Ohio State

Oregon vs. Ohio State is officially cancelled... so, now what?

Oregon vs. Ohio State is officially cancelled... so, now what?

Let’s be honest with ourselves here, who the heck wants to watch Alabama absolutely demolish and embarrass some lower-tier, non power-5 school in non-conference play anyway?

Nobody except those in Tuscaloosa. Got it. What the people want is Oregon vs. Ohio State; Washington vs. Michigan; Oregon vs. LSU. Those type of games. Games that will actually draw eyes and ratings. Games that will benefit teams in the long run rather than a “cupcake” non-conference schedule. Games that mean something.

On Thursday, Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic reported that the Big Ten conference is cancelling all non-conference play due to the coronavirus pandemic and will stick to a conference-opponent schedule this upcoming season.

The Big 10 made the announcement official later Thursday afternoon.

Still, no news yet what the Pac-12 conference will decide, but all signs point to following in these footsteps.

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So…. Now what?

Oregon was set to host North Dakota State and likely Hesiman candidate quarterback Trey Lance. Then, seven days later, Justin Fields and the Ohio State Buckeyes. 

Head coach Mario Cristobal has stated before how important it is to schedule big, meaningful games.

They want to play the best teams in the country all the time, and there is no way we're going to go away from that mentality to try to schedule down to appease—whatever, I guess I should stop there before I get in trouble, right? These guys deserve to find out how good they are by playing against the best, so we're going to continue doing that. — Mario Cristobal

After Texas A&M cancelled a home-and-home series with the Ducks for 2018 and 2019 seasons, Oregon’s rather “soft” non-conference schedule in 2018 of Bowling Green, Portland State and San Jose State (all at home too), was criticized all year long. Oregon turned that around immediately playing Auburn to open up the season in 2019 in a game that drew in 6.86 million viewers.

Games of that nature don’t just draw in eyes of viewers on television, but it puts the teams on national television which attracts recruits. If a head coach can promise national attention and relevance, that’s hard to pass up in the eyes of a young 17-year-old.

Now, let’s take a look at the very shaky, not-sure-what-it-will-look-like future of college football this season. We still aren’t sure what the season will look like, especially the postseason. Let’s say that all the division one schools go along with just conference opponents. This is bad news bears for the Pac-12.

Hear me out.

The Pac-12 hasn’t had a competing team in the College Football Playoff since 2015 when Oregon dismantled Jameis Winston and the Florida State Seminoles in the CFB semifinal, but fell to Ohio State in the National Championship. The Washington Huskies were embarrassed by Alabama 24-7 in 2017.

Oregon’s 2020 Rose Bowl appearance and victory over Wisconsin was definitely nice, but it wasn't a playoff game.

So, postseason play is already a problem for the Pac-12. But, then there is the issue with late kickoff times, as well. Seven of Oregon’s nine Pac-12 conference games kickoff at 4 PM (PT) or later. Having one of the best Pac-12 team’s kickoff at 7:30 PM (or 10:30 PM on the East Coast) really hurts tv ratings and eyes across the country.

Having no non-conference schedule puts a lot more pressure on the Pac-12 during conference play.

Here’s a look at the non-conference marquee matchups slated in the future for Oregon:

2021 - at Ohio State

2022 - at Georgia

2023 - at Texas Tech

2024 - vs. Texas Tech; Boise State

2025 - vs. Oklahoma State; at Boise State

2026 - vs. Boise State; at Oklahoma State

2027 - at Baylor

2028 - vs. Baylor

2029 - at Michigan State

2030 - vs. Michigan State

It’s sad not just for Duck fans or Buckeye fans, but for college football as a whole. It would have been great to see Oregon’s defense, which is projected to be second in the nation, go up against Heisman candidate quarterback Justin Fields. We’ll just have to wait until 2021 (hopefully).

According to Oregon Athletic Director Rob Mullens, he and Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith have been in contact regarding the cancellation.

I appreciate Gene Smith reaching out to share the Big 10’s announcement. We agreed to have ongoing discussions about the options for rescheduling the Oregon home game in our series. — Rob Mullens

Perhaps because it was the Big 10 conference’s decision to cancel their non-conference schedule, maybe that gives Oregon some leeway in the future about rescheduling the game. Las Vegas anyone?

Ohio State’s future non-conference schedule includes a return trip to the West Coast in 2024 at Washington, so perhaps the two schools can play then? But that would also make Oregon’s 2024 non-conference opponents Texas Tech, Boise State and then Ohio State. Dang.

So, the Big Ten was the first power-5 conference to shut down non-conference play. What about the other conferences? Can you imagine the reaction if the SEC also cancelled games when football is such a prominent and important factor in SEC territory? If one conference cancels, shouldn’t they all? It is difficult to navigate these uncharted waters especially with the COVID-19 pandemic still among us. 

Only a matter of time. 

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Oregon Ducks vs. Ohio State Buckeyes officially postponed

Oregon Ducks vs. Ohio State Buckeyes officially postponed

One of the most anticipated matchups of the 2020 football season was scheduled to go down inside Autzen Stadium on September 12th.

Well, not anymore.

The Big 10 announced Thursday that they would focus on a conference-only schedule for select sports, including football. 

The Big Ten Conference announced today that if the Conference is able to participate in fall sports (men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, football, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball) based on medical advice, it will move to Conference-only schedules in those sports. Details for these sports will be released at a later date, while decisions on sports not listed above will continue to be evaluated. By limiting competition to other Big Ten institutions, the Conference will have the greatest flexibility to adjust its own operations throughout the season and make quick decisions in real-time based on the most current evolving medical advice and the fluid nature of the pandemic.
 
This decision was made following many thoughtful conversations over several months between the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors, Directors of Athletics, Conference Office staff, and medical experts including the Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee.

A new date for the Ducks-Buckeyes game is not immediately known. 

Oregon AD Rob Mullens has issued a statement, as well:

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the United States and has left the sports world in limbo. 

Now, Ohio State and the Big 10 can be added to the list.

College Football Insider Brett McMurphy reported Wednesday that Ohio State had paused all voluntary workouts after multiple student-athletes tested positive for the disease. The school would not release the number of positive tests, only stating that the pausing of workouts was a result of the latest round of testing.

As a precaution to help flatten the curve, some reported the Big 10 could play a conference only or regional only schedule. The same goes for the Pac-12, with USC head coach Clay Helton saying the conference is considering playing 11 conference games, eliminating all non-conference opponents.

That means Washington vs Michigan this season will be called off, as well.

Still, conferences sticking to a conference-only continue to have a big "IF." 

It was announced early Wednesday that the Ivy League has decided to cancel fall sports for the 2020 season. 

The Ivy League became to the first league to announce they would not play fall sports, and that is no small drop in the pond. 

The Ivy League was also the first league to cancel its basketball championship tournaments earlier this year, and shortly thereafter all the other leagues followed suit. 

It feels like more dominoes will continue to fall in the coming days and weeks.

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

 

 

 

It turns out that College Football Playoff just as messed up as BCS or polls

It turns out that College Football Playoff just as messed up as BCS or polls

It's fixed. It's all a setup.

College football set up a playoff system, ostensibly to fairly determine a national championship on the field, rather than by simply holding a beauty contest masking as a poll. But what we ended up with this weekend is another example of the sport being more concerned with TV ratings and ultimately cranking the money machine up even higher.

Ohio State meets Clemson in the first round. Alabama plays Washington. It's really all about trying to set up an Urban Meyer-Nick Saban matchup for the championship -- two superpowers and two supercoaches meeting in a ratings bonanza.

In a four-team playoff, Ohio State shouldn't even be in the mix. At least by the listed criteria of the College Football Playoff on its website. That website says:

The selection committee ranks the teams based on conference championships won, strength of schedule, head-to-head results, comparison of results against common opponents and other factors.

Conference championships won? What conference did the Buckeyes win? Penn State won the Big 10 in the conference's title game while Ohio State sat home watching. I'm actually shocked Washington got in because you know the committee was dying to put Michigan in, for the TV ratings a rematch with Ohio State would draw. But apparently winning the Pac-12 matters more than winning the Big 10, even though most people believed the latter was a more powerful conference this season.

Of course, the playoff should include at least eight teams with automatic berths for the Big Five conference title winners and then three wild-card teams. That would cover all the teams that belong in the playoff -- including, this season, the Buckeyes and red-hot USC. And not Michigan, which lost two of its last three games.

And it's silly when people make the argument that the controversy of having just four teams and the fuss over who gets chosen is good for the sport. No it isn't. It never has been. A whole lot of people complaining about what you're doing is never a good way to market your product. We heard the same excuse for the BCS system for years and that whole thing stunk.

For me, it's just one more example of why I've lost a degree of interest in college sports over the years. It's a bunch of kids working hard at their sport to enable a bunch of wealthy athletic departments and their administrators to generate as much money as possible off the sweat of those kids. Exploitation rules. This isn't about finding the best team, it's about making the most money.

That's fine if this is strictly business, but it isn't. This is supposed to be "student-athletes" competing on a level playing field. You know, the purity of sport. I can't even write that without smirking.

It's a mess.

 

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

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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