Canzano: Mailbag deals with puppies, fake injuries, Pac-12, Blazers
Your questions, my answers...
I’m a sucker for puppy-dog eyes. No way around it. My three daughters and wife used them to convince me that getting a puppy is a good idea.
We’re picking up a Sheepadoodle this weekend.
Her name is “Chili.”
A Sheepadoodle is a cross between a sheepdog and poodle. Not to be confused with the “Shepadoodle,” which is a mix of a German Shepherd and poodle. One “e” makes all the difference. So it turns out we’re not just getting a new dog, but also a new conversation with strangers who ask “What kind of dog is that?” in the next decade.
I had some reservations when the idea of a new puppy was introduced. I softened when we went to visit the litter of squirming, playing puppies and I saw a sea of puppy-dog eyes.
Not on the puppies.
The eyes of my daughters and wife.
I grew up a little rural. We had dogs, cats and some livestock, too. I know how much work it is to raise animals. It’s a serious commitment. Amid all the cuteness and excitement, I felt like it was my job to present some resistance. You know, take a stand, push back, ask some questions and make sure everyone in our family unit understands what we’re getting into.
I was doing just that when we went to visit the litter last week. I looked over at my 8-year-old. She was nose-to-nose with that little puppy. She whispered to the dog: “Do you want to be my friend?”
I was done.
I’m having a lot of fun with this new writing endeavor. I am grateful for those who have subscribed or given others a gift subscription. I’m having a blast. I hope you’re enjoying it as much as I am.
Onto the mailbag…
Q: Any word on start time for the Oregon-Oregon State rivalry game next weekend in Corvallis? — @kazoo4573
A: I think Oregon vs. Oregon State will kickoff next Saturday at either 12:30 p.m. on ABC or at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN. If the Ducks beat Utah, my hunch is ABC will take the Ducks-Beavers at 12:30 p.m. If the Ducks lose to the Utes, I suspect ABC will instead opt for the Apple Cup (Washington at WSU) at 12:30 p.m.
The only other window still available is a 1 p.m. kickoff on the Pac-12 Networks, but I have that pegged for Utah-Colorado right now.
Q: Assuming the Pac-12 sells some of its TV rights to Amazon/Apple/Netflix, is there anything that would prevent those companies from also doing NIL deals with Pac-12 players? — @benwilkinson
A: There nothing that would prohibit any conference media partner from participating in a separate name-image-likeness deal with a player. I asked one long-time college administrator to model that for me. He said the line would be drawn at using university or Pac-12 “assets” to market the NIL deal.
Let’s hypothetically say Oregon’s Bo Nix and Amazon teamed up on a private deal. That’s fine. Amazon would be a partner of the Pac-12 and Oregon because of the separate media-rights contract. Amazon would be free to create a social-media ad featuring Nix, in a UO uniform, and market that on its own. But it couldn’t use any Pac-12 assets (i.e. social media accounts, the stadium video board at the Pac-12 title game or Autzen Stadium) to feature that advertisement.
Said the administrator: “That’s the line now, but it’s forever changing.”
Q: What’s the status of Kris Hutson for Saturday vs Utah? Looks like he was injured pretty badly at the end of the game vs UW. — @RenwickTaylor3
A: Fake questions will not be tolerated. But that was funny… for real.
Q: When a player admits to faking an injury to get an extra timeout and it goes unpunished why doesn’t everyone do it? — @GrubbsClipboard
A: Most players and coaches don’t like the public ridicule. Oregon got the message this week. I’d be surprised to see the Ducks pull it again, especially since it was an annoying tactic used against Oregon’s Chip Kelly-era teams years ago.
Q: Absolut vodka with vanilla Coke or vanilla Absolute with regular Coke? — @therockfordfile
A: Absolutely do what makes you happy on this one. But I’d just ask, when it’s done, would you rather have a bottle of vanilla-flavored vodka sitting around? Or some extra vanilla Coke?
Q: ‘Tis the season for the annual argument: Is “Die Hard” a Christmas movie? I feel like it’s not the holidays until Franz Gruber falls from Nakatomi Tower. — @SpatzSteven
A: After a lot of thought, I’ve decided it’s a Christmas movie. It’s literally the story of a man who is trying to get home for Christmas. That’s difficult to ignore. Further, Bruce Willis’ character in the movie is married to a woman named “Holly.” Also, the main villain — Gruber — references the holiday a few times, including when he says, “It’s Christmas, Theo, it’s a time for miracles.”
I used to get caught up on the fact that the film was released in July of 1988. That’s nowhere near the holiday. But then I learned that Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” was released in August of 1942. It happens.
Q: Who bolts first to the Big Ten: Oregon or Washington? — @RickyTicky5309
A: Neither. It doesn’t pencil out for the Big Ten right now. Also, both have a much easier path to the expanded College Football Playoff in the Pac-12. I expect the next 5 years to be much quieter than the last six months.
Q: Any thought on an eight-game conference schedule with a semifinal week (Top four teams playing at Sofi Stadium) the week before the conference championship game? — @Jeff_Ute
A: I like the creativity of that, but I think it potentially eliminates your best two teams from playoff consideration. What if the No. 3 and No. 4 teams upset No. 1 and No. 2 in the semifinal? Do you risk a lucrative at-large berth in the expanded CFP?
I believe the Pac-12 will drop from nine to eight conference games as soon as 2023 or 2024. But I wonder if the better way to generate extra exposure and revenue from ESPN would be to create an annual non-conference crossover series vs. the ACC.
The top matchups every season (i.e. Oregon vs. Miami, Utah vs. Clemson, Washington vs. Florida State) might be played at SoFi Stadium and/or Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. The rest become valuable home games for the Pac-12 and ACC teams.
Q: Are you buying the Trail Blazers as a top Western Conference seed come playoff time? Balanced scoring with a bench that can really get after it. Not seeing anything that says this isn’t sustainable. — @DevoutDuck03
A: The Blazers have been one of the most pleasant surprises of the NBA season. Fans had it coming. I love the energy and passion. Give general manager Joe Cronin some credit. He’s assembled a roster that is easy to root for and fun to see play. Also, coach Chauncey Billups has demonstrated some proof of performance.
That said, I need a larger sample size before I’m ready to anoint the Blazers as a top-four seed in the playoffs. But I’ve gone from viewing them as a “play-in” game team to seeing them as a potential No. 5-6 seed.
Q: What do you think the UC Regents end game is by punting their decision on UCLA to December 14? It seems if they were ok going Big Ten, this would be done. Are they trying to clear up legal things to overturn, give Pac-12 more time to present number on staying, or angling to get Cal an invite? — @RoaringForkDvl
A: Cal isn’t getting invited to the Big Ten anytime soon. It’s possible the regents simply have some other more pressing issues on their plate right now. I listened in on the rest of the meeting this week and was struck by the serious nature of the other issues they discussed. They’re focused on campus safety, crunched budgets and affordable housing. The rest of us just want to know where the Bruins will kick off in 2024.
There’s about a 10 percent chance UCLA reverses course and stays in the Pac-12. I wonder if the extra month gives the Pac-12 time to present media-rights figures that would make leaving the conference a more difficult decision.
Q: What do you think is going to happen with UCLA vs. USC this weekend — @cbstipe
A: I am excusing UCLA’s absence last weekend. The Bruins loss to Arizona was puzzling. I think UCLA is the better, more complete, team. They’re also playing at home. I made my weekly picks for all the Pac-12 games here. I think the Bruins will beat the Trojans.
Q: What’s the best/most rabid fan base in the Pac-12? I say Oregon and Oregon State are No. 1 and No. 2. You can say that’s because there are very few pro sports alternatives in the state and you might have a point. But it’s still true. — @bbasstravel
A: You need to get to Rice-Eccles Stadium in Utah for a football game. It’s wild on a game day. I’ll just say the the competition for “most rabid” Pac-12 football fan base next season would potentially include the following: Utah, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington and Washington State.
It depends on the sport, too. If you’re talking about men’s college basketball, you’d have to add Arizona to the mix. And in women’s college basketball, Oregon and Oregon State are tough to beat. Some others, too. This would be a wonderful study. You have me thinking.
Q: How many wins does Wayne Tinkle need to get this year to get off the hot seat? — @wochnick
A: The Beavers aren’t going to finish with a great season record, but they’re going to be a lot more fun to watch. His roster is young. Tinkle’s seat will still be warm at the end of the season. Keep an eye on his recruiting wins.
Q: What is the best interview that made an impact in you life and changed how you see people or their circumstances? — @scott52w
A: This question could be a column. It’s good. So many come to mind. Every interview changes how I think or see people, a little. This week on the radio show, I spoke with Cal broadcaster Joe Starkey, former USC coach John Robinson, Oregon State broadcaster Mike Parker, Oregon coach Dan Lanning, Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith and Utah coach Kyle Whittingham, among others.
I learned something in every one of those interviews. It’s important not just to ask questions, but to actually listen when you’re interviewing someone.
Q: The gravitational pull in college sports is to do whatever you can to generate more revenue. In light of this, what can be done to retain and recapture the traditions and aura that ultimately made college sports special? — @kevinmmarks
A: Fans are going to have to hold tight to tradition and nostalgia. But college administrators and conference commissioners also need a reminder than the glue to some of these revenue streams are long-time, loyal fans themselves. The traditions matter. Fans matter. We’ve seen incredible growth and advancements of revenue in this era. A lot of it has fostered opportunities for athletes and increased exposure for college programs, but college athletics is also on thin ice with some sports fans who are turned off by it.
Q: Do you ever have people you interview call you back mad after you talk about the interview afterward on the radio, especially if you are critical on them — @jeichner79
A: I’ve had a few tense conversations with column and radio subjects over the years. It happens. I’m opinionated and I don’t lob softballs. If a tough question needs to be asked, I ask it. Most interview subjects seem to understand that.
I talk about the interviews after the guest leaves the radio show because it’s what listeners do themselves. Was the guest great? Bad? Authentic or not? Which part of the interview was the best and worst? I geek out on that stuff.
My aim is to treat the subject fairly, while serving the reader/listener. I’ve had a couple of subjects over the years call me the day after and want to talk about something I said after they got off air. I like having those conversations, even if the interview subject isn’t happy with me. I’d rather talk through it.
I think it’s why so many sources — even ones I’ve argued with — come back on the show or continue to talk with me after a critical column I’ve written about them. They feel respected and treated fairly, even if we disagree on a subject.
Q: There has been early talks of Washington extending Kalen DeBoer. Given the role quarterback Michael Penix Jr. has played in fast tracking the turnaround… is an extension is warranted? — @howeskevin
A: I’d pump the brakes on that if I were UW athletic director Jennifer Cohen. DeBoer was a sneaky-good hire. I said that from day No. 1. But I don’t think the Huskies need to overreact to the first-year success unless some other school comes calling.
Give DeBoer a public victory lap, make him feel appreciated, but wait to erect the statue or make a more significant financial commitment. DeBoer’s buyout is $12 million. That’s OK. He’ll make $3.1 million in base salary this season. His agent would be smart to push for a bump. If I’m UW, I engage in good faith talks with an eye toward doing something at the end of next season if DeBoer continues to win.
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Re: Why doesn't everyone fake injuries
Well, I'd hope that maybe we could at least attempt to have some modicum of ethics and integrity being coached. I realize in the shuffle of all the money going around (particularly in a place like Eugene), nobody seems to care about a single thing besides the playoff and "winning at all costs".
Call me old fashioned (happy to accept that), but these are still mostly all just student athletes, most of whom won't ever sniff a pro football career and it'd be nice if we could not "gameplan to cheat". What are we teaching kids when that's an acceptable part of "the plan"?
That's mostly a rhetorical question and the answers aren't positive.
I'm very happy that many, if not most, coaching staffs still have some integrity and care for instilling some correct values -- none of which involve cheating.
As an aside -- if I were Oregon, I'd can Lupoi. That guy is a POS, a cheater and frankly not a good DC either. Surely they can find a better person for that role.
John - given the PAC12 turmoil I thought you’d find this excerpt from Bruce Jenkins SF Chronicle column today of interest……..
These are depressing times for the Cal and Stanford football teams. Even worse than the won-lost records is an unavoidably bleak future with football-obsessed rivals gaining a massive edge in high-profile player transfers and lavish NIL deals. That’s just not how the Bay Area schools operate, which brings to mind a suggestion from Gary Cavalli, now retired after a long career in the Stanford athletic department. “I would consider forming a league of programs that still value academics,” he wrote on his Inside Track blog, “perhaps including the likes of Stanford, Cal, Northwestern, Rice, Vanderbilt, Boston College, Syracuse, Duke, Virginia, Tulane, Army, Navy, Air Force, and others who feel that the current descent into professionalism has gotten out of hand. Rather than try to keep up with the Joneses, why not form a league that actually stands for something? A league that gives priority to education. Whose players fill out the same applications and meet the same admissions standards as the rest of the campus. Whose players actually go to class. A league where ‘student-athlete’ would actually mean something. Andrew Luck might call it ‘The Nerd League.’”