Oregon outplayed -- what happened?
Monitoring local sports results and news items for Saturday, Dec. 16:
BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD
Boise State 38, Oregon 28, in the Las Vegas Bowl … all credit to the Broncos, but in hindsight, too many things were working against the Ducks to even make it a reasonable fight.
No Royce Freeman, the key player on the team.
A new coach and coaching set-up, with the staff having to scramble in recruiting while trying to prepare for a game.
A couple of weeks of turmoil leading up to the game.
A too-easy tune-up game (versus Oregon State) as opposed to Boise State playing in a competitive Mountain West Conference title game.
QB Justin Herbert's lack of bowl experience.
A too conservative and cautious offense.
And, major penalty problems — a holdover from the Willie Taggart one-and-done era.
I was one who fell for the idea that Oregon would be inspired to get a win for new coach Mario Cristobal, and would have more speed and athletes than Boise State. Neither factor went in the Ducks' favor, especially with Freeman's decision to watch in street clothes.
The Ducks might have been better off having Freeman instead of Herbert, if you had to choose one or the other, as Oregon might have been able to get better field position and keep the ball out of the hands of the Boise State offense.
Note to Oregon: All the secretiveness about Freeman's status until shortly before the game didn't help, and the lack of clarity about the future coaching staff under Cristobal, didn't help.
Speaking of the BSU offense, what kind of over-cocky, over-greedy play-calling was that at the end of the first half by the Broncos?
But also, whose bright idea was it to proclaim Herbert maybe the next Heisman Trophy winner, anyway? That was premature, inane or just way too optimistic, depending on the source.
This game merely showed that Cristobal and his staff — was it defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt's last hurrah? — have a lot of work to do, and that Taggart had not yet built the Ducks into anything resembling a team ready to contend for a championship.
Anyone who thought differently, even if you believed Oregon would win this game, was seriously mistaken.
Spring practice can't come soon enough in Eugene.
BIG FOR BLAZERS
It was pretty much a perfect night for the Trail Blazers. They somehow managed to hold off Charlotte, 93-91, in North Carolina, and raised their record to 16-13 (the Hornets are 10-19).
And, almost every NBA Western Conference team that is near Portland in the standings and was in action lost: Minnesota, Utah, Oklahoma City, the Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis all beaten.
WINTERHAWKS' RARE LOSS
Portland lost for the first time this season to the Spokane Chiefs. The 6-3 result at Memorial Coliseum left the Hawks 5-1 versus the Chiefs.
Coach Barret Peery's Portland State men improved to 9-3 with a 116-71 win over Linfield (7-2) at Lewis & Clark. Deontae North led PSU with 27 points.
At Moda Center, the Oregon State women climbed to 8-2 with their fifth win in a row, beating UC Santa Barbara (1-8), 74-49. The Beavers won the men's game too, edging Saint Louis, 63-60. The OSU men have won six in a row and are 8-3. Saint Louis dropped to 5-6.
NAMES AND NOTES
• The Atlanta United are making a big deal out of their trade for former Portland Timbers standout (semi-standout?) Darlington Nagbe. Atlanta officials went to Cleveland to pick up the U.S. national team midfielder and bring him to Georgia on a private plane.
"Everyone's showing love," Nagbe, wearing an Atlanta United scarf, told reporters before he was driven away in a motorcade of Mercedes SUVs, according to a UPI report. "Everyone's so passionate here. I think as a player, that's what you want, fans that are dedicated to the team. So far it's been great."
It will be great — if Nagbe can produce more consistently than he did with the Timbers.
• Tigard native Sammy Carlson, who learned to ski at Mt. Hood and has spent summers in Hood River, was honored this week for Best Male Performance in a ski film in 2017. The honor came at the 19th annual Powder Awards in Breckenridge, Colorado, and recognized the exploits of the stylish pro skier/X Games/Dew Tour star in "To Be," by Sammy Carlson Productions.
• The NFC West showdown is at hand in Seattle, where the Seahawks will take on the Los Angeles Rams at 1 p.m. (FOX 12). The Rams are 9-4 in the division, while Seattle is 8-5 and going for at least a wild-card NFL playoff spot.
Seattle defensive back DeShawn Shead from Portland State returned to practice this week. He's missed the entire season since tearing an ACL in a January playoff loss to Atlanta. The Hawks have three weeks to add him to their 53-man active roster.
• The Everett Silvertips are playing host to the Portland Winterhawks at 7 p.m. This season, Everett leads the series 3-2.
• In women's basketball, Portland (4-5) plays host to Weber State (7-2), 2 p.m., Chiles Center … No. 9 Oregon (8-2) is at Matthew Knight Arena against Mississippi (9-1), 1 p.m.
• Concordia's men's basketball team has a 5 p.m. Great Northwest Athletic Conference game at home against Alaska. The Cavaliers are 4-6 overall and 0-2 in the GNAC. Alaska is 3-5, 1-1.
• At Portland Meadows, it's Oregon Championship Day, with six thoroughbred stakes races and a noon post time at the North Portland horse racing track.