Monday, January 30, 2012


Have heard from some frustrated Duck hoop fans over yesterday's loss in the Civil War. Please stop saying they "should" have won the game. How you figure? 23 turnovers is a recipe for losing. From a Jeremy Jacob bucket with 17 1/2 minutes left in the game until Carlos Emory scored with 5:16 left no Duck aside from Joseph made a basket. That's terrible and another recipe for defeat. They got caught in a 17-1 Beaver run. Tough to overcome that! Don't get me wrong, this was far from a masterful performance by OSU who committed a couple of really stupid fouls late in the game to stop the clock and put the Ducks on the line. Bottom line, both appear to be pretty mediocre teams benefitting from competing in a weak conference.
Some things in sports are just painful to watch. I recall the 93 Wimbledon final between Jana Novatna and Steffi Graff. Jana was up 5-1 in the 3rd and decisive set. She double faulted, went to pieces and failed to win another game. She would collapse into the arms of the Duchess of Kent after the match. Then you have the Jean Van de Velde tank job at the 99 British Open. Needed a double bogey on 18 for the title. Cranked out a triple then lost in the playoff to Paul Lawrie. On a much lesser scale yesterday, we had Kyle Stanley leading by 3 with a 77 yard wedge into the par 5 18th hole. Knock it on, even 3 putt and the Farmers Insurance Open is his. Splashed into the water, dropped, approached and 3 putted. Tied! Oh the horror! Lost to Brandt Snedeker. Still searching for that 1st PGA Tour win. It hurt to watch. On today's show we'll explain the value of a victory on golf's premier circuit.
All week long we talk Super Bowl, and on Wed & Thur we hit you with special football recruiting programming. We'll have some great guests.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Rematch, by Casey Mitchell

This is Casey Mitchell guest blogging for ST today. After two great Conference Championship games, the big game is set between the Patriots and the Giants. This match up could be completely flipped around if it weren't for a couple of goats from the Ravens and the Niners. It could be Baltimore and San Francisco in the Super Bowl if it wasn't for the right leg of Billy Cundiff and two critical fumbles by Kyle Williams. Trust me, I wasn't to happy with Kyle Williams at the time, but time moves on and people need to realize that they are part of a team. Eli manning is the true definition of tough. Mud in the face, Justin Smith right in his grill, and he still finds a way to extend the play and still deliver the ball right on the money when it's all on the line. With the win over the Niners, Manning won his sixth road playoff game, which is a new record. This game will not lack anything when it comes down to the quarterbacks. While Eli Manning has been getting a lot of the accolades lately, Tom Brady has just booked his ticket to his fifth Super Bowl. Brady didn't have his best game last week against the Ravens, going 22 for 36 and throwing two picks, but he did enough to get lead his team to Indianapolis. It was sure a great game four years ago when New York upset the Pats to kill their perfect season. The revenge factor is certainly there for New England and it will be quite the interesting game next week in the rematch for the ages.
Well the Ducks dodged a bullet with Chip staying in Eugene instead of heading to Tampa last week. While we have him now, I don't see him coaching the college game for too much longer. Who can blame him? He has done a great job with the Oregon program, leading us to three BCS games in three years. He said he had some unfinished business to take care of, and hopefully he takes care of that and sticks with us. But if we win a Natty in the next few years with Chip as our coach and he decides to leave, it's his choice and he will always remembered as a great coach for the Ducks.

Monday, January 23, 2012


I guess I just need to hit the hay earlier. Prior to turning in I figured today was all about who replaces Chip Kelly. Now? Not so much! Still, I'm thinking this conversation is more postponed than cancelled, just not for 2012. The most ridiculous aspect of the entire roller coaster ride is how personally people take it. Like Kelly owes them. For what? His half decade haven't provided substantial dividends? He should put some knucklehead radio host, newspaper guy or fan in section 12 ahead of his own dreams and aspirations? Please!
I was semi-surprised at my personal reaction to the death of Joe Paterno. It was pretty cold. I guess at age 51 I've come to realize the best people leave their impact when it's least convenient. Paterno had become king and felt it more important to protect the castle over the most innocent among us. I do not excuse that and if that rubs some the wrong way, I don't care!
How about them Giants! This edition of the Gmen best describes what the NFL is and how it differs from the college game. The NFL is actually much more like NCAA hoops. Survive and move on. Qualify for the post season tournament, heal up and make your move. Like UConn last March. Looked like they were dead in the water in the Big East Tournament. Rallied and never looked back. The Giants looked ticketed for tee times when they lost at home to Washington to fall to 7 & 7 with 2 games left. Now they're playing for a 2nd Super Bowl title the last 4 years.
From the AFC file, Bill Belichick is taking New England to Super Sunday for a 5th time. He also won it twice as defensive coordinator of the Giants in 86 and 90! That's 7 in 25 years. Pretty dominating figure in pro football!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Championship Weekend, by Casey Mitchell

This is Casey Mitchell guest blogging for ST today. It's not quite the match ups that everyone expected coming into the Playoffs, but the Conference Championship games are all set for this Sunday. It kicks off with the Ravens flying into Foxborough to face the Pats. Ed Reed injured himself late in the game on Sunday, but it seems that he will be just fine come game time. New England may be the best team left out of the remaining four teams. They are certainly the favorites but that doesn't mean that the Ravens can't pull it off. They may be old but they can still play football and they can play it well. Baltimore has the 3rd best defense in the NFL and an underrated offense. Joe Flacco will keep the Ravens in the game, and Ray Rice always has the big play threat if you are an opposing defense. Flacco didn't have his best game last week vs. the Texans, getting sacked five times and having gone 3-and-outs eight times. It wasn't a sexy performence, but he did enough to get the win and that's all that really counts when it's all said and done. On the other side of the spectrum, Tom Brady is having no problems finding his groove this postseason. Last week Brady threw for a postseason record, six touchdown passes. Brady went 26 for 34 with 363 yards in a 45-10 thrashing of Tim Tebow and the Broncos. This isn't Brady's first time around the block in big games, looking for his fourth ring in ten years, so that will be his advantage for the remaining postseason. It won't be a picnic for either team but I see New England booking their ticket to Indianapolis. Prediction -- Patriots 34 Ravens 21
As far as the NFC goes, the two hottest teams left are squaring off at Candlestick Park for a chance to go to the Super Bowl. There were a large portion of people who thought these two teams would be watching from their couch, but both these teams have proven that they will never give in. Last week, the Niners seemed as if they were dead in the water, but now everyone knows never to doubt Alex Smith ever again. Alex Smith? Yes, Alex Smith! Smith threw for nearly 300 yards against the Saints. 180 of which went to tight end Vernon Davis, who has gone threw many ups and downs in his career all the way from the "WE WANT WINNERS" rant to The Catch III. Don't get me wrong, Eli Manning is having a terrific season, all but capped off with a huge upset over the Packers at Lambeau Field. This will be a tight game filled with defense and it will most certainly come down to the wire. Prediction -- 49ers 17 Giants 14


Just read the piece about why Penn State fired Joe Paterno. The board of trustees determined his lack of action upon hearing about children being raped justified his termination. He didn't do anything except wait a full day then make some kind of half assed communication to a higher up. Then as the scope & horror of the scandal exploded he greeted fans on his front lawn to lead them in school cheers. I'm also disturbed by the support he continues to receive. This whole logic of trying to incorporate what his reputation "was" holds no water. I've mentioned this before but regardless of past accomplishments or perceptions, when you shield a child rapist they're rendered completely meaningless and you are a clueless dirt bag.
This is the most important regular season game the Oregon men hoopers have played since beating Arizona at The Pit to end 2008. That hit the 18 win mark and put them at .500 in the Pac 10 so despite losing to Washington State in round one of the Conference tournament they got an invite to the Big Dance. They must win this game. USC is reeling. They have an out of league loss to Cal Poly where they managed just 36 points. In a defeat versus New Mexico the Trojans totalled a measly 41 at home. They're searching for that 1st Pac 12 victory. If the Ducks are to hit some of those aspirations this season, a slip up at this juncture is not acceptable. It's hard to be sold on exactly what this 2nd edition of Dana Alman's Oregon is, but I'll be curious to see their development as I'm a believer coach can take them some terrific places.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Today Muhammad Ali turns 70 years old. I'm sure that's hitting some folks like a ton of bricks. I don't recall the early part of his career as I was not even 5 years old when he won the title from Sonny Liston. By the time I was of age to be a fan he'd been stripped of his title. I do remember his 1st bout upon having his license restored. It was against Jerry Quarry in the summer of 1970 which he won easily. Later that year he stopped a guy named Oscar Bonevena. During his absence, Joe Frazier won the vacated title dropping Jimmy Ellis. The stage was set for the 1st "Fight of the Century" of my life. It would take place at Madison Square Garden on March 8th, 1971 between Smokin Joe & Ali. There was a media blitz that for it's time was unprecedented. TV ads with a split screen showing Frazier calling Ali "Clay". At Preakness Elementary School in Wayne, New Jersey sides were taken with me leading the Ali patrol and Ronny Pia taking charge for Joe's fans. We bet the money we had for allowance, cutting lawns, paper routes or perhaps it was ticketed for lunch. The funny thing was none of us was going to watch the fight. It wasn't like we could dial it up on demand! The next day I was devastated. My dad went to the Garden with a buddy of his. I listened to WINS 1010 AM which provided updates, not a blow by blow and it became apparent early that if Ali didn't kayo Frazier he'd lose. I recall my dad returning home with a program but I was a sad little guy. On today's show we'll share some memories of The Champ and perhaps that fight, the 2 others against Joe or of course the "Rumble in the Jungle" stunning win against George Foreman.

Monday, January 16, 2012


Sorry! I'm not buying. Folks can talk till their blue in the face. Bring on all the stats or won/loss record. The decision by Darron Thomas and his friends or advisors is ridiculous. If he's sick of school, so be it. I guess first I should point out what a staunch supporter I've been of D.T from my preseason article on his potential to make New York as a Heisman Finalist. Then I took on some of you over the crackpot theory Bryan Bennett should be in there instead. I don't see Thomas as an NFL quarterback. Never did. Until he's out there in a regular season game taking snaps, I never will. You thought Tim Tebow didn't fit the mold because of his throwing motion and inaccuracy? At least he's physically capable at 240 lbs to bang with the big, bad, pro defenders. Look at all the successful NFL quarterbacks and let me know if D.T fits. He also lacks that classic throwing motion or ability to carve up a defense from the pocket. I love his leadership, heart and playmaking ability....IN THE COLLEGE GAME! He's one of my all time favorite Duck players. I can't imagine a general manager or personnel man spending a valuable draft pick on Darron. With the troubled season turned in by Colt McCoy we're still looking for our 1st spread option style QB to have legit success in the pro game. I almost fell out of my chair when Thomas mentioned Cam Newton. Really? A guy with linebacker size and a rocket for an arm is his barometer? Sorry, DT is not in Cam's league physically. Don't like this move at all.
I did, however, love the weekend in the NFL. If you listened to the shows Friday I provided a rarity with me. 100%. Hit every game, including the over in the New England blowout. The Texans covered the spread but should have won the game as they outplayed Baltimore. The Giants victory at Lambeau was kind of odd. The bounces and breaks went New York's way but the officiating crew seemed to favor the Pack. There was a phantom holding call to start a Giant drive, a terrible non-reversal on a blatant Green Bay fumble, a made up blow to the head call that bailed out Aaron Rodgers and some blind eye non holding calls on the Packers O'line. The Gmen are the most balanced team left of the Final 4 top to bottom. I like their chances.

Friday, January 13, 2012

PLAYOFFS?, by Casey Mitchell

This is Casey Mitchell guest blogging for ST today. Divisional Playoff games start tomorrow with the Saints and the 49ers at Candlestick Park. In Jim Harbaugh's first year as the San Francisco head coach, he has led the 49ers to their first playoff appearance in nine years. The Saints have never won a road playoff game, and San Francisco's weather is a far cry from the Super-dome. This season, New Orleans was 5-3 on the road and the Niners were 7-1 at home. The Saints aren't particularly stout in the rushing department and it won't be any easier facing the 49ers #1 rush defense in the league. As far as the quarterback match up goes, it's obvious that Drew Brees is the better quarterback of the two, but Alex Smith is a good game manager and will be able to keep it close throughout the game. If the Niners want to make it to the NFC Championship Game, they need to get Vernon Davis involved. Davis was a huge part of their offense for the majority of the season, but as of late, he hasn't been much of a factor.
Moving on to the AFC, the Broncos take on the Patriots for the second time this season in New England. Last week Tim Tebow pulled off a big upset over the Steelers at home, and Tebow looked like he was playing his best ball in a while. In order to beat the broncos again, the Pats are going to need to keep Tebow in the pocket, and restrict him from extending plays. New England will have former Duck Patrick Chung back from an injury, so that will be a boost to the defense. If the Broncos want to keep their fairy tail season going, they need to get the big plays like they got last week vs. Pittsburgh. Denver receiver Eric Decker is not expected to play after suffering a sprained knee, so Demaryius Thomas will need to step it up like he did last week. Once again, no one is expecting the Broncos to win, but that's when Tim Tebow thrives.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


We've heard this annoying battle cry from State College, PA in the form of "We Are Penn State"! Sorry folks, that's no longer a source of pride but a disgrace or a punchline at best. Now we're hearing alleged child rapist Jerry Sandusky was sitting in the University President's private box for the Illinois game this season, a week before he was formally indicted. I remain amazed at the number of Nittany alum who are still in Joe Paterno's corner. If what Sandusky stands accused of is true, I feel Paterno should be on that list of slime balls who should face criminal charges. Last night(wed), PSU president Rodney Erickson got semi-raked over the coals during an alumni gathering in Pittsburgh. He tap danced around certain issues like how many defendants Penn State is paying legal fees for. Apparently the loudest applause came from the suggestion the entire PSU board of trustees steps down. Turns out disgraced ex-president Graham Spanier informed members of the board about the grand jury investigation into Sandusky months before he was charged in November. It's unfathomable he was allowed on campus and in particular to be a guest in that aforementioned president's private box for a football game.
On a lighter note, Manny "Another Juicer" Ramirez says if a team gives him another shot to play in the majors, he'll be a role model. I'll give you the necessary time to pick yourself up off the floor from hysterical laughter. Claims he wants to send a message that if you make a mistake, don't quit. Hmm! Bit to late for that Manny! Upon being informed he'd flunked another drug test he literally fled the country for Spain rather than face the 100 game suspension or even address the issue like a man. Any team that rolls the dice on this idiot deserves the snake eyes that will surely come up.
Big series in the desert for the Duck men. Arizona State is in a bit of turmoil and if Oregon is to make forward progress, they need to win games like this, even on the road. Catch ya later!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Latest ESPN poll has Tim Tebow first as fans favorite active pro athlete. About 15-hundred interviewed from a national sample. He got 3% of the vote. Kobe received two. The top five was rounded out by Aaron Rodgers, Peyton and Tom Brady who received support between 1.5 and 1.9 percent. This was not quite a Nixon versus McGovern 1972 presidential landslide. I think it's more interesting than telling. If you surveyed 1500 different folks and asked them which active professional jock they hated most, I wonder if Tebow makes the list? I'd hope not, but I don't trust the judgement of people because they might possibly watch "Jersey Shore". Right now if a guy with a clip board walked up to you outside a restaurant, stadium or in a mall and hit you with "top 3 pro athletes right now", what would your answer be? Same circumstance, "least favorite trio of pro athletes right now"? We'll chat this up on Crunchtime & SportsTalk this afternoon.
Nice win for the Blazers at home last night avenging one of their two defeats this season. On day one of 2012 they came up light in a comeback attempt against the Clippers in LA. The Clips attempt at a rally fell a tad short in Portland. Make a note of something that could prove key. Free throw shooting. Just the season before last the Blazers were in the bottom third, but for the 2nd consecutive year they're sky high, 2nd best in the Association. When you have a go to guy who teams would prefer to foul, typically a big guy, it can be an achillies heel, particularly in the playoffs. If they go inside to Aldridge, he knocks out 79%. Of their crunch time performers Gerald Wallace is okay at 75% but that's very strong for 5th. Felton is 77%, Mathews drops them at a 90% clip with Crawford longtime money from the stripe at 85%. Just another aspect where they can hurt you. Camby had extended minutes last night. On the floor for 35, most since the 29 logged in the opener versus Philly. Nobody played better than my man Wes Matthews. His +/- of plus 16 blew everyone away, only Gerald Wallace at +11 was close. Orlando is in tonight. ESPN has the double header with Mavs/Boston Whiners then Heat/Clips but you can sneak the Portland game on in low def on KEVU.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Any time a sports season approaches someone writes about or does a segment along the lines of "10 key questions". The bottom line is the search for one. Who is the best team? In many cases it coincided with who wins the championship. I think that applies to college football for the 2011 campaign. Alabama without question is the BCS champ. From my chair I think all doubt has been removed as to who the top team is as well. I dismiss all the Oklahoma State supporters as they lost to a 6 & 7 team. If they were so special we're not having this conversation. Oregon fans have no say as well with the loss to USC. The performance of the Tide defense last night goes in the books as one of the most clutch, memorable and dominating in sports championship history.
If I live to be a million I'll never understand why Les Miles didn't pull Jordan Jefferson for Jarrett Lee at quarterback. What did they have to lose. By halftime it was apparent JJ had no answer and no chance to put points on the board against that Bama "D". At least with Lee you can try bombs away. Even if he threw one of his patented pick 6 disasters, what's the difference? The Tide defense is unique as they have the speed to chase sideline to sideline, much like LSU, but the main difference is they eat you alive inside as well. Don't forget they were the top ranked defense in the country by a fairly wide spread. They allowed just 191 yards a game. LSU was 2nd at 252. That's more than a 25% difference. No contest. One of the best ever. Well done. 2nd Natty in the last 3 years.

Monday, January 9, 2012


For all those losing their minds in the wake of the Denver victory over Pittsburgh yesterday you do realize the "BRONCOS" beat the Steelers, not just Tim Tebow right?? Don't get me wrong, my admiration for this guy grows with each accomplishment but Timmy isn't a one man show. I'm not a Steeler fan but any amateur analyst knows that Pitt "D" is far from 100% and the unit that won the AFC last year. Their best corner Ryan Clark was out, linebacker Lamar Woodley is operating at about 50% and they lost their 2 top lineman Casey Hampton and Brett Keisel. On offense obviously Big Ben is limited by that ankle ding, their top rusher was out with a torn ACL and Hines Ward is so banged up he's retiring. Throw in at least 3 dropped passes and the formula for the upset presented itself. Oh, their starting center Maurkice Pouncey was also out. All that said, it still took some brilliant execution, pinpoint throws by Tebow and a defense that got after the pocket. This was a tremendous, well deserved victory but please make an intelligent overall evaluation before you offer any over the top opinion.
I'll send out a cautionary thought to Packer fans thinking they're gonna run roughshod over the Giants. Don't ignore history. We just saw these 2 play a dynomite down to the wire masterpiece 5 weeks ago. New York's defense is healthier and better than they were back then and I know the game was at the Gmen's house. I don't trust the NY secondary all that much but not many have a Front 4 more capable of doing damage to the QB in the pocket especially with the return of Osi Uminyiora who was not on the field that day. He managed 9 sacks this year despite missing 7 complete games and parts of 3 others. I think it's the deepest defensive line in the NFL. Offensively they can do damage as witnessed that day in North Jersey.
Looking forward to the Natty tonight. I don't care what anyone says, the 2 best teams are vying for the BCS title. Remember, the goal of this organization is to present us the 2 top teams, not conference winners or jazzy styles. Far from perfect and ridiculous in the system NOT having a playoff, it's been far better since it's birth in 1998 than previously. Remember, from 1997 back the 2010 Ducks would have had to have defeated Wisconsin and hope Auburn lost the Sugar Bowl to win it a year ago. No one and nothing has convinced me Alabama isn't the 2nd best team in America.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Pasadena Sunshine, by Casey Mitchell

This is Casey Mitchell guest blogging for ST today. For the first time since 1917, the Ducks are bringing the roses to Eugene. In case you missed the award ceremony, Lavasier Tuinei came out with offensive MVP honors, and linebacker Kiko Alonso scrapped his way back from Chip Kelly's doghouse to win defensive MVP. It's people like Kiko that you really seem to root for. He ended up with five tackles, 1 and a half sacks, and of course, the clutch interception late in the third quarter that set up an Oregon scoring drive. Alonso has come a long way since his second DUI last May. Being a Junior, we will get him back for one more season. Speaking of star players coming back, De'anthony Thomas will be returning for potentially three more reasons. Thomas racked up over 300 all purpose yards at the Rose Bowl while averaging 77.5 yards a carry. In what could have been his final game in a Duck uniform, LaMichael James went out with a bang with 159 yards on the ground, but most of all, he brought a Rose Bowl back to his city.

According to sources, Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O' Brian has been hired as Penn State's new head football coach. O' Brian coached 12 years in the ACC as an assistant and was hired by the Pats in 2007. He went to Brown University and that was actually Joe Paterno's Alma mater. It won't be an easy task to take over the situation over there at Penn St. We'll see how it all pans out.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


How about the Trailblazers taking out Oklahoma City at their place? This team has been fantastic in the 2nd half during the early part of this season. They regularly put up more than 50 points over the final 24 minutes and seem to clamp down defensively. Outscored the Thunder 52-40 during that stretch last night. I really like what we're seeing from Gerald Wallace. It appears he's now settled as a Blazer. Upon arriving in Portland at last season's trade deadline, at times you got the sense he wasn't comfortable. The welcoming nature of the fans and the understanding he has a key role on a pretty solid team appears to have worked wonders. In this particular win he did not allow an off night shooting to spill over into the other critical areas of his all around game. His defense on Kevin Durant was nothing shy of spectacular. GW was on KD from the opening bell torturing him into an 8 of 26 shooting performance. One of my new obsessive stats is plus/minus. For years it was primarily used in discussing hockey, but Wallace had the highest positive number on the court with LeMarcus Aldridge at +11. The worst? Durant at -11. Wallace also pulled down a team high 10 boards.
I know all have expressed their opinion, but I think Peyton Manning is done in Indy. Like Dennis Leary says, "life is tough, wear a helmet". The Colts owe Peyton nothing. They just paid him nearly 30 million dollars for a season they knew he'd produce nothing. In a cap driven league like the NFL it's harsh but if you're not forward thinking you are dead. With that top pick they must select Andrew Luck and rebuild a horrifying defense. Even with #18 under center, they're not a contender in the very tough AFC. Another key fact is with the nature of Manning's neck injury, it's no lock he ever takes the field in an NFL game again.
Look forward to chatting you all up this afternoon.