Chris Burkhardt

Where does OSU go from here?

Where does OSU go from here?

It’s a simple question, with a not so simple answer; where does Oregon State go from here?

Prior to the season many people thought the Beavers would be a bowl team. Year three of Gary Andersen would see the big jump in the win-loss column.  The fan base was full of optimism, and justifiably so.

However, instead of a return to respectability we have seen this team take a giant step backwards. Following a 42-7 drubbing at the hands of the Washington Huskies on Saturday the Beavers fell to just 1-4 on the season. That one victory took last second heroics from the offense to steal, yes steal, a win from FCS Portland State.

Against the Huskies the Beavers struggled to do anything on offense. At the end of the third quarter they had a total of just 104 yards of offense and zero scores. To put that in perspective the Huskies had 98 yards and a touchdown on their first drive of the game. Not the best of comparisons.

But we have to be fair on this night. The defense played lights out in the first half. They gave up that big drive to start the game, then hunkered down and held the Huskies scoreless the rest of the half. It was the best defensive half we have seen from OSU all season. But then the OSU we have some to remember showed up in the third quarter, allowing the Huskies to score 21-points.

Failing to score while failing to keep the opposition from scoring… well, you’re not going to win any games with that formula.

The frustration from coach Andersen could be heard in his voice postgame. The coach seems to be just as bewildered as we are. And that should be most troubling of all. When the captain of the ship doesn’t know why it turns left when he turns the wheel right, you have a serious problem.

There is something off with this Beavers team; I just can’t quite put a finger on it. At this point, it may be time to start looking to 2018.

The Beavers still have USC, Colorado, Stanford, a much improved Cal, Arizona, Arizona State, and Oregon remaining on the schedule.

Will it be possible to pick up a win in that stretch? Of course it will be. Anything is possible, but that doesn't mean it's plausible. Win one game - Sure. Win enough games in that stretch to become bowl eligible – don’t hold your breath.

The Beavers we saw on Saturday will be lucky to win a quarter, let alone a game the rest of the way. And that is a sad state of affairs for a team that we all thought, myself included, was ready to turn the corner.

 

 

 

Oregon State falls apart in second half, drops opener to Colorado State.

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Oregon State falls apart in second half, drops opener to Colorado State.

There are a few reasons for optimism following the first game of the Beavers season.  However, grabbing a big early season win isn’t one of them.  The Beavers came into Fort Collins as underdogs, but many felt they had what it takes to pull the upset.

That looked to be the case early on, as the Beavers were the first team to get on the scoreboard. A big strike through the air from new quarterback Jake Luton to Timmy Hernandez gave OSU the 7-0 early in the first quarter.

For much of the first half it was a well played, back-and-forth matchup, but one arguable call in the final seconds of the first half would permanently shift the momentum in favor of the Rams.

Colorado scored a touchdown to take the 24-17 lead with just 1:19 left in the half. With the clock ticking away Oregon State started to march down the field putting together a near perfect two-minute drill.

With 13 seconds on the clock, and the ball on the CSU 7-yard-line, the Beavers had time for one more play. Luton took the snap, scrambled under pressure, side armed a pass around the defense, and found the outstretched arms of a diving Noah Togiai for the tying score. Or did he?

The ruling on the field was incomplete, but was sent upstairs for video review.  It looked as if Togiai had control of the ball, with a knee inbounds, as he fell out of play. Every replay they showed looked like a touchdown. Twitter thought it was a touchdown. Television announcers thought it was a touchdown. I thought it was touchdown. But when the review was finished the referees stayed with their original call of an incomplete pass.

Oregon State settled for a field goal and headed to the locker room trailing 24-20, rather than knotted up at 24.

That play seemed to take the wind out of the Beavers sails, and swung the momentum to the home team. The Rams came out and outscored the Beavers 17-0 in the third quarter and never looked back.

The second half seemed to be nothing but a constant replay of a Beavers turnover followed by a Rams score. Interceptions, fumbles, it didn’t matter. CSU found ways to frustrate the Beavers and grind the Oregon State offense to a halt.

The Beavers looked good early, and behind Ryan Nall they had 125 yards on the ground in the first half. In the second half they managed just 30 rushing yards. That is pretty much a quick way to sum up the game for the Beavers.

But it’s not all negative for the Beavers. Despite the high number of interceptions, Jake Luton showed that for the first time since Sean Mannion was on campus, the Beavers might have some semblance of a passing game. Last season the Beavers averaged just 29.4 passing attempts and 174 yards per game. In the loss to the Rams Luton had 27 pass completions on 47 attempts, for 304 yards and two touchdowns.  Sure, he did have three interceptions, but it was still one of the better quarterback performances the Beavers have seen in some time.

The loss leaves a sour taste in the mouths of Beavers fans, but the season is still young. Now all eyes will look to the next opponent: The Portland State Vikings. Anything less than a blowout win for the Beavers and then we may want to sound the horns of concern. As we saw against CSU, the Beavers can shoot themselves in the foot and easily become their own worst enemy. Hopefully next Saturday the Beavers are playing only the Vikings, not the Vikings and themselves.

Final Score in Fort Collins: Colorado State 58 – Oregon State 27

Next Up: The Beavers open up their home schedule against the FCS Portland State Vikings. Kickoff is set for 11:00 AM, Saturday, Sept. 2nd.

 

Will Oregon State end its bowl drought in 2017?

Will Oregon State end its bowl drought in 2017?

The Oregon State Beavers open the 2017 football season on August 26, against Colorado State in Fort Collins. The game will not only mark the start of the season for the Beavers, but will start what could be the Beavers first bowl eligible season since 2013. The hype train is rolling in Corvallis, and many fans are wondering if head coach Gary Andersen finally has this team pointed in the right direction. Vegas oddsmakers have the over/under for the Beavers set at 5.5 wins. If I were a betting man, I would take the over. There are plenty of reasons to be optimistic if you are a Beavers fan. Will the Beavers go bowling this season? Here are five reasons I think they will:

2) In Jake Luton, the Beavers finally have a passing threat -  

Not since Sean Mannion left the program following his senior season in 2014 have the Beavers had a true quarterback behind the center. In the two season since Mannion left the Beavers have seen five different signal callers take a snap: Seth Collins, Marcus McMaryion, Conor Blount, Darell Garretson, and Nick Mitchell. In 2015 and 2016 the Beavers finished 117 and 113 in passing offense respectively. In those two seasons combined the Beavers passed for a total of 3,995 yards and 23 touchdowns. To put that in perspective, Mannion passed for 4,662 yards and 37 touchdowns in just his junior year alone.

The Beavers have had a giant question mark at quarterback, and transfer Jake Luton could be the answer.

It was announced early last week that Luton will be the No.1 quarterback for the Beavers, and with that coach Andersen finally has a quarterback that can get the ball downfield. In 2016, while the quarterback for Ventura CC, Luton passed for a school record 3,551 yards and 40 touchdowns. Luton has the size and the arm to help add the air raid elements that coach Andersen wants in the offense, and may finally be the quarterback that can get the ball to the Beavers playmakers. Tight end Noah Togai has been turning heads early on in camp, catching three touchdown passes in the latest open scrimmage, and can be a huge weapon for Luton. The Beavers also have senior wide receiver Jordan Villamin who is due for a monster year. Villamin has all the intangibles to be one of the best receivers in the conference, but over the past two seasons he hasn’t had someone who could consistently get him the ball. That should change in 2017. Oh yeah, the Beavers also have Seth Collins in the slot, so Luton will have plenty of hands to get to the ball to.

A decent quarterback can be the difference between a four win season and a bowl game, and the Beavers finally have a decent quarterback.

2) The running back stable may be the best in the Pac-12 -

Talk about the rich getting richer. The Beavers had one heck of a backfield heading into 2017. They had returners Ryan Nall and Artavis Pierce, who combined for 1,474 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2016, as well as TCU transfer Trevorris Johnson. The backfield was stacked. Then, out of nowhere, the news broke in late May that former Oregon Ducks stud running back Thomas Tyner was coming out of retirement to join the Beavers. Tyner dealt with injuries during his time in Eugene, but when on the field he was a force. In two seasons at Oregon Tyner rushed for 1,284 yards and 14 touchdowns. The four-headed monster of Nall-Tyner-Pierce-Johnson gives the Beavers one of the best backfields in the conference, if not the country.

At this point, and for the foreseeable future, Nall is the starting back. But let’s be real. The Beavers have two legit starting caliber backs, and two others that could start on a lot of teams in the country. They have running backs 1A, 1B, 1C, and 1D. The depth is unreal.

3) The schedule plays out well for the Beavers -

The Beavers do have a gauntlet to run mid-season, a stretch of three games that sees them play Washington State, Washington, and USC in three consecutive weeks. That is followed by tough games against Colorado and Stanford. Outside of that stretch the schedule plays out favorably for the Beavers. They open the season on the road against Colorado State, which is a tough but winnable game for the Beavers. A lot of experts see Colorado State as a team that could sneak into a New Years Six bowl. A win in Fort Collins could set the tone for the season.

Following the Colorado State game the Beavers get Portland State and Minnesota at home. PSU is nearly a certain win, and Minnesota should be as well. The Beavers played a heck of a game against the Gophers last season, and with Minnesota starting out the P.J. Fleck era, a win on the road for the Gophers may be a challenge.

The Beavers also end the season with an incredibly “easy” slate of games: Home against Cal, home against Arizona, on the road at Arizona State, and home against Oregon. Following last season’s Civil War win, fans and players alike have every reason to think the Beavers can beat the Ducks again.

Realistically, the Beavers could go 3-0 in non-conference play, then drop 5 straight in the aforementioned “gauntlet,” then finish the season 4-0. For those keeping track, that is a 7-5 season, and a trip to a bowl game.

4) Year Three of Gary Andersen has a history of success -

Back in 2009 Gary Andersen took over a poor Utah State football team. In fact, calling them a poor football team is an understatement. The Aggies went just 3-9 the season prior the Andersen’s arrival, and hadn’t had a winning season since the team went 6-5 in 1997. From 1998 to 2008 Utah State went a combined 35-90. Then came Andersen.

Andersen’s Aggies went 4-8 in both his first and second season, and then jumped to 7-6 in his third season. In Andersen’s fourth season the Aggies jumped to 11-2, won their first bowl game since 1993, and finished No.16 in the final AP Poll. Andersen’s first two seasons at OSU have largely mirrored his first two at Utah State; there is every reason to think year three will see the same leap it did in Utah. Andersen has a quarterback, a stacked backfield, a young talented defense, and a team that is finally his. Really, after two straight losing seasons, anything less than six wins would be a disappointment for Andersen in year three.

5) The Oregon State defense will be better than people think -

Defensively the Beavers have not been great in recent seasons. Last season the Beavers were 75th in the nation for total yards given up, at 5150, mainly because they just couldn’t stop the run. Oregon State allowed 2616 yards on the ground, which was 101st worst in the nation. However, they balanced that out with a decent pass defense, allowing just 2534 yards through the air, which was the 40th best pass defense in the country. Looking ahead to this season, the Beavers should be even better against the pass, and hopefully improved against the run. The Beavers played a lot of freshman and sophomores in 2016, and that year of experience should pay off this season. The Beavers return impact players such as Brandon Arnold, Jalen Moore, Bright Ugwoegbu, Kammy Delp, Manase Hungalu, Jonathan Willis, Elu Aydon, and Xavier Crawford just to name a few. Of that group, only Arnold and Hungalu are seniors. There is plenty of young talent on this defense to help push the Beavers forward. If the defense can improve against the run, they should be able to help the improved OSU offense win a few more games. ---

The only thing working against the Beavers is that the Pac-12 is stacked with talent. The Beavers have to play at least four teams that could easily win the conference (Washington, WSU, USC, Stanford), and some other teams that may be on the downswing but are by no means pushovers. That being said, Andersen has steered his ship in the right direction, and the Beavers should be more optimistic than ever that this is the year they get over the hump. The only question left to ask - “is it August 26 yet?”

CJ McCollum to play for Team World in NBA Africa Game 2017

CJ McCollum to play for Team World in NBA Africa Game 2017

The NBA has announced the full rosters for NBA Africa Game 2017, an NBA exhibition game that will see Team Africa take on Team World in support of UNICEF, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and SOS Children’s Villages South Africa.

NBA fans in the Northwest may notice a familiar name on the Team World roster: Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum. McCollum will be the third current Trail Blazers player to play in the NBA Africa Game, joining Al-Farouq Aminu (Team Africa) and Evan Turner (Team World) who both played in NBA Africa Game 2015.

Former Trail Blazers Nic Batum (Charlotte Hornets) and Festus Ezeli (then with the Golden State Warriors), also played for Team Africa in NBA Africa Game 2015.

NBA Africa Game 2015, played on Aug.1, 2015, was the very first NBA game played on the continent and drew a sold-out crowd. According to the press release from the NBA “there have more than 70 current or former NBA players from Africa or with ties to the continent, including NBA Africa Ambassador Hakeem Olajuwon (Nigeria) and Dikembe Mutombo, both of whom played in NBA Africa Game 2015.”

Luol Deng and Thabo Sefolosha will captain Team Africa, a roster comprised of players born in Africa, as well as second-generation African players. The rest of the world will come together with McCollum to form the roster of Team World, captained by Germany’s Dirk Nowitzki and the United States’ Kemba Walker.

NBA Game 2017 will take place on Saturday, Aug. 5 at the Ticketpro Dome in Johannesburg, South Africa. For more information visit NBA.com/Africa 

The full rosters are as follows:

Team World:

CJ McCollum (Portland Trail Blazers; U.S.)

Dirk Nowitzki C*  (Mavericks; Germany)

Kemba Walker C*  (Charlotte Hornets; U.S.)

Leandro Barbosa (most recently with the Phoenix Suns; Brazil)

Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics; U.S.)

Wilson Chandler (Nuggets; U.S.)

DeMarcus Cousins (New Orleans Pelicans; U.S.)

Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons; U.S.)

Courtney Lee (New York Knicks; U.S.)

Kyle Lowry (Raptors; U.S.)

Kristaps Porzingis (Knicks; Latvia).

 

Team Africa:

Luol Deng C* (Los Angeles Lakers; South Sudan)

Thabo Sefolosha C* (Utah Jazz, Switzerland; parent from South Africa)

Bismack Biyombo (Orlando Magic; Democratic Republic of the Congo)

Clint Capela (Houston Rockets; Switzerland; parents from Angola and Congo)

Gorgui Dieng (Minnesota Timberwolves; Senegal; BWB Africa 2009) Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers; Cameroon; BWB Africa 2011)

Serge Ibaka (Toronto Raptors; Congo)

Luc Mbah a Moute (most recently with the LA Clippers; Cameroon; BWB Africa 2003)

Salah Mejri (Dallas Mavericks; Tunisia)

Emmanuel Mudiay (Denver Nuggets; Democratic Republic of the Congo)

Victor Oladipo (Indiana Pacers; U.S.; parent from Nigeria)

Dennis Schroder (Hawks; Germany; parent from The Gambia)

Sinclair’s brace helps put an end to Portland’s two-game skid

Sinclair’s brace helps put an end to Portland’s two-game skid

Portland, OR – The Portland Thorns came into Wednesday’s matchup in dire need of a victory. Portland had lost two matches in a row, including a 3-1 loss at home to Sky Blue FC on June 17. Losses in Providence Park just don’t happen. Including the loss to Sky Blue, the Thorns came in with am impressive home record of 13-2-3 since the start of the 2016 season and looked to add another on to the win column with FC Kansas City in town.

FC Kansas City came in winless in its previous three matches (0-1-2), and with an overall road record of 1-3-1. For a team that is struggling, and is poor on the road to boot, Providence Park is the last place you want to be.

Portland fed off the home crowd, as is usual, and dominated from the start. Any danger FCKC posed was because the Thorns made little mental errors, but nothing large enough to bite them. Portland had the occasional misplayed ball here, the occasional poor pass there, but largely looked to be playing a game of cat and mouse.

Before Kansas City could really get in any kind of groove they found themselves playing from behind.

Just fifteen minutes into the match Allie Long put a shot on goal from about 10-yards out. Her shot was blocked, but it bounced off the post and right to the feet of a wide-open Christine Sinclair. The Captain did what she does best, and put the Thorns up 1-0.

From that point on it never felt like much of a match. The question wasn’t if the Thorns would win, it was how many goals would they score before the final whistle?

The answer: Three

Hayley Raso added a goal in the in the 32’, and Sinclair added another goal in the 75’.

This was a great bounce back game for Portland, and much needed as their next two matches will be on the road.

FINAL SCORE: Portland Thorns 3 – FC Kansas City 0

Notes: Hayley Raso scored the first goal of her NWSL career. A beautiful shot from beyond the right side of the box that curled around the defense and just over the hand of the goalkeeper. She joked postgame, calling the shot “lucky” but it was one of the more impressive goals I have seen. Sinclair looked to score her second goal of the match in the 71', but a controversial handball call negated it. She got her revenge four minutes later when she scored the team's third goal of the game.

Next Up: Portland travels up north to take on rival Seattle Reign FC on Saturday, July 1. Kickoff is set for 7:30 PM at Memorial Stadium.

Former Oregon Duck Aaron Wise earns PGA Tour card with win at Air Capital Classic

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Former Oregon Duck Aaron Wise earns PGA Tour card with win at Air Capital Classic

It has been a whirlwind of a year for professional golfer Aaron Wise, whose rise to through the pro ranks has been meteoric.

It was just June of last year that Wise won the NCAA Men’s Individual title and helped the University of Oregon win its first ever team championship. Wise became the first player since UCLA’s Kevin Chappell in 2008 to win both the individual and team championships in the same year.

Now he has his sights set on the PGA TOUR.

Wise played some of the best golf of his career for a wire-to-wire win at the 28th annual Air Capital Classic on June 18th.  Wise earned $112,500 for his victory and secured his PGA Tour card for the 2017-18 season.

At 20 years, 11 months, 28 days, Wise is the fourth-youngest winner in tour history. PGA Tour mainstay Jason Day, currently ranked No.4 in the world, set the record in 2007 winning the Legend Financial Group Classic at 19 years, 7 months, and 26 days. Not bad company for Wise.

“It’s a lot of history to go down with and it’s just a really cool feeling,” said Wise, who moved from No. 35 to No. 6 on the money list. “I played great all week so none of that surprises me but it’s great to be in that position.”

From start to finish, Wise had a historic weekend at the Air Capital Classic. He started 62-62, the lowest back-to-back rounds in the history of the Air Capital Classic, tied the second lowest 36-hole score (124) in Tour history, and his final score 21-under 259 was also a tournament record. His wire-to-wire win was also the first since Stephan Jaeger’s win at the Ellie Mae Classic in 2016.

Wise will officially receive his PGA Tour card at this year’s WinCo Foods Portland Open, Aug 21-27 at Pumpkin Ridge.  Tournament director Pat McCabe hopes Duck fans show up to support their former star.

“Congratulations to Aaron on his first win on the Web.com TOUR. It will be fun to have him at the WinCo Foods Portland Open in August. He has been on a tear through the golf world since he won the NCAA Championship as a Duck last year in Eugene. He has a very promising future on the PGA Tour” said McCabe. “Hope to see the U of O community come out and support Aaron as he competes for the top spot on the Web.com Tour and receives his PGA Tour card at Pumpkin Ridge. This is likely the last chance to see him play in the Pacific Northwest.”

For more information on the WinCo Food Portland Open, and to purchase your tickets to see Wise in action, visit wincofoodsportlandopen.com

Sky Blue ends Portland's six-game unbeaten streak

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Sky Blue ends Portland's six-game unbeaten streak

Generally speaking thirty seconds isn’t a lot of time, but on Saturday it was all Sky Blue FC needed to take control vs. Portland.  Sky Blue got the ball to start the match and went right down the field to score the opening goal less than a minute into play.

The goal happened so fast I was still in the middle of the obligatory “and we are underway” tweet. Even if you weren’t paying attention you knew a goal had been scored thanks to the collective gasp of thousands of Thorns fans that had just been punched in the gut.

But this is the Portland Thorns: A team unbeaten in its previous six matchups (3-0-3) and a team with a 13-1-3 record over its last 17 home games. Those two facts, coupled with the fact that this team is always a threat to score, made it feel like the equalizer was coming at any moment. Patient as the Thorns faithful were, that equalizer never came.

Finding that game-tying goal became even harder in the 70’ when Sky Blue’s Samantha Kerr broke away from the pack just past midfield and the only thing between her and the net was Thorns goalkeeper Adrianna Franch. Kerr shot the ball by a diving Franch and netted Sky Blue’s second goal of the match.

It looked like Portland had life, scoring a goal just seconds later, but an offside call would make sure the score remained 2-0 in favor of Sky Blue.

Portland tried as hard as it could as time ticked away, but as the old cliché goes, it was too little, too late.

Final Score: Portland Thorns1 – Sky Blue FC 3.

Next Up: Portland heads to the east coast to take on the Washington Spirit. Kickoff is set for 4:00 PM at Maryland Soccerplex.

College World Series: Beavers the favorites, but the road isn't easy

College World Series: Beavers the favorites, but the road isn't easy

Pac-12 Championship. Check.

No.1 overall national seed. Check .

Advance through the Regionals. Check.

Sweep the Super Regionals, punch ticket to Omaha. Check.

Win the College World Series. To be determined.

The Oregon State Beavers (54-4) arrive in Omaha this week riding a 21-game win streak, and as heavy favorites to win the College World Series (CWS) Championship. Joining them in Nebraska will be Florida, LSU, Cal State Fullerton, Florida State, Louisville, Texas A&M, and TCU.

-- A full schedule can be found here --

The Beavers’ road to another title starts on Saturday when they take on Cal State Fullerton (39-22).  In six postseason games the Titans have outscored their opponents 35-9, and have allowed just one run over their last 25 innings. The Titans have one of the better pitching staffs in the country with a 3.57 ERA, the 23rd best in the nation. However, it pales in comparison to the incredible numbers Oregon State has put up. The Beavers lead the nation with an amazing 1.80 ERA. That’s nearly two runs better than Fullerton’s, and a full run better than Louisville’s 2.85, which is the third best in the country.

It still remains to be seen if Oregon State’s Luke Heimlich will pitch in the CWS. Heimlich holds the best ERA of any pitcher in the nation, at 0.76, but is dealing with off-the-field issues stemming from a sexual molestation charge prior to his arrival at Oregon State.

With or without Heimlich, the Oregon State pitching staff is a force to be reckoned with. Fellow starting pitcher Jake Thompson has the nation’s fifth best ERA at 1.58, and Bryce Fehmel showed he can be leaned on in Omaha after a great spot start against Vanderbilt; a complete game victory where he allowed just one earned run on five hits.

As Eric Sorenson of D1Baseball.com pointed out on Monday’s edition of Talkin’ Ball, this early matchup with the Titans holds a lot of intrigue. These are two teams that could match up in the finals if they were in opposite brackets. So right out of the gate Oregon State will be tested. 

As noted above, Oregon State by far has the better pitching staff, and as Sorenson notes, they also are the better hitting team. All things on paper point to Oregon State getting past Fullerton, but as we all know, games aren’t played on paper, they are played on a diamond.

Depending on if they win or lose, Oregon State will play either LSU (48-17) or Florida State (45-21).

LSU is riding an Oregon State-esque hot streak. The Tigers have won 16 games in a row, outscoring opponents 136-45 in that stretch, and overall has won 21 of its last 23. LSU reminds you a lot of this Beavers squad: Great pitching (3.53 team ERA), great hitting (2.94 team batting average), and lots of grit. Could the Tigers be the ones to take out OSU?

Facing off againt LSU: The Florida State Seminoles. Florida State falls in line with many of the teams heading to Omaha in that they got their on the backs of their pitching staff. Returning to the CWS for the first time since 2012, the Seminoles have the 36th best ERA in the nation at 3.72. The team has allowed 18 runs this postseason, with their starters allowing just nine runs in 48 innings pitched. Strong pitching is definitely a theme this year in Omaha.

On the other side of the CWS bracket are Florida (47-18), Louisville (52-10), Texas A&M (41-21), and TCU (47-16).

Florida returns to Omaha for the third season in a row, but is still looking for that elusive championship.  Could this be the year for the Gators? Florida leads the nation in one run victories, with 18, and has already played three extra inning games this postseason. The Gators have a flair for the dramatic and like to keep things interesting to say the least.  Their team 3.22 ERA, the 22nd best in the country, helps them out, but they will need a little more from their offense for the Gators fan base to breath a little.

Their first opponent, TCU, has quickly become one of the best programs in the nation. The Horned Frogs are appearing in their fourth straight College Worlds Series, and fifth in program history. Their pitching staff has the worst ERA of any team in the CWS (3.99), but their .272 team batting average is one of the best in the CWS. Their solid hitters should make for some good matchups with the better pitching staffs in Omaha.

Moving on, we have Texas A&M. The Aggies return to the CWS for the first time since 2011, and behind some solid arms could make it all the way. A&M has the 15th best ERA in the nation at 3.42, and starting pitcher Brigham Hill has been a stud this postseason. The Aggies have a good baseball team, however, their first game is against a very tough Louisville team. It will be a great chance to see if A&M will sink or swim.

Speaking of Louisville, the Cardinals, like Oregon State, are heavy favorites to get through their bracket and play in the championship. Much like the Beavers, the Cardinals are extremely balanced both in the batter's box and on the mound. They have the third best ERA in the country (2.85), and the 67th best batting average (.289). The 67th best average may not sound like much, but that is the third best average of the eight teams in the CWS.

Louisville vs. Oregon State in the CWS championship seems like a good bet. Not only would it be the matchup we all want to see, it would make for some of the best baseball games you can imagine. But this is Omaha. This is the College World Series. You never know what will happen at TD Ameritrade Park.

--Schedule update per the press release from the NCAA--

 “The first game this Saturday is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. CT, and will feature Cal State Fullerton (39-22) against No. 1 national seed Oregon State (54-4). Saturday’s second game features No. 4 national seed LSU (48-17) against Florida State (45-21), and is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. CT.

The Sunday doubleheader features the No. 7 national seed Louisville (52-10) vs. Texas A&M (41-21) at 1 p.m. CT. In the evening game starting at 6 p.m. CT, No. 6 national seed TCU (47-16) will be squaring off against No. 3 national seed Florida (47-18).

The losers of Saturday’s two games will play at 1 p.m. CT Monday, June 19. While Saturday’s winners face off at 6 p.m. CT Monday, June 19.

The losers of Sunday’s games will play each other at 1 p.m. CT Tuesday, June 20. Sunday’s winners will meet Tuesday, June 20 at 6 p.m. CT. The winners of the two brackets will play a best-of-three College World Series Finals, with the first game set for 6 p.m. CT Monday, June 26. The second game is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT Tuesday, June 27, while the third and deciding game (if necessary) is slated for 7 p.m. CT Wednesday, June 28.”

For more information visit ncca.com

Relive the glory of the 1977 championship tonight on CSN

Relive the glory of the 1977 championship tonight on CSN

 

On this day in 1977 the Portland Trail Blazers did the unthinkable: They defeated the heavily favored Philadelphia 76ers in Game 6 of the NBA Finals and won the team’s first, and to this day only NBA championship.

Tonight at 7:00 on CSNNW we will re-air the greatest game in the franchise’s history, giving Rip City a chance to relive the glory that was the 1977 championship.

As is usual here at CSN in the modern day, we write a game preview prior to every Trail Blazers game. So close your eyes for quick second, imagine it’s 1977, and enjoy this “preview” of Game 6 of the 1977 NBA Finals.

We know how the story ends, but that doesn’t make it any less sweet.

Tonight. You. CSN. Your television. See you at 7:00 PM! 

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GAME PREVIEW: Blazers can win it all with a victory tonight over the 76ers

The Portland Trail Blazers can bring home the team’s first NBA title with a win over the Philadelphia 76ers tonight at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

It was just over a week ago that the heavily favored 76ers held a 2-0 lead over the Trail Blazers, and looked dominate in a 107-89 victory in Game 2.

However, there was more than just a simple basketball game that night: In the closing minutes of the game tempers flared resulting in bench-clearing brawl that saw the ejection the Philadelphia’s Darryl Dawkins and Portland’s Maurice Lucas. The brawl has since ingnited the Trail Blazers.

With the fire still burning from Game 2, and the sixth man of the Rose City behind them, Portland throttled the 76ers in Games 3 and 4: 129-107 and 130-98 victories respectively. Some say it was the home cooking. Other say that Dawkins temper has sparked the Blazers. I say it is a little bit of both.

With the team riding high after tying the series 2-2, it was time to head back east for Game 5. Of course things would be more difficult on the road, but this was a much different team than the Philly faithful saw visit town the first two games. This Blazers squad scratched, clawed, and battled for the110-104 victory to get us where we are today: One victory away from crowning them champions.

Needless to say, it really looks like the 76ers may regret Dawkins firing up Lucas and Co. Since that moment we have seen an entirely different Trail Blazers team. A team now poised to do the unthinkable.

To continue the hot streak and end this series the Blazers will need to rely on their two-headed monster that is Lucas and Bill Walton. Through five games Lucas has averaged 20.6 points and 11.8 rebounds, while Walton has averaged 18.2 points and 18.2 rebounds. They have really set the pace for the Blazers, and are the main reason they are on the brink of a championship.

For the 76ers to keep this series alive not only do they need to shutdown Walton and Lucas, they will need a big game from Julius Erving and Doug Collins. Erving is averaging 28.4 points and 7.0 rebounds this series, while Collins is averaging 22.4 points and 4.4 rebounds. However, they haven’t seen much from the supporting cast which could end up being the difference here in Game 6.

Will the 76ers bounce back, force a Game 7, and send this series back to Philadelphia? Will the Blazers slam the door and start their championship party on their home court?

Tune into CSN tonight at 7:00 PM to find out (wink, wink).

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Game Details:

Where:  Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Portland OR (Well, it was there way back in 1977, don’t show up today planning on seeing a game).

Television: CSN, 7:00 pm

CSN Programming: A special '77 Championship edition of Talkin' Ball will air immediately following the game

Twitter: Follow us on Twitter @CSNNW for all the latest game updates and details

 

Timbers grab three points with 2-0 win over San Jose

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Alyssa Koberstein/ CSN

Timbers grab three points with 2-0 win over San Jose

PORTLAND, OR - One was all it took. A lone goal early in the second half of action was enough to bring home a victory for the Timbers.

The Timbers offense looked very good early, getting multiple chances on goal, but just couldn’t put anything home. Honestly, it was hard to tell if the Timbers looked locked in of if San Jose just looked that bad.

For much of the match San Jose looked out of sorts, and not much of a threat to score at all. The only thing they looked able to do was inflict bodily harm on Portland. In the 37’ Earthquakes defender Darwin Cerén was given a yellow card for a hard foul. Less than 60 seconds later he barreled into Sebastián Blanco, was given his second yellow card and was sent to the locker room.

He wasn’t the only San Jose player to get a little extra curricular activity in. Marco Ureña got tangled up with Jake Gleeson early in the second half, and could be seen throwing a soft kick at the Timbers goalkeeper.  A few plays later Gleeson was diving for a loose ball, when Ureña came flying in. Ureña made a lazy attempt to jump over Gleeson, let his back foot drag, and kicked him in the back of the neck/head as he went by.

Gleeson remained on the turf for a few minutes while trainers checked on him, but for the remainder of the match he could be seen getting his thoughts across to San Jose in what one can only assume was some not safe for work vocabulary.

Neither of Ureña’s plays resulted in a card, but they fired the Timbers up. 

Now, back to the important stuff: Valeri and his goal(s). In the 50’ The Maestro found a small hole in the Earthquakes’ defense, poked the ball past the defense and in for a goal. Ironically many of the Timbers missed shots on the night bounced off the goalpost, and Valeri’s made goal did the very same. In the end, it doesn’t have to look pretty; it just has to go in.

Valeri grabbed another goal during second half stoppage time, just to put a little icing on the cake. 

In the locker room Liam Ridgewell said Valeri got lucky on his second goal. As the old saying goes, sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. Tonight Diego Valeri was both.

Final Score: Timbers 2 - Earthquakes 0

Next Up: The Timbers return to the pitch next Saturday, June 10, as they play host to FC Dallas. Kickoff is set for 7:30pm at Providence Park.