Pac-12 conference

Pac-12 CEOs vote to improve non-conference basketball schedules, lessen transfer penalties within conference

Pac-12 CEOs vote to improve non-conference basketball schedules, lessen transfer penalties within conference

Interesting news is emerging from the Pac-12 Conference CEOs' annual spring meeting in San Francisco. Presidents and chancellors met and voted on a variety of topics, the two biggest changes approved are;

1) Raising standards for non-conference basketball schedules.

Beginning in the 2020-21 season, November and December will have far less cupcake games. Men’s basketball non-conference opponents will now need to have a five-year average NET ranking of at least 175 for home games and 200 or better for road games, up from the Pac-12′s previous standard for non-conference opponents of a five-year average of 300 RPI.

The move will have impact on power rankings and the NCAA Tournament selection process. Pac-12 teams received little benefit from victories over opponents in the bottom half of Division I, while losses severely hurt the team’s resume.

Under this rule, Oregon wouldn’t have played Portland State and Florida A&M. Oregon State wouldn’t have played Central Connecticut State or UC-Riverside.

2) Eliminating “loss of season” of eligibility for undergraduate transfers who transfer within the conference.

The CEO group voted to eliminate the “loss of a season" of eligibility penalty for all student-athletes who transfer within the Pac-12. This means undergraduate intra-conference transfers still have to sit out a year in residency, but won’t lose a year of eligibility.

According to the Pac-12, “The rule is designed to provide student-athletes with a similar experience to another student who decides to transfer.”

Oregon State football: What to know about the Beavers spring game

Oregon State football: What to know about the Beavers spring game

The Oregon State football team left the 2018 season with a lot of questions.

Putting their 2-10 season behind them, the Beavers will showcase their newly-improved defense, excellent depth at the receiver position and of course, the battle for starting quarterback on Saturday at the Oregon State Spring Game. 

Beavers fans can take in the team's annual scrimmage, which concludes Oregon State's spring practice period, before the season starts on August 30.

The QB race heats up

Jake Luton has looked sharp as of late and is the obvious frontrunner for the starting quarterback nod come August. Luton, who has started nine games for the Beavers since his first season due to injuries, was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA in June. In his time with Oregon State, Luton has passed for 2,513 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Tristan Gebbia split first-team reps with Luton in the Beavers last full practice ahead of this Saturday’s game. Gebbia was the first QB to take the field, connecting on two of his first three passes to I’Shawn Stewart. Luton took more snaps in team drills than Gebbia, but must step up in order to protect his role.

The spring game should give Beaver fans a clearer idea of which of the two players will be named starting quarterback for the 2019 season. The decision could be made as soon as the conclusion of spring camp.

Deep receiver depth on display

All Pac-12 Honorable Mentions Isaiah Hodgins and Trevon Bradford were both sidelined for the Dam City Showcase, but Oregon State’s receivers didn’t miss a beat. Keep your eyes on the young Beavers, who are vying for a spot in the highly-competive receiver group. 

Underclassmen Jesiah Irish and Anthony Gould made their presence known in Saturday’s showcase and emerged as game-changers. 5-foot-11, 172-pound Irish gave Beaver fans a glimpse of the future, speeding past the cornerback to catch a 32-yard touchdown pass from Jake Luton. Irish saw the field two times last season, but didn’t exceed the maximum four games to preserve his redshirt.

Gould also stood out on Saturday, turning a long catch and run into a 75-yard touchdown play. The 5-foot-10, 180 pounder out of West Salem has the explosiveness and speed to compete for a spot in the receiver rotation.

Hodgins, who is working through a minor leg injury, and Bradford, who sported a boot to protect a broken bone in his right foot, are expected to be ready to go come preseason.

Building the dam on defense 

Oregon State's defense was statistically one of the worst in the FBS ranks in 2018. OSU allowed 45.7 points per game, approximately 12 points per game worst than any other team in the conference and they know it's time to change that. 

The Beavers are expecting some help from their incoming recruiting class, which includes three-star linebacker Omar Speights, three-star defensive lineman Evan Bennett and transfer Jordan Whittley. Sophomore Isaac Hodgins will be returning to the D-line after playing in all 12 games and making 11 starts last season. With three seasons under his belt, senior outside linebacker Andrzej Hughes-Murray, one of the squad's anticipated co-captains, will bring experience to the the table. 

Here's more information on Oregon State's Spring Game: 

Where: Reser Stadium

When: Saturday, April 20 at 11:00 a.m. in Corvallis, Oregon

More details: The scrimmage game is open to the public, and there will be an autograph session beginning at 9 a.m. on the concourse. Posters will be provided, with one autograph per person. Fans can also enter to win a $200 concession voucher for the regular season.

Oregon basketball's season finale: A perfect time to peak

Oregon basketball's season finale: A perfect time to peak

Oregon basketball’s regular season finale just became more interesting. On a three-game winning streak, the Ducks (18-12, 9-8 Pac-12) are putting it together just in time and are currently in the running for a first round Pac-12 Tournament bye. Oregon has one final test on their regular season schedule: at Washington.

The Ducks are tied for fifth place in the Pac-12 standings with third and fourth place still wide open. Oregon will need to keep cooking to beat first place Washington (24-6, 15-2) on Saturday night in Seattle.

The recipe for Oregon’s 72-61 road victory over 11th place Washington State on Wednesday night? Upperclassmen Paul White and Payton Pritchard helping Oregon find offensive momentum from the jump, forcing 17 turnovers, scoring 30 points off WSU’s turnovers, shooting 50 percent from beyond the arc, monstrous Kenny Wooten block and 31 bench points.

White scored a career-high 21 points with four three-pointers and a team-high six rebounds.

Oregon’s momentum continues to build with visible improvement of defensive intensity, 50-50 ball fight and sharing the ball on offense.

If Oregon continues this fight, I don’t see why they aren’t contenders in the Pac-12 Tournament, which begins next Wednesday in Las Vegas. The top-four seeds advance to the quarterfinal and only have to win three games to be champions.

The first round bye is historically crucial to victory. Since 2014, the Pac-12 tournament winner has been the one or two seed. The only team to win four games to become champion was Colorado in 2012, as a six seed.

“We don’t have control over it, so we just got to go play. If it happens, it happens but it doesn’t happen if we don’t win on Saturday,” Altman said. “All we need to be focused on is playing well at Washington and find a way to win.”

The Pac-12 standings are a mess and Oregon doesn’t have full control over its destiny but a win on Saturday in Seattle is still up for grabs.

Bol Bol's season and Oregon basketball career is over

Bol Bol's season and Oregon basketball career is over

Freshman star center Bol Bol's season and future at Oregon is over, first reported by 247 Sports, confirmed by Bol on his social media accounts. 

On December 15, Oregon issued a statement saying the ankle injury Bol suffered would keep him from playing against Boise State. He has missed the team's last four games.

Bol suffered a stress fracture in his left foot which will likely keep him out of the remainder of the 2018-19 season. He is considering rehabbing the injury with trainers outside of the Oregon Basketball program ahead of the 2019 NBA Draft.

Bol reached double figures in all nine games he played this season and recorded a double-double in four of those games. The 7-foot-2 athlete leads the the Ducks in points (21.0), rebounds (9.6), blocks (2.7) and three-point percentage (52 percent). Bol was the nation's No. 4 highest-rated prospect in 2018 and the highest-rated player in school history to sign with UO. 

The Bol update adds on to a list of bad news for Oregon. Last week, starting forward Kenny Wooten was ruled out for 4-6 weeks with a broken jaw and backup forward Abu Kigab announced his transfer from Oregon on Wednesday. The Ducks are now without a center, have only four forwards and would be down to nine scholarship players without Bol and Kigab. 

After signing the program's highest recruiting class ever, Oregon was picked as the Pac-12 Conference favorite in a preseason media poll followed by UCLA, Washington and Arizona. The Ducks have fallen short of those expectations thus far, looking lost at times and suffering an embarrasing loss to Texas Southern.

Oregon won its final non-conference game at Boise State, despite having only eight scholarship players dressed for the game, and head into conference play with a 9-4 record. The Ducks tip off at 5 p.m. on Saturday vs. Oregon State. 

What are Oregon's potential bowl game destinations?

What are Oregon's potential bowl game destinations?

The Oregon Ducks became bowl eligible on Saturday after earning their sixth win of the season against UCLA. 

Oregon’s Pac-12 Conference title hopes, and thus its Rose Bowl chances, pretty much wilted away when Washington State (5-1 Pac-12) defeated California on Saturday. However, the conference has tie ins to plenty of other great bowl games. 

In the Pac-12 rankings, Oregon sits tied for third in the North Division with Stanford, but the Cardinal beat the Ducks to earn the head-to-head tiebreaker. Four Pac-12 teams are currently bowl eligible; Washington State (8-1, 5-1 Pac-12), Washington (7-3, 5-2), Utah (6-3, 4-3) and Oregon (6-3, 3-3).
It might be a little early to book your travel (especially considering the madness of the conference) but my prediction is that Oregon will be in the Redbox Bowl on Dec. 31 in Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, Calif. In order to get there, the Ducks must win two of their final three games and end up fourth in the conference.

The Ducks' remaining games are at Utah, versus Arizona State and at Oregon State.

Around the nation, Athlon Sports and USA Today predict Oregon in the Sun Bowl vs. Pittsburgh and Boston College, respectfully. CBS and ESPN have the Ducks in the Redbox Bowl, while Sports Illustrated has Oregon as an at-large bid for the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl vs. Houston.

Here is a quick look at Oregon’s likelihood for each Bowl game the Pac-12 has affiliations with:

Rose Bowl vs. Big Ten, Jan. 1, 2019, Pasadena, Calif.

Impossible. The Pac-12 champion goes to the Rose Bowl if not selected in the College Football Playoff. Oregon is not in the race to win the conference title.

Alamo Bowl vs. Big 12 #2, Dec. 28, 2018, San Antonio, Texas

Not very likely. Here’s how it could happen:

  • Oregon wins out
  • Washington loses one game (remaining games; versus Oregon State, at Washington State)
  • Pac-12 South champion has at least four losses

Holiday Bowl vs. Big Ten; Dec. 31, 2018, San Diego, Calif.
Possible. Here’s how it could happen:

  • Oregon wins out
  • Pac-12 South Champion has more losses than Oregon

Redbox Bowl vs. Big Ten; Dec. 31, 2018, Santa Clara, Calif.

Probable. Here’s how it could happen:

  • Oregon wins two of its final three games and ends up ranked 4th in the conference

Sun Bowl vs. ACC; Dec. 31, 2018, El Paso, Tex.

Probable. Here’s how it could happen:

  • Oregon wins two of its final three games and ends up ranked 5th in the conference

Las Vegas Bowl vs. Mountain West, Dec. 15, 2018, Las Vegas, Nev.

Probable. Here’s how it could happen:

  • To end up as the conference’s No. 6 option, Oregon would likely need to win one of its final three games. 

Cheez-It Bowl vs. Big 12 #6, Dec. 26, 2018, Phoenix, Ariz.

Probable. Here’s how it could happen:

  • To end up as the conference’s No. 7 option, Oregon would likely need to win one of its final three games. 

The Ducks could also end up an at-large bid, if the conference has more than seven bowl eligible (six or more wins) teams or if they lose all three remaining games.