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.

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.

 

Beavers grab win over PSU, but it wasn't pretty

Beavers grab win over PSU, but it wasn't pretty

Corvallis, Ore. – The Oregon State Beavers played host to the Portland State Vikings on Saturday, and for much of the game it was hard to tell which team was from the FBS and which team was from the FCS. Were the Vikings playing that good, or were the Beavers playing that bad? It didn’t really matter. In the end, the scoreboard said it was a win for the Beavers, but it sure didn’t feel like it.

Portland State wasted little time showing Beaver Nation that they come to play. Just a minute into the game the Viking found the end zone, and held the 6-0 lead following a missed PAT.

OSU would answer back, and would take a 14-6 lead into the locker room at halftime, but there was little doubt that Portland State had dominated the half. In fact, if not for some poor ball control and unforced fumbles, the Vikings may have had a two score lead at halftime.

Oregon State looked better in the second half, but it still felt like the Vikings were the better team. PSU tore the Beavers apart on the ground, rushing for nearly 300 yards, to go with 224 through the air. 

Portland State had more first downs, more rushing yards, more passing yards, fewer punts, and held the ball longer than the Beavers, but none of those stats matter. The only one that means anything is the final score, and on Saturday it was just about the only stat in favor of Oregon State.

Following the tough loss against Colorado State, Beaver Nation was still semi-optimistic. The loss felt more like a bad speed bump to start the season, rather than a sign of things to come. Following the struggle against the Vikings, all optimism is lost.

Starting running back Ryan Nall said in his post press conference, “a win is a win.” I find it hard to believe he truly feels that way.

The offense is not running the ball nearly as well as they thought. Nall, a pre-season All-Pac-12-Conference selection managed just 59-yards on 16 carries. The much hyped Thomas Tyner: Just 10-yards and two carries.  Overall, the team had 154-yards on 32 carries. Not the offensive running machine we thought we would see this fall.

But the offense is the least of the worries for the Beavers. If they hope to beat teams in the Pac-12 they have got to fix their issues on defense. For two straight weeks the Beavers have let teams run on them at will. Colorado State had 191-yards and three touchdowns against the Beavers. The following week against Colorado they managed just 88-yards and no scores.

How about the Vikings? They had just 86-yards rushing and no scores last week against BYU. This week they had 291-yards and three touchdowns.  If mediocre rush offenses look unstoppable against the Beavers, just imagine what good rushing teams like Stanford, Oregon, Washington, or USC will do to the Beavers? On second thought, if you’re a Beaver fan, don’t imagine that. It is the things nightmares are made of.

Year three was supposed to be the big leap for Gary Andersen and company. It was supposed to be the year Oregon State finally got over the hump and ended their streak of seasons without a bowl game. It was supposed to be the start of something big. Instead, it feels like the same old song and dance.

As coach Andersen said in this post game press conference, “we’re definitely a work in progress.” Hopefully we eventually get to see it.

 

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.

The Beavers should have opened the season at home vs. Hicktown State

The Beavers should have opened the season at home vs. Hicktown State

I'm not going to spend a lot of time on this but a few things have to be said after Oregon State's humiliating 58-27 defeat at Colorado State Saturday afternoon:

  • I thought the Beavers were past this sort of thing. In Gary Andersen's third season, I expected Oregon State to have reached a level of toughness that would have prohibited such a disastrous loss. Andersen himself called it "embarrassing."
  • The Beavers were outscored 34-7 in the second half but worse, they were manhandled -- pushed all over the field. That should not happen to a Pac-12 team playing a Mountain West team. Losing is one thing -- being bullied is quite another.
  • Andersen fell on his sword, as coaches so often do. "We can all call it what we want," he said. "Yeah, it was a close game at the half, turnovers, blah blah blah. … when you have a team do what they did to us … we couldn't answer the bell in the second half. I'm not saying it's anybody else's fault but mine. I'll put it right on me."
  • The Beavers got punched in the mouth and didn't respond. That's not good.
  • Oregon State comes home to play host to Portland State in its next game as the Vikings, who were solid in a 20-6 loss at BYU Saturday, continue their season-opening, million-dollar march to finance their program with games out of their weight class. But OSU better be careful -- the Vikings won't give up in the second half. They won't quit. And after watching both teams Saturday, I had to wonder if Portland State is the more physical -- and more disciplined -- of the two teams.
  • I cannot imagine a worse way for the Beavers to open the season. And I can't really understand why the game was scheduled in the first place. Season-openers are for home games against Hicktown State,  not teams on the rise playing inaugural games in new stadiums.
  • I suspect the Beavers will get it together this week. But I don't expect much of a season from them. The schedule now says a sub-.500 season and no bowl trip. Oh well.

 

Brackets Revealed for PK80

Brackets Revealed for PK80

The brackets for the much-hyped PK80 tournament have been released, and if you are a fan of college basketball you are in for a treat.

The tournament, boasted as one of the largest regular season tournaments in college basketball history, features 16 teams – a list that includes a combined 24 National Championships, three of last season’s Final Four teams, as well as five other teams that made the field of 64 last season.

PK80 will consist of two brackets, “Victory” and “Motion,” with each bracket crowning their own champion over the weekend. 

According to a press release, the names were chosen to pay tribute Nike and Phil Knight –

- “Victory”: In Greek mythology, Nike was considered the goddess of Victory

- “Motion”: The swoosh logo is not only meant to represent motion, but to also resemble the wings of the goddess Nike

Here is a quick breakdown of both:

VICTORY:

The “Victory” bracket will play host to local teams Oregon and Portland, 2017 National Champions North Carolina, as well as UConn, Georgetown, Oklahoma, Michigan State, and Arkansas.

Round 1 will see North Carolina vs Portland, Arkansas vs Oklahoma, Georgetown vs Michigan State, and UConn vs Oregon.

MOTION:

“Motion” will be headlined by 2017 runner-up and Northwest favorite Gonzaga, along with fellow local school Portland State. They will be joined by Coach K and the Duke Blue Devils, Texas, Stanford, Ohio State, Florida, and Butler.

Round 1 will see Duke vs Portland State,  Butler vs Texas, Florida vs Stanford, and Gonzaga vs Ohio State.

Click here to view a printable bracket

The two brackets will run simultaneously at Moda Center and Veterans Memorial Coliseum from Thursday, Nov. 23 to Sunday, Nov. 26, with no games being played on Saturday.

Note: The champsions of the individual brackets will not play eachother, instead the brackets are being treated like two individual tournaments. 

For more information visit pkinvitational.com

 

 

 

PK80: 16-Team college hoops tournament comes to Portland in 2017

pk80.png

PK80: 16-Team college hoops tournament comes to Portland in 2017

Next November the Rose Quarter will play host to one of the largest regular season tournaments in the history of college basketball. Welcome to PK80 – The Phil Knight Invitational.

Held in honor of the Nike co-founder’s 80 birthday, PK80will see 12 teams from around the nation and four local schools converge on the Rose City. 

Portland’s own University of Portland and Portland State University will carry the torch for PDX, while Gonzaga and the University of Oregon will also help them represent the northwest.

The four northwest school will be joined by 12 of the best college basketball programs in the nation; Arkansas, Butler, Connecticut, Duke, Florida, Georgetown, Michigan State, North Carolina, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Stanford and Texas.

The invitational consists of two eight team brackets, with each bracket only having one school from each conference. The the winners of each bracket playing in a championship game.

In total the participants have combined for 23 national titles, 89 final four appearance, and 391 NCAA Tournament Invitations. Needless to say, this tournament is sort of a big deal.

The invitational starts on Thursday, November 23 and ends on Sunday, November 24(with no games played on Saturday).

Here are what some of the participating coaches are saying, via the official press release:

“It’s an honor to be included in this prestigious group of college basketball programs and to get the chance to participate in an event as exciting as the PK80. The level of competition, as well as the college basketball atmosphere, will make it a tremendous experience for everyone involved, especially the student-athletes. After all he’s done for college basketball, there is no more appropriate way to help Phil Knight celebrate such a special birthday.” – UConn head coach Kevin Ollie

“Phil Knight has been a visionary and an innovator for a long time. PK80 is a unique way we can honor him and the contributions he has made not just to the game of basketball, but to all of sport.” – Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski

“What a great way to celebrate Phil Knight and all that he and Nike have done for college basketball and the Florida Gators. We’re excited and honored to be part of this field that features so many excellent programs.” – Florida head coach Mike White

It's exciting to be a part of this tournament. It is a privilege to be involved in an event that honors Phil Knight.  Mr. Knight has not only been pivotal figure in college athletics, but he has been a driving force in the entire sports industry. We are proud to participate in an event that celebrates him. – Georgetown head coach John Thompson III

“We’ve been fortunate to play in some incredible preseason events, but we’ve never been a part of something this amazing – both in terms of quantity and quality of the teams. This is sure to be an incredible experience for all the student-athletes. It’s only fitting to pay tribute to a one-of-a-kind man with a one-of-a-kind event. Phil Knight has revolutionized modern day fitness, while setting the gold standard for shoes and apparel, not just in basketball, but across all other sports and activities as well.” – Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo

“What a thrill for North Carolina Basketball to be playing in such a special event to honor a truly special man. PK80 not only brings together some of the top basketball programs in the game, it honors a giant in business and sports. Mr. Knight has a wonderful ability to touch people’s lives and do great things, both in and out of the sports world. I’ll always cherish my friendship with him.” – North Carolina head coach Roy Williams

For more information, visit pkinvitational.com

Former Oregon DB, Chris Seisay, transfers to Portland State

Former Oregon DB, Chris Seisay, transfers to Portland State

Defensive back Chris Seisay left the Oregon program on August 21st; just over a week later he has found a new home just up the I-5 corridor.

The former Ducks was spotted at today’s Portland State Vikings practice, per Craig Birnbach of KATU News.

Seisay missed much of 2015 for the Ducks due to injury, but was due to make a big impact this season for the Ducks. His transfer came as a bit of a surprise, but not as surprising as seeing him in a Vikings uniform.

Because the transferred down a division, Seisay will not lose eligibility and can  play immediately.

For Seisay the transfer makes sense on many levels. Not only does he get to play immediately, he also gets to return to wide receiver, a position he played in high school.

Seisay played both safety and wide receiver at American Canyon High School, catching 28 passed for 608 yards, and 11 touchdowns his senior season.

It remains to be seen if he will be ready to play in PSU's season open on Saturday against Central Washington. 

The case of Portland State's incredible new shrinking arena

viking_pavilion_022916.jpg

The case of Portland State's incredible new shrinking arena

Portland State has begun construction of it's new "pavilion" on campus, in case you haven't noticed. But I find it interesting how much the vision for the new arena has changed over the last few years.

This project is a little more than half of what I remembered it was supposed to be.

Webster's has a definition for "pavilion" that is "a large building that is used for sports or public events." As such, I'm not sure the "pavilion" part of "Viking Pavilion" applies these days. I wouldn't call this new structure "large."

At one time, I seem to remember the seating capacity of that building was going to be somewhere near 7,000. But I couldn't find any written evidence of that. But I have found various accounts listing the projected seating capacity of the arena as 5,500, and then "nearly 6,000-seat," and 5,000, then it dropped to "4,700 for sports," then I found 4,800, and now I'm reading mostly 3,000. On top of that, the early renderings of the building always showed what appeared to be a new arena sitting atop the previous Stott Center -- a spanking new top floor for the building.

The drawings I'm seeing now aren't so grandiose. Mike Lund, Portland State associate athletic director media/communications, provided the latest rendering, which is used with this post. And he explained the loss in seating capacity:

"When the project was first introduced the thought was we would be able to get about 5000 seats," he wrote in an email. "As plans evolved and space was actually worked out that was reduced down to 3000-3500. We do have to provide for a lot of academic space, larger sports medicine facility, more offices and some classrooms. I don't really think the seating will be a big issue for us."

And about the different look of the structure:

"As for the structure, the arena will not be on top. The building is being gutted on the east side. When reconstruction begins the final project will be taller than the original building so it is going up."

The Stott Center seating capacity previously was barely more than 1,000 so anything larger is an improvement. But I must say I'm disappointed that PSU is going to so much expense and trouble to build an arena for its Division I basketball program that is apparently going to seat just 3,000. That's too small. And yes, I know the program struggles to draw a thousand people to its games now.

But really, I had hope that the Portland State vision for the future would be something more than 3,000 fans per game.