Let me be the first to clarify two points. The first is, I don’t practice Schadenfreude, which is of course, the German word for enjoying the misery of others. As much as I tease UCLA and as fun as it is to beat them 50-0, I admit I miss having a rival we were excited to play. I root for UCLA to return to a level where they do more than tout “spoiling” a national title 6 years ago when a month later we just won the Rose Bowl (again) in their home stadium. I want USC v UCLA to mean something. If we’re ranked 1, I want them ranked 2 and I want to beat them every time. Right now it’s like stepping on ants and I don’t really get off on that other than in a “damn, that was hilarious” sort of way. And I come to football games to rock out, not laugh. Go laugh in a Judd Apatow film.
The second point is that I don’t take any NCAA sanctions seriously because ultimately, they aren’t an organization to be taken seriously. I mean, when a clown sprays water in your face out of a flower on his lapel, you don’t beat his ass because he is a clown and how seriously do you need to take a confusing, harmless attack from a clown. For my drunk readers, I think the NCAA are clowns wearing clown shoes.
So let’s be clear. Whatever Oregon did, whatever punishment they get, it doesn’t matter and I am not rooting for it based on wanting Oregon to be labelled cheaters. I am not rooting for it because I think the NCAA will be serving any kind of justice in this or any sanctions situation. I mean, Miami AD Paul Dee, who was letting a ten year cocaine-brothel-abortion-service-booze-cruise go on during his watch was the guy chosen to deem USC guilty of “needing” to know that Reggie Bush and his parents were taking thousands of dollars from a third party that had nothing to do with USC. When you hire a murderer to be the judge at a murder trial, it’s sort of hard to take the whole thing seriously.
So basically, whatever Oregon gets, I doubt it has anything to do with student athletes, cheating or the like. It will have only to do with the NCAA trying to hold onto control of something the world knows slipped through its greasy fingers: credibility.
Here’s what I am rooting for to come out of the acceleration of Oregon’s recruiting saga woes. I am rooting for Oregon to get labeled with things similar to what USC got labeled with. I am rooting for this because after years of writing this blog, I have found the Oregon Duck fan to be the most delusional fan there is west of the SEC.
This is a generalization to be sure. I know many Ducks that are awesome people, great adversaries in football conversation and prognostication, but when you look at the comments I’ve received over the years on this blog, Oregon’s bottom of the barrel lies somewhere deeper than the wreckage of the Titanic.
So before I continue, if you are a rational Oregon fan, understand that I don’t think you guys did anything that wrong and whatever penalty you get doesn’t mean anything to me. If they made you vacate wins, I wouldn’t assume you lost those games. This is addressed to your insane masses that somehow made the grade enough to avoid becoming a Beaver and learned how to comment on this blog. Making sure we’re clear. Yes I will drink northwest beer with you cool Oregon fans at the Coli this year. Please just keep the extras from Deliverance away from me.
The Oregon fanatic is a crazy specimen I have been studying for years. There are complicated mathematical formulas guiding selective memory at play. Oregon doesn’t want to talk about “program history”, so do not ever try to use the argument that winning dozens of Rose Bowls over the course of a century means anything to them. History includes all years prior to 2008.
The Oregon fan considered 2008 on as the only thing that mattered because it is the present (I never bothered to explain how 2008 was in fact, in the past) until last year of course, where Oregon lost to USC at home without ever possessing the lead. Then, the present included their “triumph” over UCLA in the Pac 12 “championship” and their stirring nailbiter against a Big Ten team earning them a Rose Bowl, which was their first ever considering the last one they won wasn’t even called a Rose Bowl it was so long ago.
So the present was everything from 2008 on except for the loss in Eugene which didn’t count because of bad clock management (because clock management failure is a fluke as all football fans know *choking on sarcasm*), a kick that should have gone in (because college kickers are automatic, right?) and because if there were five more minutes Oregon would have won (which there would have been if the kicker hit the FG and we went into the magical land of overtime, football’s convenient answer to games that need five more minutes to decide a winner).
Do not mention to them that USC traveled a severely reduced squad due to sanctions preparation that probably contributed to letting a 34-14 lead dwindle or the fact that USC fumbled a botched hand-off on the way into the endzone (or at least a chip shot FG) because those things weren’t factors, that was just Oregon being “the better team”. Naturally, the better team usually spots a 34-14 lead at home, mismanages the clock and misses clutch field goals against a squad short on replacements…
So, when Oregon snuck out a press release on Friday before the world went out to drink and meet attractive people detailing basically that they are in negotiations with the NCAA on their punishment, I couldn’t help but laugh at the dates. 2008-2011. From my scientific analysis of the amoebas that latch onto my Oregon articles (soon to include this one no doubt), those are the exact dates of the only time in college football history Oregon counts. I don’t care about a bowl ban, I don’t care about scholarship reductions, we’ve already beaten them with half a deck. I care about the most meaningless penalty associated with NCAA sanctions. I am talking about a penalty so stupid, only idiots could care about it.
I’m talking vacated wins.
Oregon is going to great lengths to kiss some NCAA ass in hopes of a lesser sentence. Nike is working overtime to make calls to protect the school they dressed in ass-backwards uniforms so colorful the world couldn’t ignore them. I have zero doubt that despite the fact the “failure to monitor” term is being tossed around like in the Ohio State case, they will get even less of a slap on the wrist than tOSU did. I am expecting this to be something AT MAX like probation, maybe a 1 year bowl ban and possibly some ceremonial loss of scholarship(s) that wouldn’t dent a paper airplane.
The recruiting services listed (3 of them) include one that helped scout LaMichael James. This means that it is at least possible that they will need to forfeit wins from games he helped him win from the time of offense, which being that this is recruiting-based, should count all games he played in (as opposed to Reggie Bush whose impact was counted from the time he took benefits).
There is a possibility to make the sanctions seem more stringent, they will vacate wins. 3 Pac 10/12 championships, wins against USC and their precious Rose Bowl.
Now, USC never bat an eye at this for a couple of reasons. One, it’s really dumb to vacate wins because everyone knows who won. It’s just for history books and in the end, this period in history is going to be remembered as the fall of the NCAA, not anything else. Hell, I feel bad for Oregon because now they are dating the crazy girl.
The other reason USC never tripped out was the we played in national titles in both years we vacated wins. The first time, the AP didn’t make us give up our title. Given the 2003 split title the NCAA recognizes on their own website where the AP deemed USC the champions and LSU the BCS champions, why on earth would USC un-claim the 2004 title where they were stripped of the BCS title, but not of the AP. If the AP was good enough for 2003, it is good enough for 2004. I mean, the NCAA is so screwed up they still list USC as the 2004 BCS champion on their website without an asterisk. I mean, between that and Paul Dee presiding over the USC hearings, I think the NCAA is the institutional control issue.
As for 2005, we didn’t win the title, so vacating a loss doesn’t mean much. Basically, in USC’s case, vacating wins didn’t mean we lost a national title claim and it isn’t like any team we beat suddenly felt like they won. Combine that with the normal winning mentality USC has (see our preseason rankings), and we didn’t trip (and yes the bearfighter played a role in that arrogance).
Oregon is in a different boat. The AP ranking means nothing when it comes to bowl wins. While USC was deemed #1 when the AP didn’t strip their championship trophy even though USC vacated a Rose Bowl win, Oregon never won a title. There is no AP help.
If Oregon vacates their Rose Bowl, they are Rose Bowless. They will have to vacate their Pac championships. Their selection slice of relevant history will not exist in “the books”.
While I don’t give a shit about the books, I have never been so sure they would suffer from LSU-itis. They will never get over the fact that it “wasn’t fair”.
Meanwhile, no school has called USC cheaters more, no school has tried to enjoy USC’s supposed setbacks more than Oregon. When my high school baseball coach saw a friend of mine pump his fist after hitting a home run, he chewed him out and said “act like you’ve been there before”. Now, that coach was a huge dick, but acting like you been there before is a good concept for a program trying to make a point they belong.
As the bearfighter often gets to, I sit on the veranda watching the approaching shit storm enjoying what either outcome is. In USC’s case, I predicted everything that would happen either way our sanctions hearing went. I said if they let us off, we’ll enjoy another normal year of SC football. If they hit us hard, I’ll draft a wildly successful blog and USC will win a ton of games anyway while the NCAA chokes away its control as the curtain gets peeled back to reveal the widespread filth they try to rationalize. Either way I would be happy. The road less traveled was better in this case. Proof is that you are reading this.
In the Oregon case, I get the same joy. Depending on what happens, Oregon fans will have to decide. Is the NCAA full of shit or not?
I long to see their quacking faithful try to explain the differences between football programs and penalties. This is Oregon getting in trouble for how they do business. If “everyone is doing it”, then I guess USC didn’t do anything wrong either, did they Oregon?
If they admit they were wrong (which the athletic dept. at Oregon is sure going to great lengths to do, what cowards) then I guess they will own up to the fact the vacated wins were just. I guess they will be Rose Bowless again. I guess their 3 years Pac title streak didn’t count. Wait, who was the last team to win the Pac 10 title before them? Oh wow. It was USC…
So wait, if they vacate wins and USC wins this year, I guess our consecutive streak might resume?
The possibilities are totally endless. The end result for me is that I really don’t care. The NCAA is a joke as an institution. That said, what I look forward to is watching a mid-level program that is just figuring out how to play on the national stage with a fan base that can’t act like they’ve been there before (because they haven’t) come to terms with the possibility that according to a system they used to condemn USC, they in fact have actually been on a 3 year losing streak in which they dressed up like idiots for nothing.
Now by all means. Discuss. Can’t wait. I don’t have a dog in the fight. After all, we beat Oregon last year and I’m sure Lyles was doing things clean just like the NCAA’s investigation…