Category Archives: commentary

College Football – Week 4

College football games keep taking more and more time to play–around 3½ hours. The main reason is TV advertising. It’s guy in the red hat telling the referees when the game can begin again. I went to a Willamette (Division III) game a few years ago and it took TWO HOURS. You punt and when the play is over, different players come on the field and play continues. You score, and different players come on the field and play continues. No guy in the red hat. That simple.

Last week at the BYU game, a number of knuckleheads in the Oregon student section started inviting the Mormons to be fruitful and multiply. But not in those words. The governor of Utah said that religious bigotry is alive and well in Oregon. Well, wouldn’t you know, all this got caught on smartphones and posted, so the U of O brass KNOWS who the students are who were yelling this cant. Just like the FBI and the January 6 riot, social media comes to the rescue. Except that was worse. But don’t ask the governor of Utah.

As for the Washington State game, Oregon had the ball inside the Washington State 10 four times in the first half and came away with 3 FGs and a pick 6, for a net +2 points. In the second half, the Ducks kept shooting themselves in the foot on defense, but managed to score 29 fourth quarter points to take a 44-34 lead with 0:55 to go and win 44-41. Whew! Stanford (1-2) is next.

Oregon State made a valiant effort against USC at home, but just couldn’t get the job done, losing 17-14. USC got the winning touchdown at 1:13 in the fourth quarter. The team stats were dead even except for one: OSU four turnovers, USC none. Two of those Beaver turnovers led to a Trojan FG and a TD. @Utah (3-1) is next.

All six Pac-12 venues painted the 4-yard line markers on the field yellow in memory of Oregon tight end Spencer Webb, who died in a recreational accident over the summer.

Head Coaching Blues:
Scott Frost got an extra $7.5 M for leaving Nebraska before October. Nice work if you can get it. That’s got to be four times the amount of income many Nebraska football fans will earn in their lifetime.

Arizona State fired Herm Edwards after the Sun Devils’ 30-21 loss to Eastern Michigan. Edwards had an overall recored of 26-20 at ASU. Though he took the team to three bowl games in four years, recruiting violations that were legion, as were staff resignations and players transferring out of the program, made him expendable given the slightest excuse. Edwards’s buyout is TBD.

Two down, 129 to go.

Assistant Coaching Blues:
Boise State fired its offensive coordinator after the Broncos’ 27-10 loss to heavy underdog UTEP.

Looking ahead:
Washington (4-0) could be 8-0 going into the Oregon State game.
Kansas (4-0) has already won more games in one season since they went 5-7 in 2009 (won their first five and lost their last seven). Since then, two or three wins were all you could expect, and in 2015 it was 0-12. Their last really big year was 2007, when they went 12-1, losing only to Missouri (12-2). Their schedule gets a lot tougher starting this week, though.
I’m still not convinced that USC (4-0) is as good as the pollsters think they are. They face Washington and Utah in the coming weeks. Since they don’t play Oregon this year, those two games will define their season.

FCS Teams Beating FBS Teams:
None, but Ohio just got by Fordham (FCS) 59-52, scoring the winning TD on a fumble return with no time left.

Syracuse place kicker Andre Szmyt (rhymes with Smith, I think) kicked 5 FGs, including the game winner with one minute to go for a 22-20 win over Virginia. Virginia place kicker Brendan Farrell missed both FG attempts, albeit of 51 and 49 yards.

Texas Christian played Southern Methodist and won 42-34. Now you know whose side God was on.

Missouri, their players celebrating on the sideline at 0:02, score tied, with the ball on the Auburn 19 yard line and me saying, “Guys? The game’s not over.” Sure enough, the kicker missed and the game went into OT where a Missouri runner fumbled the ball just before crossing the goal line with the winning touchdown, to lose to Auburn, 17-14.

Clemson took two OTs to beat Wake Forest 51-45.

Enough already!
Western Kentucky beat Florida International 73-0.
Stephen F. Austin (FCS) beat Warner (NAIA) 98-0. Warner is a member of the Sun Conference, located in Georgia and Florida. Warner was 0-3 going into the game, having lost those three games by a combined score of 145-32. Now make that 0-4 and 243-32. Stephen F. Austin had ten offensive TDs, one punt return and two fumble recoveries for TDs, two FGs, and a safety. They lined up for a two-point conversion at the end of the game, leading 98-0, and respectfully took a knee.

Appalachian State’s luck ran out against Sun Belt foe James Madison. Down 28-10 at the half, the Dukes shut out App State in the second half and scored 22 points of their own for the 32-28 win.

Middle Tennessee beat #25 Mario 45-31, in Miami. [Note: former Duck head coach who no Duck fan is sorry he departed.]

Kansas State upset #6 Oklahoma 41-34. KSU never trailed after scoring an opening TD. The score was tied briefly at 20 in the third quarter.

Texas A&M is righting the ship by beating #10 Arkansas 23-21. In the heads-up play of the year so far, and maybe the entire year, Aggie Tyreek Chappell recovered an Arkansas fumble on his own three yard line, and when about to get tackled running it back, handed off to teammate Demani Richardson who ran the rest of the way for the TD.

Minnesota beat Michigan State 34-7 to start 4-0. They should be 6-0 (Purdue, Illinois) when they meet Penn State three weeks from now.

Ohio State (4-0) damaged Wisconsin 52-21. They will have clear sailing to the season finale against Michigan.

Tennessee (4-0) beat Florida State 38-33. The Vols survived a Florida recovery of an onside kick at 0:17 left by intercepting a pass at 0:06. After a week off, the Vols face @LSU and Alabama.

Week 5:
Games of the Week
Oklahoma State at Baylor
Kentucky at Mississippi

Crummy Game of the Week
Colorado at Arizona

Pac-12 Game of the Week
Washington at UCLA


Adios, LIV Tour

In the recent past I have made my opinions known about the LIV tour and the people behind it. Now, it seems that the first question at a press conference for the guy who just won the week’s tournament is, “Are you going to join the LIV Tour?”

All this hoo-hah is about people who can earn (on the PGA Tour) almost as much in a couple of weekends as most of their fans will earn in a lifetime.

Besides the pros, who the f**k CARES about all this?

Both of these Tours could dry up and blow away and it would have no effect on my being able to go out to have fun playing golf with my friends.

I’ve had enough. This is my final statement about the whole affair. Promise.

Three Questions for Phil Mickelson

Here are three question reporters at the U.S. Open should have asked Phil Mickelson yesterday.

1. You accused the PGA Tour of “obnoxious greed.” How would you characterize the $200 million that you accepted from the Saudi government?

2. You have said several times that playing on the LIV Tour is an opportunity to help to grow the game of golf. In what ways is the LIV Tour growing golf that the PGA Tour is not?

3. You once referred to the Saudis as “scary mother****ers.” What caused you to say that?

Something I Need to Say

Republican politicians are saying exactly this to the families of those killed in recent mass murders*: “The cost to me of not getting re-elected because I voted to approve effective gun control legislation is greater than the cost to you of your child being murdered in their school classroom, or your loved ones in their grocery store or church.”

Why Republicans Won’t Budge on Guns

* Let’s stop saying “mass shootings.” They’re mass murders.

USGA to Roll Back Distance

I get several golf newsletters in my e-mail every morning. Today there is an article in the Golf Digest newsletter about the USGA making plans to roll back distance of “elite male players” by altering the characteristics of the ball.

Read it here.

Also, the Saudi League is going to start up anyway, though I don’t know where they will get any players of interest. They are certainly throwing LOTS of money at the project.

Read it here.

The tournament schedule is here.

Professional Handicaps

Want to know how good PGA professionals really are? The chart below shows their handicaps from 2016 to 2000. They’re pretty low.

To put plus handicaps into perspective, it is said that there is a greater difference between a 3 and a +3 that there is between a 3 and an 18.

If a plus handicap is a new idea to you, it works like this, roughly. Take the course rating and subtract the handicap. So if your local course is rated 70.0, and a pro’s handicap is +8, their expected score would be 62.

That’s not exactly how it works, but that gives you the general idea.

The average index is +5.4. The best index achieved as Ricky Fowler’s +8.4.

It all works out to the fact that they’re playing a different game than we are.

(Click to enlarge)

300 Yards? I don’t get it

I was at the range a few days ago. There is a post 300 yards away from the line of tees we hit off of.

300 yards is along way. You don’t really know how far away that is until you’re looking at it.

And yet there are guys who hit the ball father than that on the fly.

Yes, they are strong, they are superior athletes, and their technique if flawless. I know all that.

I guess it’s my imprinting that I can’t shake. When I started the game, 200 yards off the tee was long for your everyday recreational golfer. 250 yards was a Tour drive and the big hitters averaged 265, maybe 275.

I understand 275 on the fly and roll out to 300.

But 300 and more in the air I don’t think I’ll ever understand.

The USGA’s Distance Insights Report

After years of hand-wringing about how far touring pros are hitting the ball, the USGA s**t has finally hit the fan.

Their report, including recommendations, is titled Distance Insights Report and is available here as a 102-page pdf.

The Report has six chapters:
1. Scope
2. The evolution of hitting distances
3. The factors which impact hitting distances
4. Analysis of golf course lengths
5. Impact of increase in hitting distance and golf course lengths
6. Golf stakeholder perspectives and opinions on hitting distances

If you don’t have anything to do, you might want to read it. It really is pretty interesting, especially chapters 2-5.

After having assembled all their data, what does the USGA now want to do about it? Mainly, tweak equipment. For whom?

The answer depends on where you think the problem lies. Believe it or not, when stakeholders were asked, If distance is a problem, who [sic] is it a problem for? five percent of the respondents said it is only a problem for recreational players.

When comes the day that I can drive the ball 280 with one hand, I’ll agree.

There is even talk of bifurcation of the rules, which the UGSA likens to asking them all to drink a quart of rat poison, though there is baseball and softball, tackle football and touch/flag football, pro ice hockey and amateur no-checking ice hockey. Why not golf?

Rory McIlroy put matters into perspective a few days ago, saying that distance is a problem for only about 0.1 percent of golfers in the world. He said the solution is not to tweak equipment, which OEMs can find a way around, but to make golf courses harder for them.

The USGA says it is doing this because it says it wants to protect the game. But golf is not the professional game. Golf is way bigger than the professional game. It’s our game and if it needs needs protecting, it’s not from how far you or I hit the ball.

I feel like I’ve just said the same thing three times. If distance is a problem, it’s a problem because of and for Rory and Bryson and Dustin, not you or me.

So enough ranting. What to do? The Recreational Golfer knows exactly what to do.

Long hitters on Tour bomb it because if the ball ends up in the rough, even thick rough, they can still get par and birdie isn’t out of the question. The solution is to line each side of the fairway from 310-350 yards not with thick rough, but with a bed of pea gravel ten yards wide and two inches deep. If they figure out how to hit out of that, we can change it to 3/4 minus.

You have to think outside the box.