost exactly what I predicted on the ground... (for those that don't remember, I thought the Badgers would get up to 225 yards rushing with ball getting up to 166 yards). For the game, the Badgers gained 212 yards on the ground on 46 carries with Ball going 32-164 yards. They were a little above my thoughts on average yards per carry.
On offense, though, the Ducks far exceeded my thoughts on the ground... mainly due to De'Anthony Thomas' 91 yard run.
What I could not predict were turnovers. I thought our depth at Linebacker would play a role and boy did it ever. Kiko showed yesterday why we were all so excited after the Spring game.
Though the Defense gave up some yards early (151 rushing yards on 29 carries in the fist half), the defense got a little better in the third quarter (14 rushes for 74 yards, 5.3 per carry). The 4th quarter, though, depth began to show itself as the Badgers managed just 3 carries for ZERO yards.
At the end of the game, the Ducks, despite the first half shootout, held the Badgers to just 10 second half points and 224 total yards in the second half. Meanwhile, Oregon put up 17 points and 295 yards. The Ducks found themselves just short of a Rose Bowl record with 621 total yards in the game...