Notes on BCS hopes for Oregon, a freshman Beaver in the wings, a Title IX complaint resolved, and the OSAA rankings
Batting it around on several subjects as we swing into another sports weekend:
• Oregon carries a No. 8 BCS ranking into Saturday's slate of games, but there may be an opportunity to move up with a victory at Washington.
Duck fans should be rooting for top-ranked Louisiana State to beat No. 2 Alabama convincingly. Voters on the Harris and Coaches' polls will be looking at comparative scores, factoring in LSU's season-opening 40-27 win over Oregon. And since the Tigers and Crimson Tide are both in the Southeastern Conference's Western Division, they won't play again in the SEC championship game.
Not that the Ducks would leapfrog Alabama, but they could get much closer to the Tide.
UO supporters should hope that No. 14 Kansas State can win at home against No. 3 Oklahoma State. The Wildcats have a fighting chance.
No. 6 Oklahoma isn't likely to fall at 5-3 Texas A and M, but it could happen.
Then there is No. 9 South Carolina at No. 7 Arkansas. With a win at Seattle, Oregon would move ahead of the Razorbacks, though there would be the risk of the Gamecocks jumping past the Ducks.
• Disappointing to learn that Oregon assistant coaches John Neal and Scott Frost have refused interview requests this season.
Are you telling me they can't spend an occasional five or 10 minutes with the media, talking about their players?
Seems as if it's part of the job. More than that, it's just common courtesy from one human being to another - and in an important way, a service to the loyal Oregon fans who would like to read their views once in a while.
Thankfully, such UO assistants as Mark Helfrich, Nick Aliotti and Gary Campbell are generous with their time with the Fourth Estate.
• Oregon State basketball freshman Daniel Gomis, a 6-10, 225-pound true freshman from Senegal, has not yet begun to practice after breaking a leg during summer workouts.
Too bad, because the 20-year-old graduate of Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va., is built like a man already, and those who have watched him say he can play.
Coach Craig Robinson calls Gomis a hybrid of OSU front-liners Angus Brandt and Eric Moreland.
'Daniel is stronger than Eric and more athletic than Angus,' Robinson says. 'We'll take it slowly. If he is ready by the start of the Pac-12 season, we'll figure out if we're going to throw him out there. But we might redshirt him.'
• It kind of slipped under the radar, but the U.S. Office for Civil Rights chose a few weeks ago not to pursue an investigation into Title IX complaints against 60 school districts in Oregon.
That resonated not only with me but with Eric Pearson, president of the Washington, D.C.-based American Sports Council, which has stood up for schools against unwarranted attacks claiming inequitable opportunities for females in athletics.
Pearson takes issue with the person who filed anonymously against nearly 200 schools in the states of Washington and Oregon.
'If you can have an anonymous complaint that covers that many schools,' he asks, 'what's to stop somebody from somebody from doing it to every school in America?
'We're glad to see (the USOCR) choose not to investigate, so that it doesn't lead to the unnecessary elimination of (male) teams.'
• Just wondering why NBA players can't take a tip from actors whose voices are used with 'The Simpsons' on TV. Given the economic climate, they chose to accept a paycut of about 30 percent from the $440,000 per episode they had been making with their last contract.
• Do you know how the Oregon School Activities Association arrives at its RPI rankings for the state's football teams, which become important for seeding purposes in the playoffs?
The computer-based formula factors a team's weighted winning percentage as determined by game location (25 percent), opponents' win percentage (50 percent) and opponents' opponents' win percentage (25 percent).
I look at the rankings going into Friday's play-in round of the playoffs and think they look pretty good - but not perfect.
For instance, Lake Oswego and Sheldon, both 9-0, are ranked 1-2 in Class 6A. The Lakers get the nod over Sheldon due to a superior schedule, but it just feels as if the order should be switched around.
And I'm not buying that 7-2 West Linn is No. 3, even while playing in a Three Rivers League that features four of the top 14 teams.
In the 5A ranks, Sherwood is No. 1 with Marist No. 2. Again, my take is the order should be reversed. The rest of the 5A top 10 seems pretty solid, with West Albany, Lebanon, Corvallis and Silverton all representing the very-competitive Mid-Willamette Conference.
After Friday's play-in round, No. 1 will face No. 32 in next week's official first round of the playoffs, No. 2 will go against No. 31, and so on down the list. So if the rankings are at least close, it won't matter - much.
'You won't find one person in this office or on the ranking committee that thinks this system is perfect,' Steve Walker, the OSAA's PR honcho, tells me. 'But it's better than the old playoff system.'
No argument there.
• Finally, employees from Nike and Adidas will square off in a basketball exhibition on Nov. 25 as part of the sixth-annual David Heller Hoopfest at Central Catholic High.
Heller is the former basketball player who died of a heart condition prior to his senior season with the Rams in 2006.
Leading up to the event, Nike and adidas employees are fundraising for the David Heller Foundation, with proceeds going to raising awareness for the importance of cardiac screening among young athletes. Both companies will match their employees' donations, and Nike will also donate profits from a samples sale.
Good stuff all around.