Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Oregon wins this Pac-12 title
By Ted Miller
They say it isn't over until it's over, but it's over, even though it isn't.
And Oregon wins.
Yes, the Pac-12 blog is declaring the Oregon athletic department the 2012-13 Pac-12 champions.
We know winter sports -- hoops -- aren't done, and spring sports are just getting started. That doesn't matter, though Oregon looks strong in those, too.
Oregon didn't win the Pac-12 football championship, Stanford did. But the Ducks, like the Cardinal, won a BCS bowl game and finished No. 2 in the nation, ahead of Stanford.
Further, Oregon won the Pac-12 men's basketball tournament and has a Sweet 16 date with top-seeded Louisville on Friday. Stanford got knocked out of the NIT in the second round by Alabama.
For many fans, the discussion of athletic departments ends there with the two revenue sports.
But Oregon has done well across the board, too. While Stanford typically owns the Director's Cup, which gives every sport equal due in its rankings, Oregon presently is No. 1. The Ducks are No. 5 in the Capital One Cup standings, which gives certain sports more weight. Stanford is 13th.
As for the other sports, Oregon has done well and is expected to continue to do so. The Ducks won their fourth straight women's NCAA indoor track and field national title and finished No. 2 in volleyball. They are presently ranked No. 9 in baseball and 10th in softball -- they just, in fact, swept Stanford. The biggest hole in the Ducks' résumé is women's basketball, where they were awful this year.
While the Pac-12 blog supports and enjoys so-called "Olympic sports," the simple fact is any school in the nation would trade three NCAA tiles in other sports for one in football or basketball. Why? Money and prestige. And that's never been more the case than today.
Even if Oregon doesn't advance to the Elite Eight, it's clearly had the best results this season in the Pac-12's two revenue sports. With a strong boost from the supporting sports, it's clear the Ducks will finish the school year as the conference's top athletic program.
But if you guys want to argue about that, don't let us stop you.