Canzano: Mailbag focuses on Pac-12, Oregon upset... and a Beaver-Duck fight?
Your letters... my answers...
Miami coach Mario Cristobal invited me to come to Miami and do a behind-the-scenes column on him this football season. Mississippi State’s Mike Leach told me to come to Key West, Fla. and see him in the offseason, maybe take a bike ride, and write a column.
Can you imagine that?
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Onto the mailbag…
Q: Is it still possible for UCLA to back out of the Big Ten and stay put in the Pac-12 with maybe adding San Diego State?￼ — Bill Harrington
A: The Pac-12 has left the door open for that exact scenario, but I’m doubtful UCLA will turn its back on $72 million a year in media rights payouts from the Big Ten. Still, I won’t be surprised if we learn that the Pac-12 asked ESPN and others to include the Bruins in the valuation models for the conference’s media rights bids. Would make sense for commissioner George Kliavkoff to put a number in front of UCLA and do everything he can, but I don’t expect this to happen.
Q: If the Pac-12 dissolves and the Beavers end up getting relegated to the Mountain West will they be crippled in debt because of the Reser Stadium expansion assuming their annual conference payouts will be slashed? Or would someone like Phil Knight come to the rescue? — Ken Gausman
A: I do NOT think the Pac-12 will dissolve in this cycle. I’m not with the gloom-bots and doom-droids, but let’s play the hypothetical game. Oregon State goes to the Mountain West and the media rights payouts drop from an estimated $35 million a year to less than $5 million a year. That scenario is ugly. But the current stadium project is funded by gifts and bonds. I balk at the thought of Phil Knight being everyone’s economic go-to savior. I have him down to buy the Trail Blazers, subsidize the Pac-12, continue to elevate Oregon and pour his fortune into a line of philanthropic endeavors. I often wonder how he feels about the rest of us spending his fortune?
Q: I'm 61 years old but actually had a dream recently that I was working as your intern and going to all these great events. Any chance of that actually happening? — Paul Roth
A: That might make a fun column. Maybe I will come up with an “internship” program for 60-plus year old die-hard readers and listeners. Get your resumé ready. Also, my former interns will tell you that it’s not a glamorous life. Very few ever saw a game up close. Most of the behind-the-scenes work isn’t thrilling, but it’s necessary.
Q: What’s up with future of the Rose Bowl game. Rose Bowl reps are ecstatic with UCLA’s move to Big Ten which will fill the seats with visiting fans from the Big Ten teams at UCLA home games. Will Pac-10/12 get aced out of the New Year’s Day game at some point? — @dpstang
A: The Rose Bowl held its annual meetings earlier this month in Napa Valley, Calif. Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren and Pac-12 boss man George Kliavkoff were both present. Must have been awkward. I reached out to the Rose Bowl for comment on this front. Reps didn’t return messages. I think that bowl game has to be wondering how it fits in the new world of college football. My sense is, the looming expansion of the College Football Playoff will include the bowl game. That could blow up the traditional Big Ten vs. Pac-12 matchup, or the bowl could push to have one of those two conference participate in some/most years.
Q: What are the main elements Oregon would need to control to win vs Georgia? Get turnovers? Ball control? Defense? Score a ton? They had just enough to beat tOSU play year, could it happen again? — @themilman
A: Yes and yes and yes to all. Georgia is a 17.5-point favorite. The Bulldogs are replacing a ton of starters. It’s a Week 1 game. Weird things happen in the early part of the season. I think if Oregon plays a clean game, and is as good as a lot of us think on defense, it can be in this game. I like the Ducks +17.5 points.
Q: Chances of a Pac-12 sweep over the SEC in week 1? — @rjhaftmann
A: I’ll put it at 25 percent probability. Most of that hinges on Oregon because I think Utah is absolutely going to win at Florida. Miami coach Mario Cristobal told me last week that he thinks the Ducks may beat Georgia. Cristobal said it with a straight face. Is the former UO coach biased because he recruited most of Oregon’s key players? Or does Cristobal know something?
Q: How do you think the police investigation at San Diego State affects them as a target of Pac-12 expansion? Does it at all? — @bryanmiller513
A: It crossed my mind and I’m glad you asked. We’d need to know more about what San Diego State officials knew and what they did about it. Five months of silence isn’t a good look. The Pac-12 presidents would likely want answers, too, before voting to include SDSU.
Q: National anthem preference at football games? Band or singer? — @allenevans53_d
A: I vote for the band at college games. Give the kids the stage. It’s part of what makes college football different than the NFL. It still wants to be different, right?
Q: Is the Portland Diamond Project gaining or losing steam to land an MLB team by the end of 2022? — @JoeyAMancuso
A: There are a few MLB franchises now posturing as if they’re going to be for sale. More options is good for the effort, but what it needs is some political will to go with the investors and stadium renderings. I think your timeline is too ambitious, though.
Q: If a MLB ballpark was built in PDX suburbs, where? Beaverton? Gresham? Or? — @bbasstravel
A: I am convinced going to the suburbs is the only way to get this done. I like Beaverton because I think there’s ample real estate and some will. I also heard the group may have scouted a site in Oregon City near Willamette Falls that is currently owned by the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. Can you imagine Shohei Ohtani hitting balls into the Willamette River? And a MLB ballpark, outfitted with a casino, built with largely private funds? I’d check that out. I’ll follow up soon here.
Q: How important is the Portland State football team to the school and the community? Is it possible the administration might make the hard and difficult decision in the future to eliminate it and just continue with the other existing sports? — @2022SportsGuy
A: I don’t think PSU athletics is getting strong administrative support. It’s sad because a whole bunch of universities nationally have recognized that a strong football program can raise the profile of a university. I don’t think PSU will eliminate football. It subsidizes the rest of the athletic department. I also don’t think they’ll drop to the Division II level. There’s nobody in the region to play games against. And the NAIA presidents aren’t going to allow PSU in, either. My bet is the Vikings will survive and continue to play payday games that fund the other sports programs.
Q: Chet Holgrem - is he a legit NBA player? — @lesjoel123
A: I was skeptical before the foot injury. Holmgren got pushed around in the NCAA Tournament last year. His growth curve was going to be really steep, even pre-injury. But the NBA is a league built on speculative plays and I get why Oklahoma City took a flyer on a 7-foot-1 guy who can run the floor.
Q: What is the likelihood LIV Golf comes back to Portland or the PNW for 2023? Also, why does the PGA Tour not schedule tournaments in Oregon or Washington? Seems like LIV can build a fan base out here while the PGA Tour neglects this region of the US. — @TylerHergert
A: The LIV event at Pumpkin Ridge was well attended and those who went told me it was entertaining. Even those who didn’t want to like it, admitted the organizers did a decent job on event day. That said, I don’t expect the event back and I think we’re already seeing the PGA Tour react with some new twists. The PGA needs to play an annual event in the Pacific Northwest. The weather doesn’t always cooperate but it’s an untapped region.
Q: Who would win a fight between an actual Duck and an actual Beaver? — @scrappymutt
A: Witnesses would win.
Have a great weekend everyone…
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