Oregon Ducks Sweep Non-Football Headlines… Again & Always.


Photo Credits: Bryan Longoria

Oregon Ducks Sweep Non-Football Headlines… Again & Always.

Here’s the round up…

The Oregon Ducks have been very busy these last couple of weeks, and I’m not talking about on the field. I noticed a propagation of local and national news pieces flare up in the last couple of weeks from stories as trivial to duckbill shaped whistles to potentially offensive celebration gestures – Not to mention the ever-a-buzz happenings of the Duck’s infinite Nike wardrobe.

The Oregon ‘O’…

Big news comes from Fox Sport’s Mike Pereira’s backing down on his call to investigate the moral implications of throwing the ‘O’, which of course is the Ducks players’ salute to their university and fans. This witch hunt was called off; although, I will admit that Pereira’s request was well intentioned and sincere – albeit, not well thought out. After conferring with the Pac-12′s coordinator of officiating, Pereira called Chip Kelly to let him know it’s “okay” for them to “quickly flash” the “O” sign, so long as the sign is not “prolonged” and never “directed at an opponent.” I’m glad we cleared that up. It looks like Texas can keep hooken’ them horns too.

Actually, this isn’t the first time an Oregon “O” has been called into question. In the spring of 2009, the Autzen Stadium O was called under a zoning complaint by a Oregon School of Education teacher and Eugene resident. She later retracted her complaint and an exemption was offered to the university. I can only speculate that the amount of green, not the school colors by the way, that the football team funnels into the school might have something to do with it.

Duck Lips…

No, you read it correctly. DUCK LIPS. Besides residing on the top of a “Top Ten Things I Refuse To Eat” list, Duck lips are banned from Autzen Stadium. Apparently excessive noise has kept some teams from traveling to play at Autzen, and this move was to curtail some noise from the “Loudest Stadium” in college sports. Like Paris Hilton always said, “If you can’t be the best, be the loudest.” Apparently the PAC 12 finally decided to enforce the PAC 10′s previous regulations against artificial noise makers. Yes, these yellow plastic duck shaped lips, coincidentally my college band name, have seen their last days at Autzen. I find it humorous because, if they really wanted to put a dent in the noise at the stadium, they should have just installed breathalyzers at the gates.

Fashion Contest…

Oregon’s ensamble of infinite uniforms hits the spotlight once again as other teams jump into the attention war with even more oddly designed uniforms. Oregon’s uniforms, only outnumbered by the amount of minutes of press time the Duck mascot receives, made the NYTimes article covering the sweeping epidemic of college uniform trends. Of course, the buzz was all about the University of Maryland’s state flag uniform worn last weekend. Not to be outdone, Arizona State, Georgia, Oklahoma State, Notre Dame, Army and the Navy teams have all jumped in this year with new annual, special game event and throwback variations ranging from Candy Apple to Fiery Orange. All of these changes come from sponsorship endorsements to recruiting incentive to prominent coverage (like this). At this rate, the Lingerie Football League going to have to do something insane to compete.

The PAC 12+ and revenue…

No it’s not some new NCAA social network, it’s the ever changing landscape of the BCS league system. I say 12+ because the last time I checked we were 12 and counting. After Utah and Colorado and expanded the PAC-12 faster than the universe, Texas and Oklahoma U expressed interest in expanding to a PAC-16 super-conference. Maybe they can try and match up the ACCs acceptance of Syracuse and Pittsburgh. Ultimately, if these leagues gets any bigger geographically, we may have to invade them and start pumping oil out of them.

All of this is obviously driven by television markets and advertising revenues. Naturally, lines are being drawn and conferences are moving to shore up monetary compensation for lost revenue. Essentially, it’s befuddled the NCAA, a group now loosely associated by “education”, to the shameless level of professional sports. All of these profit-margin expanding and mongering is leading people to consider compensating players on the massive profits they are bringing into networks and the colleges. An AP article written by Frederic J. Frommer estimates that these poverty-level athletes could be looking to make $121,000 a year for their contributions to the schools, but don’t go scurrying to get into the college football teams yet; Frommer adds that basketball could get you double.

For those of you who think your kids and nephews are immune to this because they don’t play sports, guess what? They are.

Update: Iand with the PAC 12 stating that they have “affirmed their decision to remain a 12-team conference.”

Last Year’s Headlines…

And all this comes after last year, when ducks swept the headlines in other ways that only Oregon could. There was the punch heard around the NCAA that leGarrett Blount delivered to a Boise State player after a devastating preseason loss. This, of course, is not to be confused with the punch he threw in the Tenesse Titan’s training camp last month. Naturally, we can’t mention debauchery without remembering Jeremiah Masoli’s defection to Ole’ Miss for “graduate studies,” after stealing and drug possession allegations.

Yet, not all of Oregon’s off-the-field press was so bad last year. There was a rash of Oregon songs and the emergence of a Duck-hop genre. Wow, there really aren’t any losers at the Grammys anymore. “In the category of best all white, college football themed rap group under the age of thirty, the award goes to…” Actually, probably still Jimmy Fallon’s Oregon Power Ballad.

More Coaching on the Nike+ Site


My Top Four Features for the Nike+ Site

Last post, I explained some of the features of Nike+ and walked through how I use it to push my runs and extract info-graphics. Perhaps the only running coach that would be more effective might look something like Joe Pesci on a segue with a bull horn. I’m not going to kill you with such a lengthy post, plus the Nike+ people have some great tutorials built in to their site. Instead, here are my top four Nike+ online features:

1. Community Heat Map

Nike + Community Map

Nike + Community Map

The Nike+ community heat map shows the areas of the country with the higher amounts of logged runs that glow. These glowing areas of the “heat” map indicate the highest use areas with red, as seen in this picture. The Nike+ diamonds with the numbers in them indicate “Top Routes” that users have shared into this community. These shared runs are for the community to explore. I like this feature when I’m traveling and am not sure where to catch a great run. You can read the bio online and look at the distance to get a feel for the run.
When I was staying down in San Diego, it was fun to see the separate districts that flared up. I spent most of my time running the Pacific Beach portion of San Diego, but then I noticed some great runs more inland, near Balboa park and, of course, Coronado Island. This is pretty handy for travel, but it’s just plain fun to see where your neighbors are running, and where they are not. I mean, if you’re running with a six-hundred-dollar phone on your arm, you might want to stay on well lit paths with other people.

2. Seeing Your Routes

My Nike+ Running Routes

My Nike+ Running Routes

I’m a sucker for some info-graphics. Maybe that’s a nerd thing. Maybe that’s a millennial thing. I don’t know, and I don’t care. I do know that I love to look at the graphs of my runs to see the relative distances and times in accordance to the months. I think it’s fascinating to see the data, draw conclusions and then to try and tweak the variables next month. For instance, I need to run more in the spring.

Here in this photo, you will see a set of orange bars that represent the relative distance of a run and its corresponding date. On the map, you will see the Nike + diamonds that illustrate how many routes you have in those respective regions.

3. Runalytics

Nike+ Runalytics

Nike+ Runalytics

This feature is, perhaps, the most fun to look at. Nike takes your run, pulls out the pace and elevation, and they plot it in a graph with your distance splits. If you weren’t running for a team with a country for a title, I don’t know why you would need this data. That being said, I’ll take it! Who else is going to tell me that it took me two and half more minutes to run up a 420ft incline? No one. Most of this data speaks for itself. I probably should have used a more flattering run, but LOOK AT THE ELEVATION! C’mon.

4. Pace Data

Nike+ Pace Data

Nike+ Pace Data

The last sick feature on the Nike+ site is the pace data they provide. The blue pace line from the last graphic are placed on this google map image and set by color to indicate changes in pace during the run. On the bottom of the page, you can see the color key indicating speed (where red is the slowest). On the map, you can also see the long swatch of red that is the visualization of me getting my butt kicked by a 420ft incline. On flatter runs and if you have enough data sets, you can see where you tire out on some runs.

I’m sure there is no lack of information you could derive from the Nike+ graphs. I don’t even know if it’s particularly useful for people that don’t run distances that require a K. I do know that I get a kick out of it and it doesn’t cost you anything to use.

Digital Running Coach with Nike+


Get Fast: Nike+ App

What most runner don’t know they need.

Nike+

Nike+

I consider myself to be an avid runner. I try to run at least three multiple-mile runs a week. I run to stay in shape, to keep my ticker running smoothly, to maintain my ability to eat things I should’t and to de-stress some first-world-issues.

I’m 27-years-old. I’m not going to the Olympics. Yet, that doesn’t mean that I don’t want a coach running behind me with a cattle prod pushing me to run faster. Besides the possible legal ramifications for the aforementioned crime, I don’t know anyone that wants to run in the Yuma sun at 6 or 7 in the morning. Instead, I turned to Nike+ for running support.

I use the Nike+ GPS (downloadable here) running application on my iPhone 4; although, you can use it Nano or Touch with the purchase of a Nike+ sensor for $20. I suppose you could probably use an iPad as well, but there are obvious reasons why you might refrain.

The sensor has to link up via bluetooth if your device has it, or to an attachment you can buy in a pack for $30, which includes the sensor. Now, you can buy some Nike+ shoes with spaces in the heel for sensors, or you can buy an external pouch that attaches to your laces. I use the Nike+ GPS, so my phone has the sensor already. Also notable: Polar Wearlink offers a heart-rate monitor that links with the system and retails for $70. I’m not this obsessed. I do recommend a good arm band. Make sure you pull on it to make sure it’s durable though.

How it works, with you.

Nike+ history function

Nike+ history function

I run in the mornings for at least two miles, which means I run for at least 10 minutes. Usually more like 14 or 16 depending on the heat and motivational variables. I like to lace up, throw in some ear buds and hit the track, so to speak. The best thing about running with my iPhone is that I can select my running playlist, “C Bry Run” (a play on C Dos Run, if your old enough to get that). There are the “basic,” “time,” and “distance” running options. I like to free run on basic, but the other two functions are pretty helpful. These are the coach from Rocky options.

You can select a “time” interval from 5 to 60 minutes and the App will give you minute splits to push you. The “distance” intervals range from 1k to 5k, with a “half-marathon,” “marathon,” and “custom.” This is a feature I really like. I’ve used the distance “5k” interval to push training before timed running events. I especially like the mid run split updates and time updates that you can toggle.

If you need the motivation, you can also turn on cheers. Cheers is a feature in the App that gives you positive feedback after a run in the form of a celebrity/sports star congratulatory praise. You will get them for personal bests in time, speed, rate and for out running previous weeks. I mostly just like to hear my splits after a hard run.

The Tunes and Power Song Options

Nike+ mapping data

Nike+ mapping data

Another awesome feature on the App, is that you can skip songs with a really simple GUI interface they display while you run. BTW, the interface has a left arm and right arm function that pretty useful if you like to keep your heart rate up and spend less time staring at your arm. You can use the interface, or the standard iPhone headphones to toggle forward and backwards through your playlist for just the right soundtrack.

If that soundtrack happens to be you getting your butt kicked by 2% incline, well there is also a “power song” option. When you need that little extra motivation to finish a hill, you can play songs you previously selected as power songs to start playing in sequence. I usually use this option when my running coach tells me that I have a couple hundred meters left in a run. It’s like a NOS button to my brain to get my legs in gear.

The Feedback Factor

One of my favorite features on the Nike+ App is that I can mess around with the data. I run a lot, but I work a lot too. I like that my phone stores my running data so that I can access it later. I keep a running journal to log all my miles, some for bragging rights, so that I can graph the data and see how much I run in certain months and over the course of the year. Plus, it’s nice to have a hard copy of my runs, plus the ones that I do when my phone is dead and charging or out of GPS range.

Disclosure: I set out to run 365 miles this year, one for every day. I didn’t know how far I’d get, especially with work, but I’ve logged in over a 150 miles so far this year and were over half way. Maybe next year.

It’s also nice that the App keeps and maps your running routes on them. I like this data because I LOVE to change up my routes. I get really bored watching the same block after block. I use the map data on the online site to plan new routes in previously unexplored housing tracks and trails to tailor new runs. You can also pull up runs individually to check splits and mile times. Nerd disclosure: I have a graph for this data too.

In all, I absolutely love this app and stand firmly behind it. I’ve been running with it for at least two years now and have tried several other very disappointing applications. I do understand that some of you may not want to spend the money on a new Apple product, or you may already have a different cell manufacturer, but let’s face it: If you read this far, you probably already have an iPhone. ;)

Unprecedented Ducks. U of O Football Ranks 3rd


Oregon Duck's 2011 Spring Game

Photo: Bryan Longoria's iPhone

University of Oregon Ducks Rank 3rd

The University of Oregon’s football program ranked No. 3 in the USA Today coaches poll released yesterday. This is the highest preseason ranking ever in Ducks’ history. The Ducks, generally known for their 1,280 possible uniform selections (not including throwbacks), received a lot of attention last year when a couple of students and avid Duck enthusiast, titled Supwitchugurl, achieved local pop stardom with catchy Duck Football songs.

Previously, Oregon’s highest ranking was that of 8th place in 2001. Oregon’s recent jettison into NCAA prominence comes after a back-to-back bowl games, one for the BCS title, and a 12-0 regular season where the Ducks held the number one spot for eight consecutive weeks.

Oklahoma came in with a commanding 42 ’1st ranked’ votes out of the 59 coaches, with AlabamaRoll Tide – taking 13 of the votes. Oregon, ranked 3rd, and LSU, ranked 4th, took two votes each. Coincidentally, Oregon will have a chance to battle it out with LSU in their week 1 season opener. That game will take place on Saturday, Sept. 3rd in Arlington, Texas.(Also, it is notable that the Ducks have already included the Pac-12 Championship Game on their 2011 football schedule with a location “TBD”)

Stanford takes a notable No. 6 ranking as the only other Pac10 team of the top-25 listed.  Other PAC 10 mentions include Arizona State with 158 votes, Arizona with 28, Oregon State with 4 and Washington with 3. This is certainly going to be another exciting season for Duck fans. I’m interested in seeing how Stanford does, they were a real sleeper last year… Beep.