Tag Archive: Oregon State Beavers


Hanukkah in Seattle?

New Year’s Eve in Los Angeles? Ditto for Austin, College Station and Lubbock?

Or maybe it is the equivalent of a New Year’s Day hangover in Corvallis and Seattle with the Oregon Ducks playing in the Rose Bowl?

Isaac and Big Suke, the talking heads on Portland’s “The Fan” (1080 AM) were discussing Tuesday how Oregon State Beaver fans were anticipating the equivalent of Christmas Eve with the NCAA bestowing gifts to be opened in the form of crippling sanctions on the University of Oregon football program.

There were some stocking stuffers indeed, but not what were prayed for in Corvallis, Seattle and other exotic locales. There are a few sore wrists in Eugene…but nothing more.

What do you get when you cross a Washington Husky with a ground-hog? Six more weeks of NCAA probation.

Will Husky fans try to reverse this joke, substituting an Oregon Duck with a ground-hog? Probably. Deep down they know that the rampant “loss of institutional” control under former Washington Coach Don James doesn’t even come close to the relatively minor offenses committed by Oregon.

Now that Washington’s dreams of crippling punishment against Oregon have been dashed, the pressure is on the Huskies to end Oregon’s unprecedented nine-game winning streak over the Dawgs will intensify. Circle October 12 in Husky Stadium on your calendar.

For those of you scoring at home, Oregon received probation of three-years, a loss of one scholarship per year for the same time period, an 18-month “show cause” penalty against former Head Coach Chip Kelly (who will serve out his sentence in the NFL) and a reduction of paid recruiting visits from 56 to 37 in the next two years.

No bowl ban.

The penalties arise as a result of a $25,000 payment to Willie Lyles and his Texas-oriented “recruiting service provider” firm.

Yahoo Sports, which broke the story two years ago, clearly wanted blood to flow. They still want blood to flow, particularly from Chip Kelly, as evidenced from today’s coverage. Sorry to disappoint you, sorry indeed.

What is also causing the crucify Oregon crowd to gnash their collective teeth is the massive coverage of New England Pats tight end Aaron Hernandez being charged with murder in the same news cycle. Sorry Yahoo Sports, but an East Coast murder investigation trumps a West Coast recruiting service snafu any day of the week. In fact, God’s time zone transgressions (e.g., EDT or EST) beat anything on the Left Coast virtually any time.

They say that a stopped clock is right twice a day.

Did the institutional model of arbitrariness and capriciousness (a.k.a. NCAA) actually get it right for a change? Is that different from a slap on the wrist as interpreted by ESPN’s Joe Schad and Brock Huard (former Udub quarterback).

Consider there are no NCAA regulations governing recruiting services. Cal, Tennessee and others used the services of Willie Lyles. Where are the sanctions against Cal and Tennessee, both Autzen Stadium visitors this season?

In direct contrast with USC’s former AD Mike Garrett, who fought the NCAA tooth and nail, Oregon cooperated with the institutional giant from Indianapolis, Indiana, even proposing sanctions and asking for a summary disposition, basically a plea bargain. To USC’s credit, new AD Pat Haden demonstrated how honey as opposed to vinegar wins more friends than enemies, including the NCAA.

Even though I have no evidence to back this up, one must wonder how it would look if Oregon was slapped with a bowl ban for a $25,000 payment to Willie Lyles with NCAA boss Mark Emmert having previously served as the President of…you guessed it…The University of Washington.

Finally, the key player in Le Affaire Lyles was Texas five-star stud Lache Seastrunk. He was buried on the Oregon running back depth-chart, transferred to Baylor in Texas, and never played a down for Oregon.

Where is the benefit to Oregon?

This is a case of so many, waiting way too long for so little.

Has the NCAA shed its record of inconsistency? No.

Has the ground shifted in terms of Oregon Football? You bet ya.

The program that was at best ignored for decades is today respected, feared and in some cases hated.

There is a love-hate relationship with Oregon, its fancy uniforms, incredible digs and Uncle Phil and his Nike money too.

To the good folks in Corvallis, Seattle and elsewhere, there is more to come from Eugene, starting August 31.








Fed up with outrageous California prices, congestion, smog, fog, taxes, deficits and hassle? Thinking of throwing in the towel and moving the clan to Oregon? Before you do, make sure you are knowledgeable about the BTCI.


Yes, the Back-to-California-Index. It is a barometer (notice the weather connection?) that indicates whether the conditions in Oregon are low or high in terms of the probability of a move back to California.

First, I need to present my credentials when it comes to writing about this sensitive and tricky subject: the very real Mother of All Lifestyle Tradeoffs when it comes to living in the Beaver (gag) State as opposed to the Golden State. I grew up in the “Bedroom of Los Angeles,” Glendale, sandwiched in between “Beautiful Downturn Burbank” and Pasadena, which has this big parade and football game under gorgeous blue skies and 70-degree weather on New Year’s Day. Oregonians can only fantasize about 70 degrees on January 1 or 2.


I graduated from USC. Worked in the Governor’s Office in Sacramento and later in Silicon Valley. All-in-all, I have lived, worked and played in the Golden State for more than four decades (dating myself).

My adopted state and present home state is Oregon. I studied Journalism at the University of Oregon, resided in Portland for five years and steadfastly maintained Oregon football season tickets (rooting for the Ducks before it was cool) at Autzen Stadium for 22 years. Presently, I am serving as a Graduate Teaching Fellow at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, pursuing my master’s degree in “Communication and Society.” I am writing this post on a warm, sunny afternoon under blue skies and soaring canopies of Douglas fir trees. The BTCI is very low.

So how do you measure the Back to California Index or BTCI? Using a Likert-style scale, a low BTCI such as a 1-2-3 indicates that there is no chance of a return to California any time soon. A medium-range BTCI (4-5-6) equates to the transplant effectively tolerating the tradeoff between California and Oregon. A higher score (7-8) equates to the ex-Golden Stater questioning the sanity of her-or-his decision. A 9-10 score on the BTCI signals that capitulation is imminent and a return to smog, fog, traffic, congestion, unreasonable prices and foreclosures is in the offing.

Let’s look at some examples of low and high BTCIs:


● Extremely low BTCI (1 or 2): The California plates are off the car. Warm summer/early fall conditions. Trip to the Coast (Oregonians go to the “Coast;” Californians to the “Beach.”) Checking out Crater Lake, Bend, Sisters and the high desert. Walking through the Pearl or ABC Districts in Portland. Sipping pinot noirs, pinot gris and sparkling wines in the Willamette Valley. Joining the madness that is Autzen Stadium, particularly when Washington or Oregon State comes-a-calling. The leaves may already be changing. Daytime weather is warm, nighttimes are cool. No sales tax. Low housing costs. Reasonable prospects for a fifteen-minute commute. Life is good.

● Low BTCI (3 or 4): You put your key in the ignition. What? You can’t pump you own gas. If you want to pump your own gas, go back to California or up to Washington. Not here. How come the big-rigs are carrying triple loads? The answer is because they can…so when they are spraying rain water from their tires it is three-as-opposed-to-two sets of big rig tires hydrating your car. The fast lane means absolutely nothing to most Oregonians. In California, you expect that slow cars in the fast lane to move over. That does not calibrate for seemingly oblivious speed-limit drivers in Oregon’s fast lanes.

● Moderate BTCI (5-6): The property tax bill just showed up and it is due soon. Hint: there was no Proposition 13, just wimpy Measure 5, in Oregon. (Wait until early spring to learn about the state income tax and the Multnomah County income tax, if you live in that particular über-blue Portland county). It’s never 45 degrees in San Diego on an October morning. Huh? I have to wear a sweater, sweat shirt or parka in October? The weather dude or dudette promised “sun breaks” today. “Where are my friggin’ sun breaks?” When will it be 70-degrees or more again? April? May? June? Hint: If you expect 70 degrees in any of these three months, you may very well be disappointed.

● High Moderate BTCI (7-8): It’s wet, cloudy and damp. In fact, it is always wet, cloudy and damp. Did I mention “overcast?” The sky is a perpetual white over the front-lawn poetry dispensers, the sustainable gardens, the parade of NPR-powered Prius,’ the organic, fair-trade, shade-grown caffeination stations. And when spring comes the sky is still white, but all the surrounding fields of grasses and trees start doing their thing big time…that’s when the sneezing and wheezing begins.


● Extremely high BTCI (9-10): It’s been raining for six weeks straight. The satellite reveals a series of inbound storms stretching across the Pacific from Japan to Oregon. Black ice is forming in the perpetual shady spots in the morning. Can I safely drive my Miata down the hill? The mercury dips. The ice forms. It may snow. It may not snow. The roads start to crack. It might get up to 38-degrees today…or maybe not. The short commutes, the reasonable housing prices, the lack of a sales tax don’t seem to be so important today. The 405 in LA or the 880 in the Bay Area don’t look so intimidating, mind numbing and frustrating. You may even be missing your favorite morning shock jock. Only $800,000-plus for a shack by a LaLaLand or Silicon Valley freeway? Hmmm… Can I get an adjustable rate mortgage and soon be underwater like all the rest? At least, it will be sunny and not raining.

The annual grudge football game in Oregon is played in late November/early December and is called the Civil War. It features a counterculture vs. agriculture matchup of two highly aquatic creatures, the Ducks and the Beavers…What was your first clue?

Editor’s Note: Full credit for the invention of the BTCI needs to be directed to my incredibly talented PR friend, the late Ken Kohli of the Intermountain Forest Industry Association. He referenced the BTCI for Californians moving to Couer d’ Alene, Idaho. I still miss him.



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