Here’s a question from the great northwest: Should the University of Oregon Ducks try to schedule a home-and-home football series against Penn St.?
Oregon is a promotional machine. They have set the bar – hell, they obliterated it – for what it takes to transform an entire athletic department from obscurity to relevance to elite status. Who’s laughing about the Joey Harrington banner in Times Square now?
And yep, Oregon has undergone their sports metamorphosis with the undeniably massive infusions of money from various folks, much of it from people with the initials P.K
But, unlike other people/companies with massive amounts of resources (“Hello Paul Allen!”) Oregon also made mostly smart decisions when spending the money. Top-level coaches. Facilities better than any others in the conference, if not the entire NCAA.
Oregon should schedule Penn St., beginning in about three years. The carnage and multiple revolving-door turnover in both the sports and administration areas in Happy Valley should be mostly over by then.
Oregon has a notoriously hard time getting any football program with a reputation to come to Eugene, and as recently as a few months ago it would have been unthinkable for the Nittany Lioins to even consider traveling here. It ain’t the least bit funny, but the times they have a’ changed.
The question now is would Oregon even consider it?
For those of us who remember when Joe Paterno was God and no one knew who Rich Brooks or Mike Bellotti were, this is beyond superlative.
If Oregon decides the marketing advantage is worth it (and when have they not?), they should extend an offer. Penn St. is going to need all the positive exposure it can get, so why not accept?
Both Universities could devote some portion of the proceeds from both games to a relevant cause, which wouldn’t alleviate anything that has already transpired, but it would generate some positive publicity for one program who desperately needs anything it’s going to be able to get. The other program already knows how to fully utilize all media, and won’t miss on this pitch either.
Oregon’s marketing is so good it managed to make uniforms a regular feature on every sports venue imaginable. Uniforms! Who’d of thunk it?
When Penn St. comes to Autzen Stadium, Oregon should wear their all-white uniforms with just the slightest of green highlights, a la a certain formerly great football power. Maybe the Lions could unveil their brand new, complete-departure-from-tradition, Nike-designed uniforms on the same day.
It won’t change anything that happened, but it might raise some money and awareness for worthy causes, and it might be a smart decision for both football programs.
John Hirsch is a writer for The Sports Blitz Network and can be contacted at JHirsch@TheSportsBlitz.com