Go Ducks!

James Hanley

James Hanley is a two-bit college professor who'd rather be canoeing.

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  1. 10+ years ago we had an office on 26th street, about 20 blocks from our apartment. Walking to or from would take me through Times Square or past Penn Station, or both, or neither, depending on the route.

    One day I’m north-bound on Seventh Ave and there’s this 100 high sign of a guy in Duck’s uniform; a quarterback I think; in my minds eye he’s in the passing position, but probably he was just standing there looking famous.

    When I was at U of O Ducks were not a football powerhouse, and it was very surprising to me to see a Duck quarterback, ten stories high, at one of the busiest intersections in the city.Report

    • James Hanley in reply to Tony Comstock says:

      Ah, the infamous Joey Harrington Heisman billboard. Something of an embarrassment, unless you believe in the “no such thing as bad publicity” idea.Report

      • That’s the one!

        I did not know it was an embarrassment. After I stopped playing football (in high school), I pretty much stopped paying attention to it too. Couldn’t tell you who won the Super Bowl last year, didn’t know (until I read this) that The Ducks were in the running for a national championship.

        Did you ever get up to Laura’s Thighs on Lower Brice Creek? It’s a great swimmin hole in teh Summer!


        • James Hanley in reply to Tony Comstock says:

          No, I never really went down toward that direction. We generally went toward the Willamette National Forest, and did a lot of canoeing on the McKenzie and Willamette (both the middle and coast forks).

          When did you attend UO? (I did grad school there from ’94-’00).

          Oh, and the billboard was something of an embarrassment because such open campaigning for the Heisman is outside the rules of the game. There’s plenty of Heisman campaigning, it’s just supposed to be more subtle, preserving the public appearance that it’s won only on the field by the player’s own performance. Such an overt PR campaign marked Oregon for the big-time neophyte that it was at that time. On the other hand, perhaps it helped bring the program into the national spotlight. Who knows.Report

          • I spent plenty of time on the Willamette and the McKenzie both. There’s a great play-wave and fishing riffle just upstream of the Hayden bridge off Camp Cr. road, and that little wave just downstream of the Autzen footbridge could be a lot of fun on the right flow too! I think I was there from Fall 89 to Spring 91, finishing my BS and then a BFA. I think my actual degree is Spring ’92. I graduated HS in 1984 and was not a straight through guy. At this point the actual sequence of schools/events is somewhat hazy.Report

            • James Hanley in reply to Tony Comstock says:

              I know both spots well!Report

            • Since this thread has turned into Old Home Week, I’ll continue.

              When I first met my wife she accused me of being Chekov of Oregon. “See that shoot of a car running through the mountains in that Honda commercial? It’s Oregon! See that shot of the beach and sea stacks in that life insurance commercial? Oregon! See that sheer cliff face of orange rock with a perfect sky in that liquor commercial? Oregon too! See these pictures I took in someone’s home in some dry dusty place? See what they have on the wall? Picture of Oregon!”Report

              • James Hanley in reply to Tony Comstock says:

                That’s beautiful. It is a beautiful state, and as much as I enjoy being back in my native Midwest farmland, I miss it.Report

              • Rtod in reply to James Hanley says:

                James, as a Duck and a PDXer, I have to ask about your Oregon roots/ties?Report

              • James Hanley in reply to Rtod says:

                UO PhD in Political Science, ’00 (I was in Prince Lucien Campbell Hall, Oregon’s monument to Stalinist architecture). Lived in Eugene for 6 years, after having only driven through the state on I5 prior to that, and owned a house on 28th street. Two of my children were born in Eugene, and my wife has a large number of close relatives in Portland, whom we loved to visit and miss greatly. Portland is, in my opinion, American’s most beautiful city, and the only city over 100,000 people that I would be willing to live the rest of my life in. My wife and I talk of retiring to Oregon, although that’s too far away to take seriously at this point.Report

              • Last run I made, solo, in May of 1993, before moving to New York that summer:


  2. MFarmer says:

    Oregon has done a fantastic job with their football program, but come championship time, if they play Auburn, it’s lights out. But the prospect of having Auburn and Oregon in the championship game is refreshing.Report

    • James Hanley in reply to MFarmer says:

      Ah, that ol’ southern bias towards the SEC. While the SEC has won more national championships in the BCS era than any other school, the Pac 10 has a winning record against the SEC during that time. We shall see what happens Jan. 10. Oregon’s never faced anyone like Cam Newton, but Auburn has the worst pass defense to ever appear in a national championship game. But more than either of those things, there’s the idiocy of a 5 week layoff that means the national championship game is as much of a pure crap shoot as a real test of which team is actually better.Report

      • Southern bias? Did I say anthing about the SEC? Because I think Auburn is a better team than Oregon? No, just a fact.Report

        • James Hanley in reply to Mike Farmer says:

          Hey, I have to keep my reputation for anti-southern bias intact.

          As to facts, we know nothing to be facts until they’ve been tested. I propose a best 3 out of 5 series, as we all know a single-trial is insufficient for scientific evidence. But since that won’t happen, let’s agree to call the team that actually wins the game the best team, and not make a pretense of knowing unknowable facts ahead of time.Report

          • I know football — I played football — Auburn is a superior team, and to back my superior knowledge, I will bet on Auburn and give you 10 points. It’s a fact that Auburn will seriously kick some duck ass.Report

            • James Hanley in reply to Mike Farmer says:

              You’re more confident in Auburn than Vegas, eh?

              a) What do you want to wager? I’m not morally averse to gambling, but an innate tendency towards risk aversion makes me uncomfortable wagering more than a bottle of average-decent single-malt or bourbon.

              b) Which Oregon games did you see this year?

              c) Regardless of which team is actually better, do you really believe that the better team always wins after a 5 week layoff?Report

              • We will wager our pride. If I win, you have to state clearly how I am a superior football analyst, and if I lose, I will admit I am not always right, and that your clear-headed rationality regarding the possibility of Auburn having a bad game and Oregon having a great game is superior to my confidence.

                The layoff will not affect the superior skills of Newton and the entire Auburn team — plus, players like Newton don’t lose the big ones — they go into another zone none of us can understand.Report

              • James Hanley in reply to Mike Farmer says:

                Wait, even if you lose you get to claim Auburn is better? OK, it’s negotiation time. I accept the terms for me if Oregon loses, but propose that if Auburn loses you admit that you are not always right, and that you were wrong in your analysis of the relative quality of UO v. AU.

                As to your final paragraph, I’m assuming you’ve actually watched lots of bowl games, and know that even quality players/teams sometimes don’t have their edge after a long layoff. They’re humans, not superhumans. Personally, though I hope Cam Newton is in the zone, but that Oregon shuts him down anyway–or, more plausibly, that although they cannot shut him down, they can take away everything else (which isn’t much) that Auburn has to offer offensively.

                And in case I didn’t mention it before–115th in the nation in pass defense? However good your offense is, that makes you beatable. I think Nick Fairly will be the key, more than Newton. If he disrupts Oregon’s offense, Auburn wins. If Oregon neutralizes him, they win.Report

              • They will both be affected equally by the down time, but I don’t think that has any affect once they get started.

                I agree to the amended terms, just because I’m confident Auburn will win, and I disagree regarding whose play will determine the game. Newton will be the deciding factor — he will overwhelm the Oregon defense, and Oregon will be pschologically defeated by the half. My prediction is that it will be a Cam Newton show all the way. He’s the rare player whose skill are so much greater than even the good players, that it demoralizes the opposition. In the pros, I don’t know, but in college, he’s the perfect college player. Football is a team sport, but sometimes an individual comes along who makes the team, and everyone around him becomes better.Report

              • Head Coach Gene Chizik Quotes

                On long layoff between games…
                “Last year we played Jan. 1, and it is a little bit different. January bowl games, from what I have experienced, you have that time off. If you don’t play in the championship game, you have a four or five week layoff as well. It is a little bit different, and people will probably make more out of it than it really is. Is it a long time? Yes, it is. But there are also other bowl games you would play in, not in a championship game and have a long time in between as well. It is probably a little bit more made of than usual, but you do have to find the right balance of practice time. We have exams, lot of important school issues coming up this time of year, so you just balance it out. At the end of the day, it is not a lot different than a lot of other schools.”Report

              • James Hanley in reply to Mike Farmer says:

                OK, I agree to the terms.

                But if you think Oregon will be psychologically defeated at the half, then you’ve just persuaded me that however much you know about football in general, you know nothing about this particular Oregon team.

                As to Oregon’s defense v. Cam Newton, without in any way trying to diminish his performances, Oregon’s defense ranks higher than any SEC team except Alabama, and has performed well against everything thrown at it so far. Have they seen a Cam Newton? No, but then I don ‘t think Cam Newton has seen a defense that’s fresh in the fourth quarter, as the Duck defense always has been.

                To be honest, you seem to be making generalized non-specific arguments to support your claim of Auburn’s greatness, rather than delving into details.Report

              • James Hanley in reply to Mike Farmer says:

                Well, as far as the Chizik quote goes;

                a) I wasn’t trying to distinguish between the BCS Championship game and other bowl games, and I can’t imagine anyone would, so god only knows why Chizik made that distinction.

                b) Of course the problem faces both teams. Chizik comes off sounding pretty stupid (in addition to his problems of moral character). The issue is when one team manages the problem well and another doesn’t, and that’s essentially a random element–it may occur, it may not, but you can’t predict if it will happen in this case or to which team. We can only say statistically that it’s not at all an unknown occurrence.

                c) He admits it’s an issue, just downplays how significant it is. Perhaps I overplay it, sure. But he’s not saying it doesn’t exist.Report

              • I think I’ve been pretty specific.Report

              • In case you didn’t catch on — I’m just joshing mostly — it’ll be a good game. I still hold by the bet. I might be wrong because I haven’t analyzed all the factors involved, but it appears from what I know and have witnessed that the SEC is playing at a higher level, so having a good defense in the PAC-10 might not be all that much of an advantage playing an SEC champ — like it or not, the SEC has some damn good football teams. It’s not prejudice, just a reality that in the last decade or so, SEC teams are attracting better players.Report

              • Annelid Gustator in reply to James Hanley says:

                This is about where I am.Report

              • James Hanley in reply to Annelid Gustator says:


                If the SEC is superior, then why does the Pac 10 have a winning record against them over the past decade or so? Here’s the line, from a very pro-SEC website.

                However, over the past 12 years (1998 – 2009), the Pac-10 actually leads the SEC 11-9 (.550).

                I’d treat that difference, especially given the small number of games, as within the error bars, so I wouldn’t claim the Pac 10’s better, just that the conferences appear to be even. Has the SEC given us an impressive number of national champions lately? They sure have. But has the conference as a whole been very good? Debatable.Report

      • Trumwill in reply to James Hanley says:

        As a non-SEC person raised wherebouts SEC country and tired of their arrogance (and horrified at the prospect of a 5th consecutive championship), I hope you’re right. I don’t think you are, though.Report

  3. AMW says:

    U of O is the reason I’m alive: my parents met there. They’re coming down to California for a visit in January. But since we don’t have cable, they’re going to spend Jan 10 with my wife’s folks so they can watch the game.

    And James, in case you do retire to Oregon, there are plenty of small towns you could live in that aren’t far from PDX. Sisters is beautiful, as are Canon Beach and Seaside. They’re all within 2.5 hours of PDX.Report

    • James Hanley in reply to AMW says:

      Sisters is beautiful, and by the time I retire there won’t be a property there available for under a million dollars!

      I’ll raise a glass to your parents, and their evolutionary success, during the game.Report

    • AMW in reply to AMW says:

      Please do: I was raised in a creationist household. The irony will be sweet.

      If Sisters is too pricey, you could always buy in Mill City or Idanha. Land is probably free in those godforsaken holes, but they’re just a short drive to Detroit Lake.Report

      • James Hanley in reply to AMW says:

        If my wife would go along with it, I’d be more likely to head out toward Prineville or Madras. Or even the La Grande area, which would put us close to the Wallowas and Boise. And since I’ll probably never be able to get on an airplane again, who needs to be close to PDX?

        But, yeah, there are lots of beautiful places to live in Oregon. We haven’t even touched on Ashland yet.Report

  4. Annelid Gustator says:

    James, thanks! BS Physics UO, ’98-’00. Fan, though, since ’93.Report

    • Did you know Dr. Rudy Hwa? Had him for physics around 1990 (I think.) He made a big impression on me. I called him a few months ago to say “hi.” I think he almost remembered me!Report

      • Annelid Gustator in reply to Tony Comstock says:

        Hah! I never had him (he didn’t teach much during my time in Eugene).Report

        • Johanna Hanley in reply to Annelid Gustator says:

          I worked with Greg Bothun and in Biology department from 97 – 2001. Thinking of Physics made me think of the cafe in Willamette, we used to call it the “Magic Cookie” window. Yes, I can say I love Oregon, my children are true Ducks born across the street of the UO campus and conceived in UO housing! Love the Ducks!!!Report

          • Thinking physics makes me think of Henry Weihard’s Private Reserve, my climbing buddy/study partner and I used to drink to keep our brains flexible while we did our homework.

            I heard the Rainier Brewery went tits up. Is this so?Report

            • James Hanley in reply to Tony Comstock says:

              I heard the Rainier Brewery went tits up. Is this so?

              Yep, and good riddance. Watery beer from

              Huskytown? Bah. But a new brewery has opened up in their space.

              I do miss Weinhard’s though. The last time I was out there, I bought a case. Then I left it at my friend’s house in Iowa. A bitter disappointment.Report

          • Annelid Gustator in reply to Johanna Hanley says:

            Yeah I loved that little cafe. Also there was a Chinese-ish place that rotated in the EMU that had a terrific deal on chicken & rice which provided me many a meal.Report