Category Archives: Pac-12 and WAC

Institutional Focus on Spending Align with the Rise of Oregon Football

Contrary to popular belief, team pride and loyalty does have a price. 

In the past decade, Oregon has continued to secured some of the nation’s top recruits and coaching staff. Not because the Oregon Ducks are known as a historically significant program and have a legacy of die-hard fans. In fact, most football based arguments from Oregon fans usually start around the year 1994. 

The football program has risen to prominence because Oregon’s institutional monetary focus on its football program is nearly unmatched in its division.

The Oregon Ducks record is currently at 8-1. The program is coming off four straight BCS appearances, including wins in the latter two, and fans have had the pleasure of watching players like LaMichael James, De’Anthony Thomas and Heisman contender and quarterback Marcus Mariota.

However, before the turn of the century, the Ducks were less than stellar. The team garnered a string of awful seasons throughout the ’70s and ’80s.

Many players, games, coaches, fans and boosters have played a prominent role in Oregon’s recent rise to the top, and it’s all in response to the increased institutional funding of the program and resources.

Since 2005, Oregon has seen a 175 percent increase in football spending per football player while the Pacific-12 Conference has seen only a 43 percent increase in football spending per football player. The percentages account for all total football operating expenses including the cost of scholarships per football player and includes scholarship and non-scholarship player costs. The advantage of high spending and incentives for players has enabled the Ducks to attract top recruits.

Oregon has secured some of the best coaches in the Pac-12. Not because of a outstanding football legacy but because of outstanding salary offers. The total compensation reported for all Oregon football coaches, including salaries, benefits and bonuses paid by the university, and contractually-guaranteed amounts paid by third parties, calculated on a per football player (scholarship and non-scholarship) basis has increased 348 percent more than the conference’s overall percentage. Oregon’s replacement of Rich Brooks with Mike Bellotti and bringing Chip Kelly to serve as offensive coordinator in 2007 undoubtedly were key to the success of the football program.



2 Good Profiles on Pac-12 Beat

The first profile I found is titled The Rise and Fall of Lane Kiffin. The article effectively employs a lede that sets the scene to the unexpected hiring of Lane Kiffin to USC. Even though we cannot use first person, I feel that the author effectively uses “I” in telling the story of Kiffin’s rise and fall. Using “I” plays to the emotions of his audience. By using “I”, readers felt like the author expressed their own personal opinions as USC fans that were also fed up with Kiffin’s lackluster play calling and leadership.

Another profile I thought was very good was titled Foam FInger: Goodbye, Lane Kiffin. I enjoyed the article and I liked the comedic approach the author used. He presented the same information as other articles on the same topic but his article had undeniable voice and tone. He structured the story well by providing a backstory and chronology.  It was informative for people that are unfamiliar with Kiffin’s coaching history yet entertaining enough for people that are. familiar with his coaching history

Oregon: The Nation’s Best Team

The No. 2 Oregon Ducks looked human this past Saturday against the Washington State Cougars with 3 first half fumbles and allowing 38 points. Meanwhile, Oregon rushed for 383 yards and scored 62 points in a key Pac-12 win. Oregon (7-0, 4-0) continues to run their gauntlet of a schedule with No. 12 UCLA coming to Eugene this Saturday.

Oregon premiered at No. 3 in the initial BCS rankings behind No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Florida State, while Oregon holds the No. 2 position in both the Coaches’ and AP Poll.

“That’s their opinions, we have no control over that,” Mariota said. “We’ll just continue to take it one game at a time.”

Surely, the Ducks will have their chance to improve their position in the BCS Standings with four nationally televised games (No. 12 UCLA, No. 6 Stanford, No. 25 Oregon State, and the PAC-12 Championship Game).

No team understands style points like the Ducks. This year, the Ducks continue to set a record pace offensively. Oregon is second in the nation in points per game (57.6) and second in rushing yards per game (332.4). Even more impressive, the Oregon defense has drastically improved only allowing 17.3 points per game which is 12th best in the nation.

Voters and NFL scouts will keep a good eye on this week’s match-up versus No. 12 UCLA (5-1, 2-1). This game features two Heisman trophy candidates and potential first-round picks in the Ducks’ Marcus Mariota and the Bruins’ Brett Hundley. UCLA is looking to rebound after last week’s heart-breaking loss to conference foe Stanford.

The Ducks will take on the upset-minded Bruins at 7pm EST on ESPN in Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon.



Oregon wins, Aliotti fined

Though the Oregon Ducks (7-0) remain undefeated after their 62-38 victory over the Washington State Cougars (4-4) on Saturday, the game was not a personal victory for University of Oregon Defensive Coordinator Nick Aliotti.

The PAC-12 Conference reprimanded and fined Aliotti $5,000 for his post-game public comments critizing both the conduct of Washington State and the leagues officiating. The PAC-12 Conference felt the comments were a violation of policy. 

Aliotti challenged Washington State coach Mike Leach’s decision to leave Cougars’ starters in the game late and throwing for two late touchdowns. Aliotti used profanity and ranted about questionable officating and labeled Washington State’s tactics as “low class”.

“The Pac-12 has specific rules that prohibit our coaches from making public comments about officiating, and this prohibition specifically includes comments that create doubts about the credibility of the Conference’s officiating program,” PAC-12 Commisioner Larry Scott said in a statement Monday night. “His comments also showed a lack of support for the Pac-12’s policies on Sportsmanship and Standards of Conduct, which call for our coaches to treat opponents with respect.”

Aliotti publicly apologized to Mike Leach, Oregon, Washington State, and the fans of both teams for his commentary. Aliotti feels that his true self was not portrayed Saturday.

“The bottom line is, I’m sorry. I’m embarrassed that I got caught up in the moment after the game. There’s no excuse, but sometimes right after the game the adrenaline is still flowing and I made a huge, human error in judgment,” said Aliotti. “I wish I could take it back, and I promise it won’t happen again.”

Don’t Count out Oregon State

After a 49-46 loss to FCS opponent Eastern Washington week one, Oregon State’s season was thought to be over. It isn’t.

Ranked 25th in the AP preseason poll, the 2013 season looked bright for the Beavers. The preseason forecast turned out to be more accurate than the opening game indicated; the Beavers are the best passing offense in the nation by yards and touchdowns and rank ninth in the country in scoring offense at just over 44 points per game. However, the loss doomed Oregon State to a fate worse than irrelevance: a season as an afterthought.

Oregon State, now 6-1 and allowing just 23 points per game since its sole loss, is competing at such a high level for two reasons: the play of quarterback Sean Mannion and the relative ease of its schedule. Both of those successes will be tested this Saturday.

Oregon State has only played one team with a winning record over its six game win-streak, but Saturday eighth-ranked Stanford visits Corvallis, the first of five current or formerly ranked teams Oregon State will play to end its season. Luckily for the Beavers, Stanford is a below average team against the pass, allowing 247 yards per game through the air.

That total is just 30 yards greater than Mannion’s average performance for a half.

Playing well enough to prompt fans to create “Sean Mannion for Heisman” websites, Mannion has performed undeniably well in 2013, leading the country in passing yards and touchdowns and placing second in completions. This has eliminated any uncertainty about Mannion’s victory in the summer’s quarterback controversy between Mannion and Cody Vaz.

Obviously having made the correct decision, Oregon State now faces Stanford in a classic trap game for the Cardinal. One week after playing then-unbeaten UCLA and one game before facing unbeaten Oregon, Stanford sandwiches in an Oregon State team still considered to be in the purgatory of afterthought status.

Already having sneaked back into the BCS top-25, a win against Stanford likely will propel Oregon State back into the realm of relevancy. A loss doesn’t necessarily doom the Beavers either, with ample opportunities to beat talented teams throughout the rest of the season.

Win or loss, one thing is for sure for Oregon State – its season is not over.

UCLA looking to continue series

With a pounded 24-10 lost by now ranked No. 9 Stanford, UCLA will be preparing for their game against Oregon (No.2). Well, they are both very good football teams,” Mora said. “They are very different in the ways they play the game. It is two very hostile environments to go in to play.”

UCLA leads the series against Oregon (39-26), but the last meeting was won by Oregon in the inaugural Pac-12 championship game in 2011.

“We have another big opportunity,” said UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley.

UCLA’s defense has held the first six opponents to less than 30 points the first time since the season of 2001. UCLA’s defense will focus on Oregon’s offense, which is ranked second in the nation in both total offense and scoring. The Ducks sophomore QB Marcus Mariota has gone 265 attempts without an interception, extending his Pac-12 record. Oregon’s sophomore RB Byron Marshall will be another key player for Oregon. Marshall achieved a fifth 100-yard rushing game; he rushed a career-high 192 in rushing yards against Washington State.

UCLA has a problem this season with in jury concerns running deep. As the Bruins two key players for this week, linebacker Eric Kendricks and offensive tackle Simon Giones, may not be playing in the game against Oregon. Kendricks, the lead tackler, went to a hospital to get tests on his kidney. He suffered a bruise during the Stanford game, but was unsure if it was a bruise to the kidney or “the surrounding tissue.”

Goines, who protects Hundley’s blind side, reinjured his right knee, and his backup Conor McDermott suffered separated shoulder. Insult to injury, the Bruins lost starting tackle Torian White for the season after he tore a ligament and broke a bone in his right leg Oct.3 against Utah.

Oregon expects to get De’Anthony Thomas back from his right ankle injury after missing the last three games.

“In order to be a championship team, sometimes you’re going to get knocked down,” said Hundley. “It’s really about what you do when you get knocked down.”

The Bruins will appear on the field on Saturday. They will travel to Eugene, Oregon, to face Oregon at 4pm, and will be televised on ESPN.

Second Day Story Exercise

One second day story from the Pac-12 I particularly enjoyed this weekend was this column from Tim Kawakami about the impact of the catch made by Kodi Whitfield in Stanford’s victory over UCLA. This column was a great example of a second day story. Rather than lead with the implications the victory for Stanford had in returning to the Rose Bowl, Kawakami showcased the fantastic catch made by Whitfield, how important it was for his confidence and how his father reacted before slowly including the bigger picture. I appreciate the stance Kawakami took in this story, as the focus wasn’t so much on the catch itself, but the circumstances and the aftermath. It would have been an easy trap to fixate on the occurrence, but Kawakami explained the bigger picture, which I thought was a nice touch. Finally, the way that the column ended, both hinting at the family dynamic that Kodi and Bob Whitfield have and the future use of the underutilized Whitfield, reminded me that college football is still played by kids, which seemed to be the overarching theme of the article – it was a great moment for a young kid that he will remember his whole life.