Are Ducks more potent, Beavers better, Viks tired of Missions Almost Impossible?

Are Ducks more potent, Beavers better, Viks tired of Missions Almost Impossible?

Opening weekend, finally, for our area’s college football teams and I’m happy about that – primarily because stories from “fall camp” (even when it’s nowhere close to fall) are usually just a combination of hopeful hype and injury reports with little real news. I know, because I used to write those stories. Anyway, just a few random thoughts about the Ducks, Beavers and Vikings leading into Week 1:

  • Yes, I know bowl games are different than regular season games and not necessarily an indication of what’s to come for a team in the following season. But when I think about the Ducks and the upcoming year, it’s pretty hard for me to get the Redbox Bowl out of my mind. And I also understand that if you’re an Oregon football fan, you probably flushed that game out of your memory bank the day after that debacle. Certainly, pollsters don’t remember it, or I don’t think they’d be voting the Ducks as high as 11th in the AP preseason poll. But seriously, UO rushed for 37 yards on 27 carries and had only 11 first downs. Oregon won 7-6 against Michigan State. I saw that game as a summary of the season on offense for the Ducks. They underachieved with the ball, especially considering they had a quarterback who was touted as a Heisman candidate at the start of the season. I would hope they would make better use of Justin Herbert this year.
  • Oregon State has a long way to go from where it was last season just to become a respectable college football team. I am optimistic that Jonathan Smith can engineer a turnaround, but I don’t expect it to happen overnight. Can the Beavers upset Oklahoma State Friday night? I doubt it, but I also think they have their best chance to win early in the season, before the inevitable injuries start to pile up. Depth is going to be a problem, as it always is, for schools trying to make the climb from the bottom to even the middle of Power-5 conferences. It’s hard for them to recruit enough quality starters, let alone bench players, at this point of their development.
  • The prime funding mechanism for some FCS football programs has become sending their teams on Missions Almost Impossible to FBS schools, scooping up six-figure guarantees in exchange for playing the role of patsy for those higher-level teams. Meet Portland State football. The Vikings this year open their season at Arkansas and then also play on the road at Boise State. For Viking players, the only good thing about a game at Arkansas is they don’t have to undergo a long bus ride. I assume they will fly, as opposed to those long motor coach rides to other away games during the season. I realize that a few years ago PSU traveled to Pullman and upset Washington State. Stuff happens. But for me, there is something unseemly about a system that requires players to take a beating from more powerful schools, just for a paycheck they don’t get to share. But good luck, Vikings, stay healthy and remember, the Razorbacks went 2-10 last season, including a home loss to North Texas.

Pac-12 announces commissioner Larry Scott has tested positive for COVID-19

Pac-12 announces commissioner Larry Scott has tested positive for COVID-19

Just hours after the Pac-12 announced that conference-only schedules will be played for fall sports, including football, just as the Big Ten has done, the conference then announced that its commissioner, Larry Scott, has tested positive for the coronavirus.

After experiencing mild flu-like symptoms late this week and out of an abundance of caution, Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott was tested for COVID-19. The test for Commissioner Scott came back positive, and as a result he is self-quarantining at the direction of his physician. Commissioner Scott is continuing to carry on his duties remotely as normal. -- The Pac-12 announced Friday evening  

[Listen and download for free ‘Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football].

Scott is 55 years old. It was in July of 2009 that he took over as the commissioner of the conference after serving as the chairman and CEO of the Women’s Tennis Association. 

During Scott’s tenure as Pac-12 commissioner, the conference expanded from 10 members to 12 in 2011 and also added an annual championship game in football that year.

As for the upcoming Pac-12 football schedule, Oregon’s AD Rob Mullens says the conference’s plan is to announce details on the updated schedules no later than July 31.

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and former Oregon Track & Field star and Olympian Galen Rupp].

Details surrounding the Pac-12 to allowing voluntary in-person workouts


Details surrounding the Pac-12 to allowing voluntary in-person workouts

It seems like it has been forever since we last saw our favorite athletes hit their respective fields of play, but that could be changing soon. 

The Pac-12 announced on Tuesday that the conference would allow athletes to participate in voluntary, in-person workouts on campus starting on June 15th.

It's the first step in getting sports back up and running throughout the conference 

“The Pac-12 is committed to the well-being of our student-athletes, and the decision to allow for voluntary workouts, subject to a determination by each school, is guided by the advice of our medical experts and will be supported by the detailed protocols established by our medical advisory committee in concert with our campus’ own safety guidelines,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott in a press release.  “As states have either already opened or begin to open up access to parks, gyms and other training facilities, student-athletes should have the option at this time to be in, what for many, will be a much safer environment on campus, where they can have access to the best available health, well-being and training support.”

In allowing for the return to workouts, the Pac-12 laid out recommendations on how to welcome athletes back and get the ball rolling.

In order to return to the athletic facility, athletes will have to:

  • Complete a pre-participation evaluation
  • Must be fever and symptom-free. 
  • Have laboratory testing
  • Staff and Athletes will have proper health education and setting of expectations, including hygiene
  • Must wear face covering at all times. 


Athletes and staff will also have to have tier temperature checked prior to entering team facilities.

According to the press release, "Each university will develop its own health and safety plan consistent with the committee’s recommendations along with relevant state and local public health guidance."

The number one priority is keeping athletes safe and healthy, and with the guidelines put in place the conference feels it can do so.

At this point it may just be small workouts, but as the old saying goes, "You have to walk before you can run." 

This is just the first small step toward the return of live sports. 

Be sure to get caught up with your favorite teams by downloading the latest podcast from NBCSNW.

A college athlete endorsing Rolex? NCAA about to usher in a new era

A college athlete endorsing Rolex? NCAA about to usher in a new era

The NCAA’s announcement today about athletes being allowed to profit from their image, name or likeness is going to change college sports dramatically, whether you like it or not.

Competitive balance, a critical element to any competition, is likely going to disappear.

The teams you watch every week on national television will become even more dominant because of the exposure they get. And the players on those teams will likely be the ones landing the big-time endorsements -- which will lead their colleges to being able to continually recruit the best players, because it’s where they can go to make the most money.

That goes for football and basketball, maybe even some of the other sports if high-profile, Olympic athletes are involved.

Imagine football programs such as Alabama, LSU, Clemson and Notre Dame players -- maybe someday even USC players, because of market size -- being allowed to have personal endorsements.

They could become rich even before they enter the pros.

How is a kid playing at Oregon State or Washington State going to be able to make any money endorsing big-ticket items? He or she might get a local burger chain, but not McDonald’s or Burger King, where the big money will be. And yes, I'm sure Duck fans are thinking about Nike endorsement deals for their players, but I'd be surprised if the NCAA doesn't exclude sneaker and apparel companies with connections to colleges from those deals.

The real money isn't in selling autographed pictures or making appearances at some retail store.

Someday will we be seeing college football’s next Joe Burrow endorsing Porsche? Or Rolex? And getting those products for free?

This could possibly even drain some of the ad dollars the schools themselves have been earning, as it goes to athletes rather than the institutions.

I know, it sounds crazy, but college sports have gotten out of hand over the years and I wouldn’t be surprised if this opens the floodgates.

College basketball is quickly going to have to adjust to the idea that high school kids heading to the G-League rather than college will become more common -- even endorsement deals can’t match those G-League stipends.

College basketball has been on life support for years and could be near death with the NBA now funneling high-school players to its G-League. Will people still watch college basketball if all the superstars head straight to the pros? In some hotbeds, yes. But the sport is going to have to be marketed much better than it is now to make that happen nationally.

And the NCAA enforcement division is weak. Violations will probably be rampant. There aren’t enough investigators to do the job now, let alone in the future. The media has always been the investigators, uncovering violations for the NCAA.

It’s going to be great for the athletes, but chaos for the NCAA.

2020 NFL Draft Profile: Portland State TE Charlie Taumoepeau

2020 NFL Draft Profile: Portland State TE Charlie Taumoepeau

Charlie Taumoepeau

Position: Tight end
Year: Senior
Hometown: Federal Way, Washington


Height: 6’2"

Weight: 240 pounds

Hands: 9 1/2"

Arm: 32 1/4"

NFL Combine results: 

40 Yard Dash: 4.75 seconds

Bench press: 18 reps

Vertical jump: 36.5 inches

Broad jump: 121 inches

3 Cone Drill: 7.0 seconds

20 Yard Shuttle: 4.27 seconds 


Taumoepeau is one of the most successful tight ends to ever come out of Portland State. For a second-straight season, he was given All-American honors from STATS. This comes just one year after Taumoepeau was named consensus All-American Second-Team.

Taumoepeau caught 36 passes for 474 yards and two touchdowns in 2019 despite missing two games. He capped off his collegiate career with the Vikings with 117 catches, 1,876 yards and 11 touchdowns and was Portland State’s top receiver during his tenure.

The 6-3, 245-pounder earned first team All-Big Sky Conference honors in November for the second season in a row.

Taumoepeau appeared in the Reese's Senior Bowl All-Star Game in January. Scouts were reportedly worried about his athleticism coming into the week’s practices, which continue to be a legitimate concern heading into the draft.

Draft projections

He is currently projected to go undrafted in the 2020 NFL Draft, despite mock drafts listing him in the 4th and 5th rounds last fall.

Taumoepeau received an overall prospect grade of 5.54 from, which means he could likely be an end of roster or practice squad player in the NFL. 

NFL comparison:

Evan Engram


- Versatile player
- Prowess in the passing game
- Consistent

- Needs to improve overall strength
- Blocking
- Limited speed and quickness
- Technique in the run game

Social media workouts

Taumoepeau has been preparing for April’s draft at Ford Sports Performance. 

Oregon Ducks unite to remind everyone we're "all in this together"

Oregon Ducks unite to remind everyone we're "all in this together"

What do you get when you have Justin Herbert, Sabrina Ionescu, Peyton Pritchard, Marcus Mariota, Hroniss Grasu, Kenjon Barner, Tinker Hatfield, and other Oregon greats together? 

One awesome video!

Everyone remains at home amid the COVID-19 pandemic, including your favorite college and professional athletes.

On Thursday, the University of Oregon released a video showcasing athletes past and present who joined together to unite in repping the green and yellow. 

The video is a lot of fun to watch for Duck fans who are missing watching some sporting events that have been canceled due to the Coronavirus and need a little nostalgia. From seeing Jordan Bell, Dennis Dixon, Legarrette Blount and more all come together and take part in something is a fun sight. 

You can see from the reactions on this video that the people really seemed to enjoy it!

Rob Mullens rounds out the video, reminding everyone to stay safe.

A great idea!

There is a major problem if the NCAA grants spring athletes another year

There is a major problem if the NCAA grants spring athletes another year

The NCAA's council coordinating committee has reportedly agreed to grant another season of eligibility to student-athletes who are not being allowed to compete this spring because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is a great idea, but it comes with a built-in problem. If this happens, the NCAA is also going to have to allow its member schools more scholarships for next season, because many of the rides the seniors are on now have already been promised to incoming recruits. Those additional rides would have to be funded, too.

I do think that would be possible, at least for this one year. Scholarships for most spring sports are fewer than for basketball and football and could use a boost, anyway.

Of course, some of the athletes will choose to move on, either to professional sports opportunities or to their other chosen careers. But this would benefit a lot of the four-year players who have no chance to play at the professional level after college. Or the ones who are deprived of a chance to show pro scouts their improvement during a senior season.

There are also indications that athletes competing in winter sports, who have not had an opportunity to complete their season, would also be granted another season. But the problem there is a majority of winter sports athletes had already completed their season. To grant them an extra year would not make sense.

The ones in the postseason could be granted another season, but would that be an unfair advantage over the teams that completed their season and wouldn't get those seniors back?

That would be a much more complicated problem to solve.

Portland Pilots two-headed monster helps lead team to NCAA Tournament for first time since 1997


Portland Pilots two-headed monster helps lead team to NCAA Tournament for first time since 1997

If you don’t know Haylee Andrews and Alex Fowler by now, it's time to level up. 

The Pilots two-headed monster helped Portland capture a West Coast Conference automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in two decades. 

Coming off a Damian Lillard-esque dagger, which upset the Gonzaga Bulldogs, Andrews pulled off another gutsy performance against the San Diego Toreros. 

With 58.3 seconds left in the game, Andrews came through with the go-ahead floater. San Diego got the ball back with :10 seconds left on the clock, but a late-three from Erica Martinsen was off and Portland edged San Diego 64-63 in an overtime thriller. 

For the second-straight game, Andrews and Fowler combined for 35+ points. Andrews finished with 18 points, seven rebounds, and six assists, while Fowler recorded a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Both were named to the all-tournament team. Fowler also received tournament MVP honors after averaging 23.3 points during the Pilots three-game stint in Vegas. 

Along with the automatic bid, it’s also Portland’s first league title since 1994. Congrats, Pilots!

NEXT UP: The Pilots are dancing! The team will learn their fate in the NCAA Tournament Selection show next Monday at 4:00 p.m. PT. 

New LA Bowl will feature Pac-12, Mountain West schools 

USA Today Images

New LA Bowl will feature Pac-12, Mountain West schools 

Coming December 2020, the Pac-12 will have a new collegiate football bowl game to play. 

According to a release from SoFi Stadium, the new home of the Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles Rams, and Hollywood Park, a 298-acre sports and entertainment destination, a new bowl game is coming to college football: the LA Bowl. 

The LA Bowl, which will be played in 2020, will be annual game between the Mountain West’s No. 1 selection and the Pac-12’s No. 5 selection. The bowl will be played at SoFi Stadium from 2020 through 2025. 

“We are thrilled to partner with LA Bowl and bring a Pac-12 presence to the new state-of-the-art facility at SoFi Stadium, in one of the biggest markets right in our footprint,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement. “The entertainment presence of the new facility will provide great experiences for our student-athletes and fans as the Pac-12 continues its postseason matchup with the Mountain West.”

The Pac-12/Mountain West Bowl had been played annually in Las Vegas since 2001, but that bowl made changes this year with the opening of Allegiant Stadium, future home of the Las Vegas Raiders. The Las Vegas Bowl will now pit a Pac-12 team with an opponent from the SEC or Big Ten. 

The exact and kickoff time will be released at a later date.

Paying college athletes for their likeness could bring a calamity of unintended consequences

Paying college athletes for their likeness could bring a calamity of unintended consequences

Now that the Oregon legislature is busily pushing through a bill that would allow college athletes in the state to be compensated for their image, name and likeness, it’s a good time to remind everyone that the NCAA has already made a major shift to allow that very thing in its three divisions.

In October, the major governing body for intercollegiate athletics announced a plan for compensation and asked its three divisions to come up with their own rules about how to implement the compensation.

There were two basic precepts to its proposal:

  • The organization’s top governing board voted unanimously to allow college athletes to be compensated, though the NCAA’s three divisions must still craft their own rules and detail the specifics.
  • Student-athletes must be treated similarly to non-athlete students, must not be treated like employees of their respective universities, and there should be a “clear distinction between college and professional opportunities,” the NCAA said. 

A big concern of both parties in this situation is whether to actually make athletes employees of their universities. Doing so would allow them to unionize and probably make them eligible for other benefits, but at the same time possibly make their scholarships and cost of attendance taxable.

Cost of attendance was given to athletes a few years ago and it has allowed them to receive money for incidental expenses of attending college that can rise up to several thousand dollars. And by the way, for all those people out there still saying athletes don't have money in their pockets, this stipend does make a difference.

While the NCAA is always portrayed as the villain that continues to exploit college athletes, it’s important to point out there are legitimate reasons for having strict rules and enforcement of such rules in regard to payments of athletes.

A level playing field is critical to competition and when the big-time football and basketball schools are enabled to funnel money to their athletes, it will open revenue streams that may be impossible to regulate.

What would an Alabama football player -- not just a star quarterback, but a lineman -- be able to earn on his likeness compared to one at California or Washington State? And what is the potential for abuse of this situation?

This thing sounds like something the University of Oregon athletic department would love and the rest of the Pac-12 would not. That Nike connection might come in handy for likeness and image purposes.

This could lead to some very distinct recruiting advantages that I’m not sure all colleges -- including the ones in Oregon -- would want to sign off on. I think there is an answer somewhere to how this could be fairly handled but I haven’t seen it so far. What I see is a hot mess made even hotter by the participation of state governments all over the country, with each state passing differing laws.

Bottom line: if athletes are to get money out of their participation in college sports, fine. But let’s have uniform rules -- not something done state-by-state -- for all of those universities and figure out a way to enforce them. 

If not, we’re talking about ushering in an athletic calamity of unintended consequences.