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Oregon Ducks 2011-12 Football Preview.

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By: Kelly McGillivray

Coming up a wrist and a field goal short of raising the BCS National Championship trophy last season, the 2011 Oregon Ducks have reloaded and have a return trip to a BCS bowl on their mind.  Despite a clouded offseason that saw Ducks making headlines for off the field incidents, on the field the 2011 Ducks have solidified themselves as one of the elite programs in college football.  Replacing the seniors who led the 2010 squad to the first ever 12-0 record in school history and the only team in Pac-10 history to go 9-0 in conference play will is a task that cannot be completed in one year, but the newcomers to Eugene look to be the most “field ready” group in recent years.

At the head of that group is Los Angeles native De’anthony Thomas, who has drawn comparisons to Reggie Bush with his exceptional elusiveness and speed at running back.  Another freshman who should contribute on offense is receiver Devon Blackmon from Fontana, CA.  A quarterback in high school, Blackmon is a speedy wideout who should fit well into Oregon’s high-powered, hyperfast offensive attack.

The Oregon offense looks the same as it did in 2010, with a backfield that got bigger and stronger.  Doak Walker Award winner and Heisman finalist LaMichael James will once again be receiving handoffs from Darron Thomas.  Kenjon Barner, the other feature back, has added significant muscle to his frame and gives the Ducks two legitimate #1 options at running back.  Josh Huff, who was held out of a majority of fall camp due to an undisclosed injury, Lavasier Tuinei and Justin Hoffman will be the main passing targets for Thomas.  David Paulson returns for his senior season at tight end, and next to him the Ducks have filled the three holes in the offensive line left by Bo Thran, Jordan Holmes, and CE Kaiser.

On defense, Terrence Mitchell is expected to fill in for Cliff Harris in the season opener as Harris is expected to be suspended following his much-publicized driving ticket for speeding 118 MPH, and line up opposite senior Anthony Gildon at the cornerback position.  John Boyett and Eddie Pleasant round out the secondary, and Josh Kaddu, Michael Clay and Dewitt Stuckey will start the season at linebacker.  Terrell Turner and Dion Jordan will line up at end, with Jordan playing the hybrid end position that Kenny Rowe gave opposing offensive coordinators nightmares.  Taylor Hart and Ricky Heimuli are the likely the interior lineman on defense, but with the rotation the Ducks defense has used in recent years expect to see Brandon Hanna, Issac Remington, Wade Keliikipi, Boseko Lokombo, and a wide variety of other secondary personnel.

Looking at the schedule, it doesn’t get tougher than a showcase game like the Cowboys Classic against LSU.  Playing in a game that LSU turned down a home game for, 37,000 tickets were made available for LSU, making this season opener in Dallas, Texas a must win if the Ducks hope to be in contention for a return trip to the BCS National Championship Game.  Home games against Cal, Arizona State, Washington State, USC, and Oregon State make this year’s home schedule certainly a favorable one if the Ducks hope to make the first ever Pac-12 Championship Game on December 2 a home affair.  An early conference road challenge begins the season for the Ducks, who open Pac-12 play at Arizona, after two other non-conference matchups at Autzen with Nevada and Missouri State.  Other road games include Colorado, the final game at Husky Stadium before its much needed renovation, followed by what should decide the Pac-12 North crown and home field for the Championship Game, in addition to a potential Natty contender elimination game, on November 12 on the farm against Heisman runner-up Andrew Luck and Stanford.  (Two years ago the Jeremiah Masoli-led Ducks went into Stanford sky high after beating USC on Halloween a week earlier and found out just how hard playing on the Farm can be as Toby Gerhart and Andrew Luck ripped through the Duck defense en route to a 51-42 Cardinal victory.)

With Chip Kelly at the helm, expect another season of Fast, Hard, Finish on both sides of the ball.  The offense is full of speed and playmakers.  The defense has added size to its speed and uses a rotation that allows them to go full speed every play.  In addition, traditionally Chip has had a few tricks on special teams as well.    Duck fans should expect a third straight trip to the BCS, the only question is…which one?

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New University of Oregon Nike Football Uniforms.

*Be sure to check out WWW.ENLITEN.ME for more blogs as well as our clothing line!*

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Released 8/25/11 – Nike unveiled the new Oregon Pro Combat football uniforms today. They will be worn against LSU in the Cowboys Classic in Arlington, Texas. The game will be played in Dallas Cowboys stadium (JerryWorld) on Sept. 3, 2011 and will be shown on prime time ESPN. College GameDay will be on hand for the first week of college football as well. Below are some pictures of the new uniforms, which are similar to what Oregon wore in the BCS National Championship game. The uniforms are again really light helping keep players cool, and they also feature Kevlar, the same material used in bullet proof vests. Again the “BLUR” yellow makes appearances on the helmet, gloves, jersey and shoes, which are all new. The undershirts are Nike dry-fit and sport the players numbers on the sleeves.



UPDATE 12/15/10 – Nike recently released new Nike Pro Combat football uniforms for Oregon to wear in the BCS National Championship game in Glendale, Arizona on January 10th, 2010. The new uniforms are similar to the ones that the Ducks have been wearing this season, with a few notable differences. The uniforms were unveiled at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, with NFL players as models. Here is a picture of what they will be wearing:

*EDIT* To see the exact uniforms that were worn in the BCS National Championship game, scroll down to the bottom of this post.

Close up of the gloves

These new uniforms are similar to the all whites worn against USC this year, with the carbon fiber helmets that were worn during the Portland St. game (yellow O’s on the sides). The numbers are also outlined with the bright yellow that matches the socks and the back of the shoes. The material of the uniform is the newest and best material which is way lighter than the previous uniforms.

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June 2009

Nike has kept these new uniforms a big secret around town, but finally released Oregon’s new football uniforms for the upcoming season. They are similar to the “winged” all black uniforms that Oregon broke out for the Arizona game last season. A few thing to note about the new uniforms.

*All new material – 25% lighter than previous uniforms

*No longer any yellow pants or yellow helmets.

*A new “silver” color is added to the uniform combinations, along with a “carbon fiber” helmet. (down the middle of the helmet it says ‘go hard. go oregon. go ducks’)

I am interested into hearing what others thinking about the new uniforms?

Attached first is a picture of last seasons jerseys, followed by a few pictures of the new ones, along with a link to a slide-show of the new jerseys.

Last seasons uniforms:

10163

NEW 2009-2010 Oregon Football Uniforms:

NIUEBVVFVOVBNOI.20090623222206HQOSNOHPCXCOIRI.20090623222044DZXWPNQUGMEXPVV.20090623222255(Players pictured: 2- Ward, T.J., 39- Tukuafu, Will, 6- Thurmond III, Walter, 7- Costa, Nate, 83- Dickson, Ed)

Click on the link below to view more pictures in a slide-show format on the University of Oregon’s athletic website.

Photo Gallery: New Football Uniforms – GoDucks.com The University of Oregon Official Athletics Web Site

*All photos courtesy of goducks.com*

Here is a look at what Oregon wore in each of their games during the 2009-2010 season. What combination is your favorite?

2009-2010 Season Uniforms:

*Oregon At Boise St. 09-03-2009 (White, White, White) – Jeremiah Masoli

*Oregon Vs. Purdue 09-12-2009 (Green, Green, Green) – Kenjon Barner

*Oregon Vs. Utah 09-19-2009 (White, Green, Grey) – Walter Thurmond III

*Oregon Vs. California 09-26-2009 (*RETRO* Yellow, Green, Yellow) – Ed Dickson

*Oregon Vs Washington St. 10-03-2009 (Black, Yellow, Black) – LaMichael James

*Oregon At UCLA 10-10-2009 (Green, White, Green) – Nate Costa

*Oregon At Washington 10-24-2009 (Black, White, Black) – LaMichael James

*Oregon Vs. USC 10-31-2009 *Halloween “Fright Night”* (Green, Green, Black) – Offensive Unit

usc

*Oregon At Stanford 11-07-2009 (Green, White, White) – Jeff Maehl

*Oregon Vs. Arizona St. 11-14-2009 (Black, Black, Black) – LaMichael James

*Oregon At Arizona 11-21-2009 (Green, White, Black) – Ed Dickson

*Oregon Vs. Oregon St. 12-03-2009 (*RETRO W/NEW “O” Yellow, Green, White) – LaMichael James

*Oregon Vs. Ohio St. 01-01-2010 ROSE BOWL (White, Green, White) – Kenjon Barner

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2010-2011 Season Uniforms:

*Oregon Vs. New Mexico 09-04-2010 (Black, Black, Gray) – Kenjon Barner

*Oregon At Tennessee 09-11-2010 (Green, White W/Green, White) – Cliff Harris

*Oregon Vs. Portland St. 09-18-2010 (Carbon Fiber W/ Yellow O, Green, Gray) – Darron Thomas

*Oregon At Arizona St. 09-25-2010 (Green, White W/Silver, Green) – Kenny Rowe

*Oregon Vs. Stanford 10-02-2010 (Green, Green, Green) – Eddie Pleasant

*Oregon At Washington St. 10-09-2010 (Black, White W/Green, Black) – LaMichael James

*Oregon Vs. UCLA 10-21-2010 (Black, Yellow, Black) – Darron Thomas

*Oregon At USC 10-30-2010(White, White W/Green, White) – Jeff Maehl


*Oregon Vs. Washington 11-06-2010 (Black, Black, Black) – Brandon Bair

*Oregon At California 11-13-2010 (White, White W/Green, Green) – Cliff Harris

*Oregon Vs. Arizona 11-26-2010 (Green, Green, Gray) – Kickoff Team

*Oregon At Oregon St. 12-04-2010 (Carbon Fiber W/ White O, White W/Silver, Gray) – Josh Huff

BCS National Championship Game

*Oregon Vs. Auburn 01-10-2011 (Carbon Fiber W/”Blur” Yellow, White W/Silver and “Blur”, Gray) – LaMichael James

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Oregon BCS National Championship Uniforms.

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Nike recently released new Nike Pro Combat football uniforms for Oregon to wear in the BCS National Championship game in Glendale, Arizona on January 10th, 2010. The new uniforms are similar to the ones that the Ducks have been wearing this season, with a few notable differences. The uniforms were unveiled at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, with NFL players as models. Here is a picture of what they will be wearing:

Close up of the gloves

These new uniforms are similar to the all whites worn against USC this year, with the carbon fiber helmets that were worn during the Portland St. game (yellow O’s on the sides). The numbers are also outlined with the bright yellow that matches the socks and the back of the shoes. The material of the uniform is the newest and best material which is way lighter than the previous uniforms.


 

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What A FIBA Title Means for Team USA.

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This article was brought to you by our friends at SwishScout.com

Finally, after 16 years of struggle and international troubles, Team USA is victorious in the FIBA World Basketball Championships. The US can finally stand proud, winning with a cast of predominantly ‘B-Team’ players.  Kevin Durant was named tournament MVP, averaging nearly 23 points and 6 rebounds per game.  For the first time since 1994, USA Basketball reigns supreme internationally as the defending champions in Olympic and FIBA tournament play.

The “B-Team” looked great

So what does it all mean?  Honestly, not a great deal. It’s nice to be back on top, but it’s not hard when the teams you face are missing their stars.  The tournament is second tier to the Olympics because most stars are resting between NBA seasons.  International NBA Players like Tony Parker, Dirk Nowitzki, and Pau Gasol could change the complexion of games, but their absence left their respective teams struggling.  Most of these players will take part on the greater World stage in London 2012, which is where Team USA will find out again if they are for real.

Nonetheless, this is a nice win for Team USA because they showed they could play as a team without coveted NBA superstars.  Coach K couldn’t be a better selection to lead USA into competition because of his ability to unite and motivate his squad.  Krzyzewski great adjustments and emphasized the team play to their strengths exceptionally well all tournament.  Expect the firepower of Team USA to increase greatly when the NBA’s premier stars join in on the action in the coming years.

Who plays in 2012?

2008 was great

Here is whom I expect to fill out the London Olympics Roster in 2012:

Point Guards: Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Derrick Rose

Shooting Guards: Dwayne Wade, Kobe Bryant, Stephen Curry

Small Forwards: LeBron James, Kevin Durant

Power Forwards: Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony

Centers: Dwight Howard, Amare Stoudemire/Kevin Love

While purely speculation, expect all the big names from the 2008 Beijing Olympics to return.  Williams, Paul, Wade, Kobe, James, Dwight, Bosh, and Carmelo will fill out 8 spots on the roster and be the core of Team USA.  Kevin Durant should return and potentially start, depending on how the lineup is worked out.

Gold in 2012 is the ultimate goal

Of the point guards in the FIBA games in this year, Derrick Rose looked like the best International fit.  With a couple more years of development in the league, expect him to make it because of his toughness and ability to get to the basket.  Kevin Love would add another solid post presence and be an outstanding hustle player.  Although he fit well within Coach K’s system, another player like Amare Stoudemire might get the nod if he is allowed to play by the Knicks.   The team also needs a shooter, and looking at a list of 3 point specialists, Stephen Curry looks to be the best down the road.  He was impressive as an NBA rookie and will only get better over the next couple years with his International experience.

Team USA should be heavily favored going into the 2012 games.  With the greatest star power of any team in FIBA, the US will be a tough match due to their unmatched talent.  The only way to beat them will scheme and strategy.  Teams will have to change the game completely with defense, by milking the shot clock and getting the most of their possessions, or playing extreme run and gun by launching 3s early in the shot clock.  Greece was the last team to beat Team USA in 2006.  If everything plays out as predicted, then that should hold when the US hoists gold in London.”

-Bjorn Zetterberg

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Carmelo To Chicago?

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This article is brought to you by our friends at SwishScout.com

There has been a good deal of discussion in Chicago regarding acquisition of the talented forward.  ESPN has reported that the possible options to get Carmelo Anthony are rumored to be Joakim Noah or a package consisting of Luol Deng, James Johnson and Taj Gibson. We discussed last month the possible trade scenarios and destinations for Carmelo Anthony, and we believe Chicago is a great fit, only behind Orlando.

If you are Chicago, you do everything in your power to bring in Carmelo, even if that means you part with Noah.  They would have a ‘Big 3’ of Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer, and Carmelo Anthony.  Noah stirs the pot, potentially putting them over the top in the East, and he becomes that team’s X-factor if they can make a deal that can keep him with the team.  Without him, they are a notch below Wade, Bosh and James in Miami.  The Bulls were 41-41 last season, and with Boozer and Anthony, this is easily a 55 win team, maybe more if they have Noah energizing the paint.

If the Bulls are going to make a play for Carmelo, its going to happen by training camp at months end.  The ‘Big 3’ combination seems to be the winning recipe for the NBA lately, and the Bulls have a shot to assemble their own, potentially even a ‘Big 4’ with Noah.  Given the choice for Noah or the Luol Deng package, they lose a potential all-star caliber center or 3 solid players with decent upside.  Either way you spin it, they get better with Anthony.  The Bulls have emerged as the front runner, and it will be interesting to see if they can pull the trigger on a deal to bring him to Chicago in the coming weeks.”
-Bjorn Zetterberg

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Bye Bye ‘Bron.

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I’m sure a lot of people ‘witnessed’ LeBron James finally making his ‘decision’ to sign with the Miami Heat yesterday (July 8th, 2010). A lot of people saw the move coming, but there were some fans, and owners, who didn’t and felt betrayed by the decision James made.

(Fans in Cleveland burn old James’ jerseys after LeBron announced his decision)

Later the same night, Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert posted a letter to Cleveland fans how LeBron James “betrayed and quit on the team”. He later went on to say that Cleveland will win a championship before the ‘Miami Thrice’ gets one of their own.

(Full Letter)

These sound like some pretty harsh statements and am curious to see what others reactions are towards the letter?

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Oregon Football.

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(Oregon Head Coach, Chip Kelly)

“Just a few months ago, Oregon coachChip Kellywas being lauded for an improbable debut season, resurrecting a team that suffered an opening-week meltdown at Boise State and leading the Ducks to their first Rose Bowl in 15 years. Now, he and his program are back to being lightning-rods for national scorn amid a string of embarrassing headlines involving his players.

It began in late January when a fraternity member accused star quarterback Jeremiah Masoli and teammate Garrett Embry of stealing laptops and other expensive items from a house. No charges have been filed and neither player has commented. The case remains under investigation. But what seemed like a bombshell at the time has long since given way to a litany of other alleged transgressions by Ducks players. Four have been arrested, most notably star running back LaMichael James, who’s been charged with domestic violence for allegedly grabbing his girlfriend’s neck and shoving her to the ground (last week James pleaded not guilty to five misdemeanor charges and awaits a March 25 pretrial hearing). Oregon players have been involved in two campus brawls, one of which left kicker Rob Beard(later cited for misdemeanor assault, to which he has pleaded not guilty) in intensive care for two days.

The latest chapter in this soap opera unfolded last weekend, when, at 2:19 a.m. Saturday, less than 24 hours after Kelly held a press conference addressing his players’ spat of misbehavior, police cited linebacker Kiko Alonsofor driving under the influence of intoxicants after noticing him driving erratically. ReceiverJamere Holland, under the mistaken impression that Alonso had been kicked off the team, called Kelly out on Facebook using colorful language, including “that s— is weak, weak, ass —-, quote me.” Kelly dismissed Holland on Sunday.

The weekend’s events, on top of all those incidents before them, prompted a slew of predictable, alarmist columns, most of which shared a common sentiment: That Kelly has lost control of his team.

I seriously doubt that.

College athletes get into trouble. It’s unfortunate, but true. Oregon has experienced an unusually high amount of incidents in a short amount of time, but it’s hardly unique.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Florida has seen a staggering 27 arrests during Urban Meyer’s five years in Gainesville. Meyer has received some criticism here and there, but for the most part, he’s still revered as a two-time national champion coach. No one would suggest he’s lost control of his program.

Alabama’s Nick Saban, the last guy anyone would ever accuse of running a loose ship, saw 10 of his players arrested during his first 18 months on the job. One player allegedly robbed two students at gunpoint; another was charged for allegedly dealing cocaine. (Both were dismissed from the team.) There was much hand-wringing at the time. Then the Crimson Tide started 12-0 the following fall, and we haven’t heard much about their disciplinary problems again.

Ohio State’s Jim Tressel endured 14 player arrests in his first three-plus years on the job, yet it didn’t seem to mar his reputation as a fatherly statesman who wins Big Ten titles. Penn State’s program was the subject of an eviscerating Outside the Lines report in July 2008 that detailed 46 player arrests over a six-year period. Joe Paterno’s team proceeded to win 11 games in each of the next two seasons, and everyone seems perfectly Happy in the Valley.

My guess is that Kelly is facing more scrutiny than some of his peers simply because he’s still fairly new to the job. Despite a triumphant first season that earned him national coach of the year nominations, his leadership came into question from the moment LeGarrette Blount coldcocked Boise State’s Byron Hout following Oregon’s season-opening loss on national television. Few questioned Kelly’s judgment when, after initially suspending Blount for the season, he wound up reinstating him after eight games for purportedly meeting certain conditions. But now, in the wake of these latest incidents, some are questioning whether his handling of Blount gave his players free reign to act like hooligans.

(Oregon Running Back, LaMichael James)

Rrrright. You mean to tell me that when James allegedly confronted his girlfriend, he was thinking to himself, “Hey, if I get in trouble, at least Coach will reinstate me?”

There are no shortage of things for which you can blame the coach — from a bad loss to poor recruiting to picking the wrong starting quarterback to burning his last timeout — but I’ve long been skittish about these unfounded assumptions that a coach’s leadership is somehow to blame when his linebacker stupidly gets behind the wheel after a night of drinking. There’s no coach in the country who doesn’t give his team the requisite lectures on responsibility and accountability, yet guys still inevitably find trouble. Is that the fault of the coach, or an unfortunate reality of the college environment?

There are two legitimate criticisms one might direct toward a coach when it comes to player misbehavior. One is whether a coach is recruiting “bad seeds,” whether, in the zeal to win games, he is overlooking character flaws when bringing in potential stars. It’s a fair point, but in most cases there are only a handful of people who know a particular 19-year-old well enough to say whether he’s a good guy who made one bad decision or an all-together bad dude. Generally speaking, those people don’t write blogs or newspaper columns.

Secondly, there are always questions surrounding a coach’s response to misdeeds. It’s no secret that many apply double standards based on the stature of the player.

On Monday, Kelly suspended Alonso — a two-year backup — for the 2010 season, presumably to send a “message” that he’s laying down the law. That’s a far harsher sentence than the typical DUI case. As you may recall, Meyer suspended star defensive endCarlos Dunlapfor the SEC Championship Game following his DUI arrest; he was reinstated for the Sugar Bowl. Tressel held out starting defensive tackleDoug Worthingtonfor one quarter of last year’s season opener following his summer DUI arrest, citing Worthington’s “whole body of work — the total time that a young man has been here.”

Critics invariably wring their hands over these stories, too. While I would never, ever condone someone driving while impaired — or committing any other similarly dangerous crime — I can’t bring myself to get indignant when a coach gives an offending player the star treatment. Why? Because whatever outrage fans or media may feign about a player bringing shame to his university, they still care far more that their coaches win, or else.

Take the case of LSU’s Les Miles, who received no shortage of criticism two years ago for giving second chance after second chance to troubled quarterback Ryan Perrilloux. It soon became clear why he did. Miles eventually cut him loose, and LSU’s quarterback play has been its biggest weakness ever since. The Tigers have gone a modest 17-9 the past two seasons, and now the former national championship coach is feeling far more heat than he ever did over Perrilloux.

Meanwhile, Miami — the original “Thug U” — has cleaned itself up to the point where it’s had just one player arrest in three years under coachRandy Shannon, and the school tied for the second-highest graduation rate among teams in last year’s final AP poll. But you still hear far more people questioning Shannon’s coaching acumen (he’s 21-17 in his first three seasons) than lauding him for his players’ exemplary standing.

Clearly, this hasn’t been the most pleasant few weeks for Kelly. His star running back spent two nights in jail last week and his eligibility may be in limbo since he currently isn’t allowed on campus. Kelly’s reputation is being besmirched in the media. His boss, university presidentRichard Lariviere, issued a statement over the weekend calling the recent spat of incidents “unacceptable.” That can’t sit well.

But the question of whether Kelly has “lost control of his program,” or whether this was simply an unfortunate cluster of episodes, won’t likely be answered until the fall. I wouldn’t go drawing conclusions from one troubled malcontent’s Facebook page. (Holland, a USC transfer, had well-documented academic and attitude issues during his short time in Eugene.)

The Ducks, expected to return 17 starters from last year’s 10-3 team (one of them being James, whose status is obviously up in the air), sit on the short list of potential BCS contenders. Should they fulfill those expectations, these headlines of the past few weeks will become a distant memory. Should they tank, Kelly will feel the brunt of it, and many may rightly wonder whether recent events paved the way for Oregon’s downturn.

The type of headlines coming out of Eugene these days are unfortunate, yet sadly a reality of big-time college football today. We read them all the time, involving players all around the country; we’re just not used to reading them about Oregon, a relatively new player on the national scene.

There’s no evidence to suggest Kelly’s program is any more “out of control” than Florida, Alabama, Ohio State or Penn State. The only difference is Oregon’s coach doesn’t hold a national title ring.””

Story Courtesy: Stewart Mandel, Sports Illustrated

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