Tag Archives: Rose Bowl

Feeling a friend’s bowl game ‘pain’

A friend of mine, a native Texan, posted this message on Facebook the other day:

If you want to know the extent to which college football has strayed from the primrose path I thought would never end, here’s this year’s Cotton Bowl match up:
1. Neither team from Texas
2. Neither team from the old Southwest Conference.
3. Neither from even the Big 12.
4. Cotton not grown anywhere near these two universities.
5. Game no longer on New Year’s Day.

What’s our sports world coming to?

I feel his pain. The Cotton Bowl matchup this year features the University of Southern California vs. The Ohio State University.

It strikes me that the Cotton Bowl will involve teams that used to play exclusively in the Rose Bowl, which used to invite  the champions from the Big 10 to play the champs of the Pac 12.

And … speaking of the Rose Bowl — the game I watch with great interest, given that I grew up on the Pacific Coast — has an, um, interesting matchup as well.

The University of Georgia will play tackle football against the University of Oklahoma. Georgia comes from the Southeastern Conference; Oklahoma hails from the Big 12.

There’s a glimmer of good news to report. At least the Rose Bowl will be played on New Year’s Day.

But I get my friend’s angst over the jumbling of these bowl dates and the matchups that have not a damn thing to do with intercollegiate football tradition.

Still waiting on explanation for Seminoles' departure

The media have reported — as they should — on the crummy conduct of three University of Oregon football players who chanted “No means no” while celebrating the Ducks’ win over Florida State in the semifinal game of the college football playoffs.

The chant was aimed at FSU quarterback Jameis Winston’s alleged sexual assault a couple of years ago.

Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich has said the players will be disciplined for their demonstration.

Good.

Now … what about the Seminoles’ conduct at the end of the game? Three-fourths of the team left the field before the final gun sounded to end the game, which ended with a 59-20 score in favor of the Ducks.

It’s customary for the coaches to meet at midfield, hug each other’s neck, shake hands and congratulate each other for a great game. The players do it, too.

It didn’t happen that way New Year’s Night in the Rose Bowl. The Ducks took congrats from a few FSU players. One of them was Jameis Winston, the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner, who hugged the 2014 Heisman winner, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. The two young men exchanged kind words.

Not a word — that I’ve heard, at least — has come from FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher about the conduct of his players.

Isn’t there a code of sportsmanship and decorum that’s supposed to be followed here? Has that code been lost on players who got walloped on the field, but who then haven’t learned how to take their defeat like grown men?

And what kind of leadership are they getting when their head coach doesn’t own up to his players’ disrespectful behavior?

 

Looks like the Buckeyes belonged after all

I’ll be candid. I was one of those who thought a team other than Ohio State should have rounded out the four-school playoff bracket to determine the best team in college football.

My favorite for the No. 4 seed was Baylor.

It didn’t happen. Ohio State got in, I guess, on the strength of its schedule.

I’m no expert on this, but it appears that the selection committee that picked the Final Four got it right.

OK, so I’m basking a bit in the glow of my Oregon Ducks’ big win over defending national champ Florida State in the Rose Bowl. Oh, did I mention it was a serious beat-down of a very good football team — by an even better football team?

Well, I digress.

Ohio State finished off the night of playoff football by defeating the top seed, Alabama, which was representing the vaunted Southeastern Conference, where loyalists proclaim it to be the premier football conference in the nation.

Maybe it is. However, on New Year’s Night, the Crimson Tide failed to do the one thing it needed to do, which was score more points than the Buckeyes.

The No. 1 seed proved to be, well, quite mortal.

I am not going to try to dissect what happened in the Sugar Bowl. The Buckeyes outplayed the Crimson Tide on the one night that it counted. And on that night — last night — Ohio State proved that it belonged in the Final Four.

What now? Well, Ohio State will play the Oregon Ducks for the national championship.

You know where my heart lies. Go Ducks!

***

And while I’m on the subject of the Ducks, take a look at John Canzano’s excellent column in The Oregonian about the post-game press conference featuring college football’s two most recent Heisman Trophy winners. I believe it will explain a lot why the Ducks belong in the playoffs, too.

http://www.oregonlive.com/sports/oregonian/john_canzano/index.ssf/2015/01/canzano_jameis_winston_vs_marc.html#incart_maj-story-1

 

Sportsmanship lacking on both sides

Collegiate student-athletes must lose with class and they must win with it, too.

The Oregon-Florida State college football playoff semifinal game was fun to watch — particularly if you’re an Oregon Ducks fan, as I am. The Ducks blew out the Seminoles 59-20, ending FSU’s 29-game winning streak and dispelling the notion that the Ducks aren’t tough enough to play at this level of collegiate football.

The end of the game, though, produced some decidedly unattractive behavior.

With about a half-minute to go in the game, about two-thirds of the Seminoles walked off the field toward their locker room. They didn’t stay to shake the Ducks players’ hands, wish them well, congratulation them on the game they played. They skulked off the field, shaken by the battering they had taken.

You need to lose with class, yes?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/02/oregon-jameis-winston-no-chant_n_6405182.html

Then came the Ducks’ display of bad manners. About three Oregon players began some kind of chant about “No means no,” referring to FSU quarterback Jameis Winston’s off-the-field trouble involving a woman who accused him of raping her. Winston was never charged with a crime.

Second-year Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich said the players would be “disciplined internally,” adding that their conduct reflects poorly on the school and the football program.

Yes, you also need to win with class.

 

Did one team just 'quit' tonight?

First things first. I’ll stipulate up front that I am no expert on college football. I’m just a fan who likes to cheer for my favorite teams.

The Oregon Ducks currently are my favorite team and they did not disappoint this big-time fan with a 59-20 demolition of the Florida State Seminoles. The Ducks are Rose Bowl champs for the second time in four years.

It’s a huge deal. Now they’ll await the winner of the next football playoff semifinal game between Alabama and Ohio State. I have zero preference in that game.

I think the most stunning thing said tonight by the ESPN announcing crew came late in the game when Kirk Herbstreit, a former Ohio State quarterback, accused FSU of quitting. He said it twice after the Ducks went up 52-20.

I know that Herbstreit is an expert on football. Again, I am not. I’m betting that once the fellow’s statement finds its way to FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher’s ears that the coach and the announcer are going to have a few four-letter words.

It’s hard for me to put myself in the minds and hearts of dedicated athletes who’ve just been blown apart by a superior foe on the field. Did the Seminoles quit? Did they lie down and give up? Or was that defensive unit just plain exhausted after trying — mostly in vain — to stop the Oregon offense led by Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Marcus Mariota.

It might be that Florida State simply had nothing left.

Do I pity the Seminoles? Hardly. It’s tough to feel sympathy for a team in which 75 percent of its members walk off the field after a game without congratulating the winners, which the FSU players did tonight after the Ducks put that serious beat-down on them. You need to win and lose with class.

Still, to call them quitters? That’s a very tough thing to say. Kirk Herbstreit had better be ready to defend himself.

But … what the heck. My team won tonight — huge! One more game is left to play.

Go Ducks!

 

Yes, we're Texans now … but, go Ducks!

My wife and I moved to Texas more than 30 years ago to allow me to advance my career in journalism.

It worked out pretty well for us since we landed in Beaumont, where we lived for nearly 11 years before moving to Amarillo just shy of 20 years ago.

Even though we now call Texas home, I remain of Oregon, the state of my birth, land of tall trees and mountains, a rugged coastline, a major city with a glorious downtown district — and from time to time, college football teams that capture the nation’s attention.

This year, the Oregon Ducks are front and center.

They have a Heisman Trophy recipient, Marcus Mariota, calling plays as their quarterback. They have a talented corps of receivers who catch Mariota’s bullet passes, some fleet running backs who can pick ’em up and lay ’em down, a defensive front line that has emerged as one of the best in the nation and a homegrown head coach, Mark Helfrich, who is working the job of his dreams.

In a few hours, the Ducks are going to play Florida State in the Rose Bowl. The Ducks have been to the Granddaddy of Bowl Games three times since 1995. The game Thursday marks No. 4. They have a chance not only to win the game, but to advance to one more game. The Big Game. The one that determines the national champion of all of college football.

The Ducks played for the championship in 2011, losing to Auburn in a thriller.

This time, it feels a bit different. They enter the game as the favorites, although that doesn’t mean squat. As the saying might go: You play the game anyway. FSU is undefeated and has escaped its share of close scrapes this season.

And that makes me modestly — and cautiously — confident about the Ducks’ chances against the Seminoles. They’ve got a Heisman winner, too, last year’s pick Jameis Winston at QB. He’s a good one as well. They’ve got a stout defense and a freshman running back with tremendous balance.

I won’t make any predictions here. I’m not smart enough to pretend to know the ins and outs of a complicated sport.

The next big game will be against either Ohio State or Alabama, who will play later Thursday in the Sugar Bowl.

So, with that I plan to watch a little college football Thursday, starting around 4 p.m. Texas Panhandle time.

The Oregon Ducks need some love. I’m just one transplanted Oregonian sending all the love I can muster. Any additional love and good karma would be much appreciated.