Dwight Jaynes

Why not rest players earlier when games stretch long past 3 hours?

Why not rest players earlier when games stretch long past 3 hours?

A few bouquets and boos from my college football weekend:

  • I've said it frequently, but coordinators make a difference. Oregon was brutal on defense last season and then Jim Leavitt shows up as defensive coordinator. All of a sudden Oregon is bringing a crowd to the football and not missing tackles. There is organization instead of chaos. Now I understand the opposition is going to get tougher, but this is a night-and-day difference. Leavitt knows what he is doing.
  • Portland State drew only 4,442 in its home opener Saturday afternoon and sent those loyalists home with a disappointing 37-14 defeat. That program just can't seem to find a groove. I wish I had an answer. Well, I do have an answer -- winning. But I just don't know how that's going to happen.
  • Oregon State? Offense was much better at Washington State but the defense is awful. As I said, coordinators matter and you wonder if somebody is going to walk the plank on the OSU coaching staff.
  • Oregon's running game is terrific and certainly Justin Herbert is an NFL quarterback in waiting. But against better competition you have to wonder if the lack of experience at wide receiver is going to hurt.
  • What has happened to Stanford?
  • Football coaches have always bewildered me with their reluctance to remove starters -- particularly their valuable quarterbacks -- late in games. Oregon kept a good part of its offense on the field past the halfway mark of the fourth quarter with a huge lead. Washington State kept Luke Falk out there way too long in a blowout. Oregon State was still sending Jake Luton on the field long after the Beavers' chances of winning were long gone. Luton, of course, got hurt.
  • Here's my deal: these college games today are taking forever to play. Instead of looking at the game clock and making a decision about taking players out, take a look at the wristwatch once in a while. Three hours is a long time to stay on the field. I get tired just watching these games and I can't imagine what it's like to keep trudging back out on the field to take more hits as long games crawl to a finish. Resting players is not only a precaution, it's a chance to allow the backup kids who are killing themselves in practice all season to get some game time.
  • One more thought about Oregon: It was an impressive enough win at Wyoming that there was no need to go for it on fourth-and-two in the third quarter with a 42-10 lead. And there was certainly no reason to be throwing to the end zone with 11 seconds left in the game. Yeah, I know -- you want the backups to get some experience. If that's the case, put them in earlier.

Fining teams for resting players sounds great, but...

Fining teams for resting players sounds great, but...

It is being reported that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is attempting to get the authority to fine teams for resting multiple players in a single game or healthy ones in a nationally televised game.

A fine idea. People pay big money to watch stars play and feel cheated if a player sits out even though he is probably healthy. And networks surely must be miffed when the stars sit out games that the networks pay monstrous sums of money for the right to show.

But like a lot of fine ideas, this sounds great until you try to actually make it work.

Seriously, if LeBron James wants to sit out a game in January, you think the Cleveland medical staff can't come up with some sort of "injury" to justify his absence? And he probably deserves his rest days, given how hard he plays. League-wide, we might begin to see a lot of bogus "injuries."

But I will say this, the whole Popovich/Spurs idea of resting multiple players in the same game CAN be dealt with. And it's gone on long enough. If San Antonio wants to go without 80 percent of its starting lineup, then it must be done for a home game. Let the coach face the wrath of his home fans for that.

I might also add that giving a commissioner unrestricted, absolute power in regard to matters like this scares me. Certainly it doesn't seem to be working well for the NFL.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seattle has a plan to renovate Key Arena -- likely for the NHL

Seattle has a plan to renovate Key Arena -- likely for the NHL

A private group based in Los Angeles seems to have a plan to renovate Seattle's Key Arena, with the idea of finally making it suitable for hockey and, of course, eventually land an NBA franchise for the city.

The group, Oak View Group, is headed by Tim Leiweke, who has been involved in the Toronto Maple Leafs and Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League, as well as other sports ventures. Dynamic super-manager/promoter Irving Azoff serves on the board of Oak View.

Leiweke has virtually guaranteed that if the arena project is completed, Seattle will get "a team:"

"We're going to get you a team," OVG CEO Tim Leiweke told reporters following the winning bid. "Mark it right here. I promise you … we're going to get you at least one team."  

That team quite obviously is in the NHL, which now features an odd number of teams and needs another franchise in its Western Conference. I have two things to say about this announcement:

  • First, it means Portland's immediate chance of landing an expansion team in the NHL are likely zero. That league has seemed totally sold on Seattle over Portland for a while now and this pretty much locks it up. The chance of moving an existing struggling franchise to Portland still exists, however -- although I have heard nothing about such a thing in a while.
  • I've never been all-in on the idea of renovating an existing arena or stadium. It's been done before at Key Arena and didn't have much of an impact. At the cost of this renovation ($600 million) it seems like a very big project. But it's a fixer-upper, just the same. I've seen cities do this in an effort to save inadequate arenas and stadiums and they usually end up not working. Better to just find a plot of land and build something new. I've seen Portland's stadium go through so many iterations to get to the point of being Providence Park and it's still a stadium with charm -- but inadequate concourses, rest rooms, concession stands and sightlines. For all the money spent on it over the years it would have been better to build something updated and more comfortable. I'd say the same for Portland's Memorial Coliseum -- the only renovation that would work there is to just level it and start anew. In Seattle, they better have a great plan because these remodels are often tied to an inadequate structural support system. And that's enough money to come very close to constructing a new arena. Politics, though, have made that almost impossible in Seattle.

 

 

What to do at OSU, where the Beavers may not win again this season

What to do at OSU, where the Beavers may not win again this season

The first thing Oregon State must do after that 48-14 loss to Minnesota is probably the hardest thing -- stay the course. Stay together. Things are going to get worse before they get better. And the worst thing that could happen is for the team to split apart.

Things are obviously not going the way the Beavers thought they would and I would expect some players aren't as talented or reliable as the coaching staff thought they'd be. Coach Gary Andersen's mission the rest of the way will be to find players he can depend on -- the ones who won't quit on him. This thing could get real ugly during conference play and the main thing is to keep working. I still believe Andersen will get the job done at OSU -- but nobody ever said it was going to be easy (except the dolts who thought firing Mike Riley would immediately turn the Beavers into conference champions.)

The Beavers have to come together and keep working. Cliche? Of course. But truth. There's no other choice. The conference isn't going to allow them to call their season off or ask for a do-over.

But let me mention one other thing: People are calling out their defense and certainly, there are problems on that side of the ball. But rest assured, there are offensive problems, too.

In today's high-octane version of college football, it's impossible for defenses to hold up very long when the offense isn't moving the football. Oregon State got one first down in the second half Saturday, along with just 67 yards of total offense. For the game, the Beavers -- who thought they had a solid running game this season -- rushed for just 80 yards. That's terrible.

And when your defense is shaky, you cannot afford to have the offense grind to a halt. Their defense played well enough in the first half -- when the offense gave it a chance, The second half looked like a complete defensive surrender -- but I'd make the case that the offensive inefficiency led directly to it.

This is also a team making all sorts of mistakes -- fumbles, interceptions, blown blocking assignments and missed tackles. And fair-catching a punt at the three-yard line set the Beavers up for second-half trouble, too. The mental mistakes must stop.

Those things must be dealt with. The overall goal now is a simple one -- improve with each game.

Winning games is going to likely be a big problem the rest of the season. Losing can quickly become a disease that rots the core of a team.

The Beavers must not let this thing blow up.

Ducks tried so hard not to lose that they almost did

Ducks tried so hard not to lose that they almost did

Some thoughts on Oregon's harrowing win over Nebraska Saturday:

  • Why is it that every fan in America can see when his or her team is playing too conservatively while trying to hold onto a lead, but the coach of said team just doesn't seem to get it? Willie Taggart got so worried about losing that game that he almost lost it. Justin Herbert was passing the Cornhuskers silly in the first half but the Ducks pretty much shut down the vertical passing game and tightened their shirt collars. It was a classic example of getting away from what got you a big lead and just trying to run out the clock.
  • The Ducks are an offensive juggernaut and should not idle that machine until very late in a game.
  • I do not blame the second-half Nebraska comeback on the Oregon defense. The offense put too much pressure on the defense.
  • To me, this game reinforced every reason the Ducks' athletic administration had for bringing in a new coaching staff. Coaching matters and coordinators matter. Oregon's defense is much more sound. It tackles much more reliably. Night and day. If nobody else but me says it -- good job, Rob Mullens. You made the right move when you cleaned house.
  • And speaking of that, when people talk about Taggart "rebuilding" the Oregon program, I smile. Folks, this team wasn't down and out. It was just unmotivated last season. I'm not saying they were bad coaches, but I am saying it was time for a change.
  • With a little better quarterbacking, Nebraska would have won that game. There were a lot of open receivers to hit and a lot of the time, they weren't hit.
  • The Ducks won't get shut out in a half the rest of the season. Unless they decide to go into their conservative mode again.

BREAKING -- my secret to making Super Bowl picks that make you happy, win or lose

BREAKING -- my secret to making Super Bowl picks that make you happy, win or lose

The National Football League opens Thursday night and you know what that means, right?

It means that pundits all over the country need to get their Super Bowl picks in sometime before the first game. And of course, I'm all in on that -- even though I don't consider myself much of an NFL expert. You see, I don't play fantasy football. I don't bet on NFL games and I find the Red Zone channel unfulfilling. I'd even rather play golf than watch the NFL on TV on a sunny Sunday, too. So there is that.

But I'm still as capable as any other writer in the country at picking teams out of the air. Especially because I have a system -- a tried-and-true system that I've been using for years now when it comes to picking winners in any sport.

Now keep in mind I didn't invent this system. It's been in operation for decades, I'm sure -- and was probably invented by one of the legendary greats in my business.

So let's get to it and this season, for the first time, I'm going to pull back the curtain and reveal how I arrive at my genius picks -- which very often prove to be correct. I am going to give it all up this year, my gift to the sporting public.

First off, you need to decide which team irritates you the most. Which team are you most tired of hearing about? Reading about? And which one are you most tired of watching win? It shouldn't take you long to make this decision. Just as most everybody has a favorite team, most people have a least-favorite team.

Now here comes the tricky part.

Once you discern that most disliked team or franchise (or most despised coach or player, if you prefer), go ahead and pick that team to make it to the Super Bowl. Why? Because you will be hedging your bet, in a way. Let's say, for instance, you are sick and tired of reading about, hearing about or just talking about ... the New England Patriots.

Pick the Patriots.

And that way, no matter what happens, you can't lose. If the Patriots win, you're a genius. After all, you picked them. But if they lose, you were wrong about them. WHICH SHOULD MAKE YOU HAPPY! You don't like them and they lost! Certainly it's worth being wrong on a silly Super Bowl pick that nobody will remember unless you pop up months from now reminding them who you picked, right?

I love this method and offer it up to the world. I've even known people who use it in real-life. A friend of mine made it a practice to make bets -- real money -- against his own family member with his friends, thinking then he'd be less disappointed either way with the outcome.

Yes, the world can be a harsh place.

So now you know the method behind my madness all these years. And oh yes, I almost forgot.

My Super Bowl picks this season? The New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks. Bet on it... if you want.

Ducks? All we know so far is they'd be favored to win the Big Sky

Ducks? All we know so far is they'd be favored to win the Big Sky

There some positives about playing a mid-level Big Sky team in your opener. In the best of circumstances -- such as Saturday in Eugene -- you can roll up some impressive numbers, give your team some confidence and, overall, get your season started with a bang. Of course, if you don't perform well against a team of that level, you start your home season with a whimper and plant seeds of doubt in your players and fan base -- such as Saturday in Corvallis.

But there's a pitfall here, too. How great is it to put 77 points up on Southern Utah? Is that special? At this point, nobody really knows. Sure, the Ducks looked great. But even the most loyal Oregon fan must look at the competition with skepticism. How good was the opposition, really?

I don't have any idea. Oregon ran the ball as well as it can be run. The Ducks threw it almost perfectly. And certainly, Oregon showed it can celebrate its success on the field on a par with any team. The defense? Not as sure it was yet where it needs to be -- Oregon allowed 266 passing yards. And hanging above it all, there's that matter of those 12 penalties. But they sure looked terrific against a Big Sky team.

I wish I could look deeper into that game and provide a little more insight, but it was a mismatch of grandiose proportions. Perhaps all of Oregon's games will turn out to be the same thing. I doubt it, but at this point, who knows?

Best team on the field Saturday in Corvallis? Portland State!

Best team on the field Saturday in Corvallis? Portland State!

The Oregon State Beavers needed a win in the worst way Saturday against FCS Portland State. And that's just about what they got -- a win in the worst way.

Let me first say, OSU's drive to take the lead that culminated in a touchdown with a little more than a minute remaining in the game was a big thing for the Beavers. They came through in a tough spot and took control, if momentarily, of the game.

But let me also say, the Beavers didn't beat the Vikings. The Vikings beat the Vikings. Portland State was the better team in Reser Stadium Saturday and I know that's a very painful thing for Beaver fans to understand. But you can pick just about any category on the final stat sheet and PSU had the edge. But even more than that, consider that PSU lost its starting quarterback in the fourth quarter and still marched for the go-ahead touchdown with 2:43 to go in the game. And, oh yes, the Vikings couldn't covert PAT kicks or a field goal that would have sent the game into overtime. But for a kicker, this game belonged to Portland State.

And one other very big thing -- Portland State failed on a fourth-and-goal in the first half after an incomplete pass in the end zone. There was pass interference on that play -- even the Pac-12 network announcers saw it that way -- and it wasn't called.

I expected the Vikings to give the Beavers a game but I certainly didn't expect them to dominate Oregon State. The Vikings rushed for 291 yards while holding OSU to 154 on the ground. And this was supposed to be a Beaver team with a serious ground attack. And Portland State is supposed to be a team that will finish eighth or ninth in the Big Sky Conference. I think the Viks are obviously much better than that, by the way.

But what are we to make of the Beavers?

Well, so far, not much. But it's way too early to give up on them. Gary Andersen is a good coach and I think his team is talented enough to make something of a turnaround. But I'm not sure it will be enough to avoid a disastrous won-lost record. If a Big Sky team can run on them, I'd expect every team in the Pac-12 will run them into the ground. Oregon State would probably be better off to get to a ball-control offense and keep its defense off the field as much as possible.

On the defensive side of the ball, think last year's Oregon team. It could be even worse than that, if possible.

The Beavers can rejoice all they want over that win over Portland State. But in reality, there wasn't much to celebrate.

 

The Lakers got off way too easy on that tampering charge

The Lakers got off way too easy on that tampering charge

There are a couple of things that really bothered me about that $500,000 fine the Lakers got for tampering with Paul George, who was then under contract to the Indiana Pacers.

First, it was not enough of a penalty for a team that was previously warned about tampering with George. By now, you've probably seen this clip from the Jimmy Kimmel Show that features Laker President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson joking about tampering with George. After that show aired, the league specifically sent a warning to the Lakers.

But the Lakers later defied that order when General Manager Rob Pelinka spoke to George's agent. To me, that takes the tampering to an entirely different level. I was shocked the league didn't either take a draft choice away from Los Angeles or, better yet, bar them from signing George a year from now when he becomes a free agent.

The Lakers were caught with their hand in the cookie jar and instead of pulling the hand away, they just dug deeper. That tells you something about the respect that franchise has for the league office.

Does $500,000 sound severe to you? Well, certainly not as tough as when the league took $3.5 million and five draft picks away from Minnesota for an illegal agreement with Joe Smith. That deal also led to front-office suspensions and the Timberwolves being prohibited from signing Smith. On the surface, making an illegal deal seems much worse than whet the Lakers did but really, making illegal contact with the agent of a player a year away from free agency is very serious, too. Particularly when you've been warned not to do it.

I think back to the Trail Blazers being fined $250,000 in 1984 for illegal contact with Patrick Ewing and Hakeem Olajuwon. It was a huge sum at the time and all the Trail Blazers did was agree to explain the salary cap to the players prior to the draft. At that time, a quarter of a million was a whole lot of money. And at a time when the league wasn't nearly as prosperous as the NBA is now.

Of course, those fines were levied by then-commissioner David Stern. I believe the current administration led by Adam Silver is much softer -- on players and ownership. It's a go-along, get-along kind of league now. Everything is cool. Silver just keeps smiling.

Fining the Lakers a half million in today's NBA is a joke. The Lakers -- a company worth billions -- probably spend that much on post-game spreads in the family room. Sure, there is all sorts of tampering going on now -- but what a perfect time to make an example of a team breaking the rules. Certainly a $500,000 fine isn't going to deter a team from illegal contact.

I mean, why bother with those tampering rules if you aren't going to enforce them?

And does anybody think the Pacers would have gotten the same treatment had they tampered with a Laker player? I don't think so. It's no secret the NBA wants the Lakers strong again and wasn't anxious to do anything that would impede their growth.

It's too bad.

 

A look at Portland State's million-dollar early season football schedule

A look at Portland State's million-dollar early season football schedule

Portland State this week is headed to Corvallis for the second half of a very difficult season-opening schedule against teams out of their league. Way out of their league.

The Vikings' first game of the season was at Brigham Young last week. This week, "Barneyball" heads down I-5 to meet Oregon State in Corvallis.

By now, you know the reason the Vikings have scheduled two games they won't likely win:

Money. Big money for a Big Sky football program.

Portland State, it has been reported, got $575,000 for its 20-6 loss at BYU and is scheduled to receive $500,000 for the bus ride and expected loss to the Beavers.

Those are pretty good paydays but nothing like what a team gets for getting massacred by college football's big boys. Arkansas State is getting $1.65 million for a trip to Nebraska and Wyoming -- a pretty good team -- is going to get a million bucks for playing at Iowa.

I've never liked the idea that the smaller schools seem to need these big guarantees to keep their programs going. Playing up in class brings problems. First -- even though PSU can point to an upset win at Pullman over Washington State a couple of years back -- they are most likely going to get beat. And beat by a large margin. Second, when you play bigger and faster teams you'll be lucky to get out of some of these games without taking a physical pounding.

I don't like the notion that players' health could be sacrificed for the sake of money.

But welcome to the reality of college football.