Redbox bowl

Oregon football ends 2018 with a jubilant scene

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US Presswire

Oregon football ends 2018 with a jubilant scene

SANTA CLARA, Calif.- The Oregon Ducks ended 2018 with a 7-6 victory over Michigan State in the Redbox Bowl. The win wasn’t pretty; UO had more punts (11) than points, but the triumph and ensuing celebration felt significant to the future of the Oregon football program.

"You take a victory whether it be one point, two points or 50 points," UO coach Mario Cristobal said. “The culture has changed this program and we feel like we are just getting started.”

One look at the jubilant Ducks (9-4) and you would have thought Oregon won its first national title. Ironic, considering Alabama and Clemson will fight on that same field at Levi’s Stadium on Monday in the College Football Playoff Championship game.

The entire scene was something to behold and left an endearing impression of what this win meant to this group. 

When the clock winded down and victory was sealed, the Oregon football team began to chant “CRIS-TO-BAL!” as they doused their first-year head coach with Gatorade.

Cristobal, soaked with Gatorade, led a search party on the grass for his wedding ring; only to remember that he left it in the locker room for safe-keeping.

In their last hurrah of 2018, and with the programs third head coach in as many seasons, Oregon's seniors and team captains, Justin Hollins, Jalen Jelks, Ugo Amadi and Kaulana Apelu rejoiced at winning their first bowl game since the 2014 Rose Bowl victory.

Coaches kissed their spouses and hugged their children after achieving the program's most wins since 2016 with rival victories over Oregon State and Washington.

Junior Troy Dye hoisted his defensive MVP trophy in the air as fans congratulated Oregon’s leading tackler for three-straight seasons on possibly his last victory in a Ducks uniform.

Strength and conditioning coach Aaron Feld sought out and gave Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens’ a strong handshake and congratulations through a handlebar mustache grin.

Ducks fans chanted Justin Herbert’s name, after he etched his name in the UO record books by surpassing 3,000 passing yards in a single-season, becoming the fifth Oregon player to reach 7,000 career passing yards and extending his streak of games with a touchdown pass to 28, the longest active streak in the nation.

The secondary held an impromptu dance party after the Ducks' defense had held the Spartans scoreless through the first half, forced seven punts and allowed only two field goals, the same offensive output the Spartans managed against Ohio State.

After setting a new program single-season receiving record with 1,184 yards (breaking Josh Huff’s 1,140 record set in 2013), wide receiver Dillon Mitchell was awarded offensive MVP during the on stage trophy presentation, which he gave to his dad in the stands.

Lastly, at the postgame press conference, draft-eligible juniors Mitchell and Dye deflected NFL questions as the deadline to declare for the 2019 NFL Draft (Jan. 15) draws near.

No, it wasn’t a national title, not even close, but it was a meaningful postseason victory over a big-ten opponent with the best rushing defense in the nation. Who knows what 2019 holds, certainly a lot of work remains for Oregon to contend, but with a its star quarterback returning, stability in the coaching staff and a young, talented roster… the Oregon program is trending upwards.

Rapid Reaction: Three quick takeaways from Oregon's win over Michigan State in Redbox Bowl

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US Presswire

Rapid Reaction: Three quick takeaways from Oregon's win over Michigan State in Redbox Bowl

In all the drama that surrounded Oregon football the past few weeks, with landing the No. 1 overall pick Kayvon Thibodeaux and the announcement of junior quarterback Justin Herbert returning for his senior season, the Oregon Ducks needed a Redbox Bowl win to cap off a season that was feeling great as of lately…

It happened, but it was U-G-L-Y. A win is a win, we guess. It was more of the sluggish offense that the Ducks were all too familiar with over the regular season that carried over on this sunny, 57 degree day here in Santa Clara, California. Oregon's first score came off a 28-yard touchdown from Herbert to Dillon Mitchell, a combo that has been so deadly all season. And that was all she wrote for the Ducks on offense. Luckily, it was enough. Oregon's defense showed up big once again holding the Spartans to just two field goals.

Oregon (9-4) finishes off the 2018-2019 season with a 7-6 win over the Michigan State Spartans (7-6) at Levi's Stadium.

Here are some quick thoughts from our reporters on scene….

FINAL BOX SCORE: Spartans 6, Ducks 7

Bri Amaranthus, NBCSNW Ducks Insider: Oregon’s offense was a snooze-fest. However, if you are looking for a silver lining, quarterback Justin Herbert etched his name into Oregon history books. In the first half, Herbert reached 3,000 passing yards in a single-season, coming the fifth Duck to do so.

Bri Amaranthus, NBCSNW Ducks Insider: The Duck defense delivered. Oregon held MSU scoreless in the first half and kept the Ducks in the game. In particular, Jevon Holland had key pass breakups and an interception. The redzone defense was clutch: Oregon has allowed 46 trips into the red zone this season, but only 20 touchdowns, a rate of 43.5% which ranks 5th in the FBS.

Ashley Young, NBCSNW Football Coordinator: Three words: Catch. The. Ball. Too many drops across the board on an already boring and predictable game plan.

3 Ducks you must watch in the Redbox Bowl

3 Ducks you must watch in the Redbox Bowl

The Redbox Bowl will feature a Duck debut, a triumphant return and the last hurrah.

It also marks the first time the Ducks are playing a bowl game in the Bay Area, facing Big Ten foe Michigan State, Monday at noon at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

On Talkin’ Ducks (video above) I divulge the three Ducks in particular I will have my eye on; senior defensive end Jalen Jelks, freshman left tackle Penei Sewell and sophomore transfer linebacker DJ Johnson.

Why?

-I expect Jelks to ball out in his last game in green and yellow 

-Sewell's return could be a huge difference maker, considering MSU has the best rush defense in the country

-Johnson's debut will be a sneak peek of Oregon’s future at linebacker

Did you get your holiday bonus yet? Oregon coach Mario Cristobal did.

Did you get your holiday bonus yet? Oregon coach Mario Cristobal did.

Christmas came early for Oregon coach Mario Cristobal, who earned a $100,000 bonus for leading Oregon to a bowl berth with at least seven regular season wins.

Cha-ching! However, while $100,000 is a lot of money, it’s a smidgen of what he could have earned for a bonus.

In his first-year as Oregon's head coach, Cristobal earned $2.5 million for the 2018-19 season, making him the 8th highest paid Pac-12 coach and the 54th highest in the nation. As an assistant last season, Cristobal was paid $700,000.

The upside for Cristobal’s contract is his maximum bonus of $1,825,000, the 8th highest in the nation.

Alas, he missed out on over a million in bonuses, from $25,000 for earning Pac-12 coach of the year honors to $500,000 for winning the College Football Playoff championship game. 

And while there is no bonus financial incentive for Cristobal to win the Redbox Bowl, a bowl victory over Michigan State would make the 2018 season successful and memorable.

Oregon hasn’t won a bowl game since 2014. Let that sink in for a second… The last postseason victory was the college football semifinal Rose Bowl game against Florida State… That was two head coaches ago.

Cristobal could start his own run at greatness with a victory in Oregon’s first ever appearance in a Bay Area bowl game. Which would maybe take the sting out of all the money that was left on the table. 

The Ducks finished 8-4 overall and 5-4 in conference play, missing the following potential bonuses:

- $100,000 for nine regular season wins

- $100,000 for ten regular season wins

- $200,000 for 11 regular season wins

- $250,000 for 12 regular season wins

Washington (10-3, 7-2 Pac-12) secured the Pac-12 North and won the conference title, meaning that Cristobal missed out on the following:

- $100,000 for winning the Pac-12 North Division

- $150,000 for winning the Pac-12 Championship

Failing to make the college football playoff means Cristobal lost:

- $500,000 for winning the College Football Playoff National Championship

- $250,000 for playing in the CFP National Championship Game

- $200,000 for playing in the CFP Semi-Finals

- $175,000 for a CFP Bowl outside of the Semi-Finals

All in all, if Cristobal would’ve led the Ducks to a national championship, he would’ve earned over $1.5 million in bonuses.

One potential bonus remains for Cristobal:

- $100,000 for an academic progress rate grade of 985 or greater (measures how well a program has done at advancing its athletes toward graduation).

Oregon will play Michigan State (7-5) at 12 p.m. on Dec. 31 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

Oregon Ducks at the Redbox Bowl: If you don't play, you don't go

Oregon Ducks at the Redbox Bowl: If you don't play, you don't go

There is a first time for everything! Oregon will make its first ever appearance in the Bay Area for a bowl game. The Ducks (8-4) will play Michigan State (7-5) in the Redbox Bowl on Dec. 31 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

I have good news and an interesting program modification regarding Oregon in the bowl game.

Let’s start with the good news, Oregon coach Mario Cristobal expects everyone to play. At the end of conference play, the list of wounded Ducks was long, but Cristobal’s injury update on Sunday was very positive.

  • Junior quarterback Justin Herbert, who left the Civil War early with a deep shoulder bruise, is healthy and ready to play vs. Michigan State.
  • Senior defensive lineman Jalen Jelks, who did not play in Oregon’s final conference game, is also expected to play in the Redbox Bowl.
  • Freshman offensive tackle Penei Sewell, who missed the last six games of the regular season with an ankle injury, will return for his first bowl game.
  • Senior linebacker Kaulana Apelu, who missed the final three games due to injury, hopes to resume practicing once the Ducks are in California the week of the bowl, in hopes of participating in the game.
  • Senior running back Tony Brooks-James, who left the Civil War with a strained knee, is in a similar situation as Apelu and it’s possible he returns for one more game as a Duck.
  • Offensive lineman Steven Jones, linebacker Isaac Slade-Matautia and freshman linebacker Andrew Johnson are all expected to play.

Two Ducks are questionable vs. Michigan State; Tight end Kano Dillon and cornerback Haki Woods.

The interesting program change? If any Ducks choose to sit out the Redbox Bowl, Cristobal says those players will not travel to the Bay Area. Last season, running back Royce Freeman decided to forgo the Vegas Bowl with a looming NFL Draft ahead, and was on the Oregon sidelines in Las Vegas.

“It’ll be real simple going forward,” Cristobal said. “Simple decision: either you’re playing in the game or not playing in the game. Those that are playing in the game will go to it and those that won’t, won’t.”

As of Sunday, no players have informed Cristobal that they elect to miss the game.

Oregon has requested scouting reports from the NFL advisory committee for a number of draft eligible juniors including; Herbert, wide receiver Dillon Mitchell and linebacker Troy Dye. Oregon coaches plan on helping draft-eligible prospects make an informed decision once those scouting reports are received.

Oregon will begin official bowl practices on Friday, Dec. 14. Until then, the team will be lifting, conditioning and continuing team workouts.

How and why Oregon could be headed to the Holiday Bowl

How and why Oregon could be headed to the Holiday Bowl

The Oregon Ducks finished Pac-12 Conference play with a win over Oregon State and their list of potential bowl games has narrowed and improved. 

It might be a little early to book your travel (hello, holiday airline deals!) but it is very possible Oregon will play in the Holiday Bowl on New Years Eve. Bowl selection can get convoluted, so here is a quick breakdown.

No Roses for Ducks: Oregon’s chances to play in the Rose Bowl have wilted away because the conference champion will play in Pasadena. But the other six bowls with Pac-12 ties are still in play.

Ducks in Pac-12 Standings: Oregon (8-4, 5-4) is fourth in the North Division behind Washington State, Washington and Stanford; and tied at fifth in the conference. The Ducks could move up if Cal beats Stanford, creating a three-way tie in which Oregon wins the head-to-head.

Remaining deciding factors:

  • If Washington State gets selected as an at large bid to a New Year’s Six game, probably the Fiesta bowl. If that happens, the Ducks would have one less team ahead of them.
  • How other bowls select Pac-12 teams

How does that selection work? In the Pac-12 conference, a bowl is allowed to select any team in standings order within one loss of the next ranking. Oregon has four losses, along with Arizona and Cal (Stanford game pending).

When will we know? December 2 is when Bowl games, starting with the College Football Playoff and New Year's Six, will be announced.

Which bowl games could Oregon go to? Here are the games, in order:

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

  • Technically possible for Oregon but the loser of the Pac-12 title game is probably headed to San Antonio.

Holiday Bowl vs. Big Ten; Dec. 31, 2018, San Diego, Calif.

  • Possible, if Washington State receives an at-large bid to a New Year's Six game, Pac-12 title game winner goes to Rose Bowl, and loser to Alamo Bowl.
  • Holiday Bowl picks between Stanford, Oregon, Cal, ASU.
  • Could pick Ducks because of a fan base that travels well.
  • Oregon hasn’t been to Holiday Bowl since 2008.

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

  • Possible, if Washington State receives an at-large bid to a New Year's Six game, Pac-12 title game winner goes to Rose Bowl, and loser to Alamo Bowl.
  • Also, possible if Washington State DOES NOT go to New Year’s Six game and Cougars go to the Alamo Bowl, Pac-12 winner to Rose Bowl and Pac-12 loser to Holiday Bowl.
  • Redbox Bowl picks between Stanford, Oregon, Cal, ASU.
  • Could lean towards Stanford due to proximity.

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

  • Possible. If Washington State DOES NOT go to New Year’s Six game and Cougars go to the Alamo Bowl, Pac-12 winner to Rose Bowl and Pac-12 loser to Holiday Bowl, and Redbox Bowl does not select Oregon.

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

  • Possible. If Washington State DOES NOT go to New Year’s Six game and Cougars go to the Alamo Bowl, Pac-12 winner to Rose Bowl and Pac-12 loser to Holiday Bowl, and Redbox Bowl or Sun Bowl do not select Oregon.

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

  • Possible. If Washington State DOES NOT go to New Year’s Six game and Cougars go to the Alamo Bowl, Pac-12 winner to Rose Bowl and Pac-12 loser to Holiday Bowl, and Redbox Bowl, Sun Bowl and Las Vegas Bowl do not select Oregon.

What is being projected for Oregon around the nation?

SB Nation predicts Holiday Bowl vs. Northwestern

Sports Illustrated predicts Holiday Bowl vs. Iowa

Bleacher Report predicts Holiday Bowl vs. Wisconsin

ESPN predicts Redbox Bowl vs. Minnesota

 

Stay tuned for possible opponents in a later post.

Two games left, what are Oregon's possible bowl game destinations?

Two games left, what are Oregon's possible bowl game destinations?

The Oregon Ducks became bowl eligible last Saturday after earning their sixth win of the season against UCLA. After losing at Utah, the Ducks have two games left and their list of potential bowl games is narrowing. 

Oregon’s Pac-12 conference title hopes, and thus its Rose Bowl chances have wilted away. However, the conference has tie ins to plenty of other great bowl games. 

In the Pac-12 rankings, Oregon sits tied for fourth in the North Division with Cal, behind No. 8 Washington State, No. 18 Washington and Stanford. Seven Pac-12 teams are currently bowl eligible; Washington State (9-1, 5-1 Pac-12), Washington (7-3, 5-2), Stanford (6-4, 4-3), Cal (6-4, 3-4), Utah (7-3, 5-3), Arizona State (6-4,4-3) and Oregon (6-4, 3-4). 

It might be a little early to book your travel (especially considering the madness of the conference) but my prediction is that Oregon will end up as the conference’s No. 6 option and be in the Las Vegas Bowl on December 15th. 

The Ducks' remaining games are 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 has the Ducks in the Redbox Bowl and ESPN says the Ducks are headed to the Cheeze-It Bowl

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

Impossible. Oregon's loss at Utah means the Ducks cannot finish second in the conference.

Holiday Bowl vs. Big Ten; Dec. 31, 2018, San Diego, Calif.

Highly unlikely. Here’s how it could happen:

  • Washington loses both its remaining games to Oregon State and Washington State. 
  • Whoever finishes second in the south division has five or more losses
  • Oregon wins its final two games

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

Possible. Here’s how it could happen:

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

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

Possible. Here’s how it could happen:

  • Oregon wins its final two 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 two 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 two 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 two remaining games.

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.