George Horton Rumored to USC? Why College Coaching is a Deeply Broken System

Ed’s Note: Written by Sean Highkin

 

About a week ago, news broke of the firing of USC Trojans baseball coach Chad Kreuter. The move wasn’t necessarily surprising—after all, Kreuter had failed in his four seasons to restore the school to its glory years of the 1970s, or even lead them to the playoffs once.

You know what else didn’t surprise me? The fact that about an hour after I first saw the story of Kreuter’s firing, somebody in my Twitter feed floated the idea of Oregon’s George Horton filling USC’s coaching void. Of course, it was just a rumor and Horton hasn’t been tied to the USC job in any official capacity (yet), but I started thinking about the fact that I believed it right away, and about the deeply broken college coaching system.

The constant shifting at the head coach position is arguably more detrimental to college athletes than it is to professional ones. If a high school athlete is sold on a college because of a recruiting pitch by the coach, who can guarantee that said coach will even still be there in the Fall? How many decisions by players as to whether to turn pro or stay in school are made because of a relationship with a coach who may be in danger of being poached by a bigger-name institution?

This lack of continuity in leadership is only making worse the biggest problem with college athletics today: the transformation of college programs into essentially a farm system for the pros. On NBA draft night this year, the University of Kentucky had five players taken in the first round, including No. 1 overall pick John Wall. UK coach John Calipari proclaimed the draft, and not any the school’s seven national championships, as “the biggest day in the history of Kentucky’s program”—an incredibly revealing remark about Calipari’s priorities, as well as those of big-money college sports in general. Calipari himself is coming off his first year at Kentucky, leaving Memphis to sign an eight-year, $31 million contract.

The other major coaching story of 2010 has been Tennessee football coach Lane Kiffin, who skipped town after the first year of a six-year deal to accept a coaching position at USC. Kiffin replaced Pete Carroll, who left town the subject of numerous recruiting ethics complaints. These accusations didn’t prevent Carroll from accepting a job in the NFL (coaching the Seahawks); meanwhile, Kiffin will enter as head coach facing a two-year ban from bowl games and four years’ probation, all because of violations that took place while the team was under Carroll’s control.

It is this lack of accountability that keeps coaches giving under-the-table gifts to potential recruits, and leaving town when any kind of controversy starts. Kiffin himself has come under fire in recent weeks for not following protocol when hiring a Tennessee Titans running backs coach as his offensive coordinator at USC. What’s to stop him from leaving Southern California next year if another, higher-paying job opens up because some other coach leaves amid a cloud of complaints and sanctions? Hell, if he gets in trouble for something like this while at USC, he can leave and have no trouble getting a job somewhere else, while his replacement would be stuck with whatever sanctions are imposed on the school by the NCAA for his actions.

George Horton is ours, for now. But the fact that I saw that as an unfounded rumor and took it seriously speaks volumes about the corruption present at many levels of modern college sports. Nobody has to take responsibility for their actions, and upstart programs like Oregon’s baseball team are always in danger of having their coaches and recruits spirited away by bigger names.

Academics: Just One More Thing UO > OSU (US News & World Reports)

Sure Oregon’s beaten Oregon State in the Civil War the past two seasons, which, by all means is great. But there’s something else we’re better at than OSU that actually directly affects us — mere students, alumni and facultyinstead of 240-pound linebackers who were seemingly bred to play football.

The latest US News & World Report College rankings are out, and in a shocking discovery (Ed’s Note: not so shocking), the University of Oregon is a better academic institution than our rivals to the north.

And U of O is even a better value too!

 

However, UO still has a ways to go to crack the Pac-10 academic elite. Stanford, Cal, USC, UCLA and UW all blew us out of the water.

Conference Rankings:

Stanford – 5

Cal – 22

USC – 23

UCLA – 25 (just one more thing USC beats UCLA at)

University of Jake Locker – 41

Oregon – 111

Washington State – 111

Arizona – 120

Oregon State – 139

Arizona State – 143

For the next four months we can go back to not caring about how good our diplomas (will) look hanging on our office (cubicle?) walls, and just hope our genetically engineered three-percent body fat football players are better than theirs.

Are You the Biggest Duck Fan? Prove it and Win a Pair of Oregon Football Season Tickets From Papa John’s

Obtaining tickets to an Oregon football home game is no small feat. With how much recent success the Ducks have enjoyed, it should come as no surprise that Autzen Stadium will be going on its 69th-straight sell-out come September 4th. What’s great news for the program is bad news for the average fan and their wallet.

So, what if there was a way to get season tickets just for being the biggest Oregon Ducks fan out there, and without even being forced to “donate” a single penny to the Duck Athletic Fund?

I assume you’d be pretty interested, right?

Thanks to the local Eugene/Springfield Papa John’s, free season tickets will soon become a reality for one lucky Duck fan.

As of midnight last night and until August 23rd, you have the opportunity to enter a contest to win a pair of Oregon fotball season tickets.

All you have to do is write an essay between 200-1,000 words, describing how you’re the biggest Duck fan and why you deserve season tickets. You can submit your essay online or drop it off at any of the three local Papa John’s stores (South Eugene, Santa Clara/Ferry, Springfield).

After August 23rd, all the essays submitted on-line will then be open to anybody and everybody to vote on over a four day period.  The essays submitted in person will go through a panel of judges.  Two essays on-line and two essays that are dropped off will be in the final four where a different set of judges will declare 1st -4th place.

2nd place gets a $100 Papa John’s gift card, 3rd gets a $50 and 4th gets a $20.

Official Rules can be read here.

Also of note, Papa John’s will be teaming up with UOSportsDude.com to give away one free large pizza of a lucky reader’s choice from next week through the bowl game (assuming we get there, and hopefully it’s in January).

Ideas for what the weekly contest should be are gladly accepted. As of right now I’m thinking a lucky Twitter follower before the season and then once the season begins we’ll have a reader weekly pick’em contest (Free pizza card can be redeemed at a local Papa John’s or by snail mail).

So get your fingers warmed up and your stories of unmatched fandom ready, and enter to win a pair of Oregon Ducks football season tickets!

Don’t forget to follow Papa John’s of Eugene/Springfield on Facebook and Twitter.

28 iPhone Apps That Will Help You Get the Most Out of Oregon Football

This summer I’ve been lucky enough to intern at an awesome tech PR agency in San Francisco. Besides from the fact that they pay me, provide all the free coffee I can drink and this sweet view from my desk, the work is actually pretty cool too.

Not being a tech geek, and coming to a tech agency presented a steep learning curve, but it also offered an opportunity to learn a lot about numerous awesome things/companies that I had no idea existed (like clients: Obama Girl, Evernote and Village Voice Media, for example – gotta get those plugs in!).

There are almost half a million app in the iPhone App Store.

And it also gave this idea for a post.

Just about everyone has an iPhone now, and if you’re anything like me, you use it for everything. So why not use it to get the most out of college football season?

You can extend your enjoyment of Oregon football (and other teams, I guess) even further with these apps that let you keep up with news, check stats, make wagers, support your team and much more, all while you’re on the go.

And off we go:

Sports News:

College Football Live: Now you can know how badly Washington State is losing by — in real time!

College Sports News: I think the name of this app sums up its purpose pretty well.

SI.com: The strength of the SI app lies in the same area that gives the print magazine the reputation that it has always enjoyed: well-written original content and world-renowned photography — just on a screen a fraction of the size.

SI.com Swimsuit: Sure, this might not have anything to do with college football, but don’t kid yourselves — hot girls in bikinis? Or sometime not even — I know you want it anyway.

NCAA Highlights: Just found out this app is only for hoops instead of gridiron. But still, you can still relive Michael Jordan’s career-changing jumper for the Tarheels in 1982. I call that a win.

ESPN Radio: Podcasts are the shit. Plus you can listen live to any college football games broadcast by ESPN.

CBS Sports Mobile: John Goodman and Gregg Doyel in your pocket — at all times.

BallHype: You could probably even find a way to read UOSportsDude.com on this app. Although the mobile version might be a little easier on the eyes.

Scores and Stats:

ESPN ScoreCenter: Stay on top of all the results you care about with one-tap access to your personalized set of scores.

Sportacular: If you want a solid sports scores app, but don’t want to support the World Wide Leader, the folks at Citizen Sports got you covered. Solid app.

QB Rater:  Use this to track your team’s quarterback during the game — just so you  can make sure Darron Thomas (or Nate Costa) is outplaying Jeremiah Masoli.

InGameNow: You don’t even have to open this app to get scores, it pushes them right too you. Here’s a preview: *beep beep* 3rd quarter: Oregon 37, New Mexico 13.

Clock:

Days to Game: You’ll never have to ask, “How many days ’till the Oregon game?” ever again.

Teams:

OregonDucks for iPhone: All Oregon all the time. Scores, news, stats, and schedules: A must have for following ALL — yes, it’s got all of them —  Duck sports!!

And in case you want to keep track of the enemy:

It’s shocking that Washington State doesn’t have one. Although not really now that I think about it — they’re still trying to figure out electricity in Pullman.

Betting:

ESPN Streak for the Cash: In case you want to become addicted to picking sports games — without the risk of wasting all your student loan money.

iOdds: You know, in case you actually want to lose all your student loan money. (Eds note: not advised!)

Spirit:

College Fight Songs: In case you want to be able to listen to Mighty Oregon 24/7. I couldn’t blame you.

FanFinder: Find your local pro-Oregon watering hole and enjoy Ducks football with overly intoxicated strangers.

Trivia:

College Football 101- Quizner’s Sports Trivia: So you know your Ducks, but how much do you know about the other 118 D1 teams?

Mascot Trivia: Answer: Shasta the Cougar, University of Houston’s mascot. Question: Who did Puddles open a can of whoop ass on (including elbow drops and tea-bagging) during a football game in 2007.

Just for Fun:

Extreme Paper Football: Brings back memories of 10th grade trig class.

iFootball: Try out this application to test the football skills of your fingers.

What College Are You?: Are you meant to be an Oregon Duck?

NCAA Football by EA Sports: The real thing, for your phone.

There you have it, a complete guide to college football season for your iPhone. Be sure to list any I missed in the comments.

Go Ducks!



Masoli’s Guilty Plea: Less an Acknowledgement of Crime Than Desire for a Potential Future

Editor’s Note: As some of you might know, UOSportsDude.com is expanding the site to be able to bring to you deeper, more expansive and hopefully better coverage of the Oregon Ducks this coming season and beyond. Please welcome our newest writer, UO student Jonathan Marx, to the mix. He has written for the Oregon Daily Emerald as well as Santa Barbara CC’s The Channel Online. You can follow him on Twitter here.

Guilty.

That was the plea Jeremiah Masoli’s lawyer gave on behalf of the disgraced quarterback on Wednesday morning to a judge in the Springfield Municipal Court.

Jonathan Marx.

Guilty.

Guilty of possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. Guilty of failing to stop at a driveway or sidewalk. Guilty of letting down the Duck Nation, one last time.

In reality, Masoli’s guilty plea was less of an acknowledgment that he committed a crime, and more about his desire for a potential future. By pleading guilty and coughing up a palty $937 in fines and fees, the case is now closed, and his September 3rd court date is cancelled. A court date on September 3rd would’ve been inconvenient, as it may very well have interrupted his plans to play football in the fall.

Where might that be, though? That’s a question he wished he had an answer to.

Every day, several reports come out saying he’s interested in yet another school: Louisiana Tech, Texas Tech, Hawaii, Ole Miss, the latest being UNLV. The problem is, it takes two to tango, and the interest he shows in these schools is rightfully unreturned. Well-established athletic programs don’t want someone with his criminal past. Just ask, say, us.

But even if these schools could look beyond that, and just see an outstanding athlete with a love for the game and an unfortunate criminal record, would they still be willing to take the risk? No. He had his chance, they will say. He had his first, second, and third chance. And he blew all of them. What’s to stop him from blowing another?

If Masoli continues his career at UNLV, he might find he fits in well with the Sin City culture. But that seems like a situation almost too good to be true for him. He’ll probably end up at some low tier D-2 or D-3 school. Somewhere where he will sell lots of tickets, and outperform any competition put in his path. Somewhere he doesn’t want to be but has to. If it’s any consolation to him, he’ll be regarded as a hero at his new institution. One where he can take the reigns, trudge forward and never look back.

As Masoli relaxes and enjoys his summer vacation down in the Bay Area, having just finished his final two classes at the University of Oregon, a few other questions still linger in the back of the quarterback’s head. What the hell was I doing in that fraternity house on that cold January night? Where would I be right now if I had used the brake, instead of the gas, while pulling out of that driveway in Springfield?

Or, more appropriately, why don’t the Oakland Raiders just get it over with and sign me already? I’d fit in perfect over there!

The reality is these questions will never be answered. As Jeremiah walked off the field after a hard fought and unfortunate loss to Ohio State in the Rose Bowl, he began a journey into the unknown. Seven months later, that journey has taken him even deeper into the unknown. And stability remains nowhere in sight.

Masoli Isn’t Headed to Hawaii But That Isn’t the Big News

Earlier today CNBC’s John Taylor noted a report from a Honolulu TV station that said Jeremiah Masoli was considering heading home to play for the University of Hawaii.

It's a shame we won't be able to see Masoli take on the Trojans as a Rainbow Warrior next season.

Despite confirmed interest on Masoli’s part, UH school officials have now come to a mutual decision that they want absolutely nothing to do with the disgraced former Oregon quarterback.

So we’re back at square one.

But the interesting news from this morning’s Masoli rumor mill, is that there’s a chance he could be eligible to play for a Division 1-A team this season.

From CNBC’s report this morning:

Masoli is reportedly two weeks away from meeting the requirements to graduate from Oregon; if the QB were to graduate and then move on to another school, he would be permitted to play immediately provided a waiver was granted by the NCAA.

This a situation similar to the one last year that allowed Duke’s Greg Paulus to transfer to Syracuse to play football.

The transfer window is closing quickly (although I’m not sure when), and the start of the season is approaching as well. Louisiana Tech still looks to be the favorite, with rumors of Mississippi State floating around as well.

Even though Masoli would have to learn a brand new playbook in less than two months, he’s plenty talented to succeed on shear athletic ability alone — especially if he ends up in the WAC.

Clearly, learning the playbook in time isn’t the main issue for teams considering the addition of Masoli.

Already on probation after pleading guilty to a burglary charge, Masoli was charged in June with, among other misdemeanors, possession of marijuana, which led to his dismissal from the Ducks. He is scheduled to appear before a judge in Springfield Municipal Court on September 3rd.

If I were a lower-tier D1 program, I would seriously consider bringing Masoli in for the publicity and immediate shot at a bowl game. I’m looking at you, Hawaii.

Or maybe I’m just saying that because the Rainbow Warriors open the season against USC on September 2nd. And it would supreme drama to watch Masoli take on the Trojans in a different uniform.

Jeremiah Masoli and Louisiana Tech: A match made in WAC heaven?

Ok, I know Oregon fans are more than tired of hearing about their Rose Bowl-turned-Frat Stealing-turned (?) -Pot Smoking former quarterback, but if the latest reports hold any water (laptops?), we might be able to add more thing to that list.

I mean, how could Masoli turn down playing for a school that's only won one bowl game since 1984?

Rumor has it that Jeremiah Masoli is leaning toward transferring to Western Athletic Conference doormat, and former Gulf States Conference powerhouse, Louisiana Tech.

Monroe, La. television station KNOE-TV reported late last night that the former UO signal caller “visited the campus this past weekend and is also looking at Mississippi State.”

Of course, Masoli would have to sit out this season due to transfer rules, and even then would have to raise his grades to qualify academically. Who knew La Tech’s admission requirements were tougher than the University of Oregon’s? (Oh wait, this is just for athletes,  so never mind.)

If he does qualify, he still “has a couple of hurdles to clear in the justice system”. (Well punned, KNOE-TV). Masoli could redshirt in 2010 and be able to play one season in 2011.

Although you might think the Bulldogs are a step down football-wise from the Ducks, if history tells us anything, his chances of becoming an NFL Super Bowl-winning quarterback have jumped significantly. La Tech’s QB alumni have collectively won more rings than Oregon’s — of course they’re all from one player: Terry Bradshaw.

But in all seriousness, this move shouldn’t be a surprise or come as big news to anybody. Masoli’s best career path is still football — unless he’s been his affinity for quantum physics — and this gives him a chance to remain in Division 1, play well, turn some heads, and then enter the NFL Draft (while he searches for an apartment in the greater Winnipeg area, you know, just in case the NFL doesn’t work out).

I’m tired of hearing about him and you probably are too, but it’s news, and it’s June, and there isn’t much else.

What do you make of this?

University of Oregon + Nike + Dennis Dixon + The Buried Life = Everybody Wins

Headline got your attention, didn’t it?

Here’s the cool Oregon Ducks related story of the day. The Buried Life, an awesome reality show from MTV, could possibly join forces with former Oregon star QB and possible Pittsburgh Steeler’s starter Dennis Dixon for an episode this fall.

The show, which relies on the goodwill, guts and gumption of four guys to complete a pretty awesome bucket list, has put an episode of Season Two up for vote on Facebook.

In second place right now? The should-be 2007 Heisman winner suggested a pretty good idea:

I dare you to play 7 on 7 (or 5 on 5) football game against me and my boys. All played for the University of Oregon. One of us (Dennis Dixon) is an NFL QB. We have an association that puts on football camps and mentors kids. I can get the game at Nike head quarters in Beaverton Oregon, we can even raise money for a good cause. Let me know if your up for the challenge. Also check out our website OregonFootballAssociation.com and keep doing what you guys do.

How cool would that be? I’d definitely make the trip up to Portland to check it out. I know you would too. Go vote now!

Hat Tip to @TaylorJane15.

Dear Pat Kilkenny, stay out of the way and let Dana Altman do his job (video)

It just doesn’t stop. The Oregon Ducks PR circus, that is.

Pat Kilkenny and Co. made it well known that they set the bar at “won a NCAA championship”, quite the expectations for a program that couldn’t even crack a double digit win total in a pathetically weak Pac-10 the past two seasons.

So after six embarrassingly long weeks, Oregon settled — err, found the man they wanted all along.

Dana Altman. A man who’s never smelled the Sweet 16 or faced a Pac-10 team before in his life.

Umm, not quite on par with PK’s said expectations.

But of course, it doesn’t just end there. Kilkenny had to do his best to sell his new hire to a fan base who had been mistakenly promised (read: deceived) into anticipating a “splashy” hire.

Altman’s press conference went well. He was cordial, he was comedic, he was self-deprecating (in a good way) and he inspired confidence.

The fans were sold.

Sure, he might not be a sexy name, but he’s a solid coach who can take this program in the right direction. I might even name my next son Dana.

So Pat, why did you feel the need to inject yourself back into the picture? Ego, arrogance, attention? All of the above?

After Altman finished, the reporters, and their tape recorders, found their way over to Kilkenny.

Kilkenny said, “We had literally five natonal championship coaches that showed interest in our job and three of them would have taken it.”

Umm, then why didn’t you offer one the job?

The term he used, “national championship coach”, implies D-1 men’s basketball, but who knows what type of championship he really means? Maybe it’s D-1, but by the fact he didn’t hire any of them, it’s more likely to be D-3 or NAIA, or maybe it’s a middle school girls powerhouse.

Whatever the case, it undermines Dana Altman.

Come on, Pat. You hired Altman. He’s your man for the next 7 years and $12.6 million.

You’ve done your job, and we’ve talked ourselves into agreeing with you, so now stay out of the way and let Dana do his.

Oregon Ducks climb to No. 17 in college baseball polls

Baseball America loves the Oregon Ducks baseball team, and for good reason. After breaking into the polls for the first time in 30+ years at No. 18 last week, they’ve pushed up the Ducks another spot to No. 17.

Here’s what Aaron Fitt of BA had to say:

17. OREGON
Last Week: 4-1. Overall: 27-13, 8-7 in Pac-10 (6-4 vs. Top 25). Weekend Series: 6-3.

Oregon won its third straight weekend series and moved into a three-way tie for third place in the Pac-10. So. SS K.C. Serna (3-for-5, 2B, 4 RBI) led a 13-hit attack Friday in support of So. LHP Tyler Anderson (6.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 10 K). Sr. RHP Justin La Tempa (6 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K) was strong in a no-decision Saturday, but USC won a back-and-forth affair with a run in the 10th against Oregon closer Drew Gagnier. Oregon took the lead for good on Fr. 3B J.J. Altobelli’s third-inning grand slam Sunday. It was Oregon’s first grand slam since the program was reinstated, and it was Altobelli’s first career homer.

Fans are quickly adjusting their expectations accordingly (whether or not they deserve to is an entirely different question). People were legitimately disappointed when Oregon lost on Saturday.

They may be in the cellar this year, but USC is still a baseball powerhouse, and last time I checked, Oregon was the new kid.

I like the attitude, though. It’s clear George Horton has this team confident and more than just “happy to be here”. This team is headed for big things — sooner than anyone expected.

Here are some pics from the Saturday game by the new official UOSportsDude.com photographer, Geoffrey Hale.

Starter Justin LaTempa was in line for the win after tossing six innings of one-run baseball, allowing six hits while fanning six, and leaving the game with a narrow 2-1 lead.

Sophomore KC Serna is blossoming into the star we thought he could be, leading the team in total bases and steals.

Friend of the photographer and USC left fielder Matt Foat, receives the standard Trojan mid-game prostate exam from the trainer. Look ma, no gloves!

Oregon plays Oregon State in the only baseball Civil War home game of the year, this Tuesday night at 6 pm. You better be there!