Originally written on Oregon Sports News  |  Last updated 11/16/14
So Kansas State didn’t want to come to Autzen because it didn’t fit “their scheduling strategy.”  Apparently, they aren’t alone.  The SEC never leaves the Confederacy, and never play an outsider who isn’t either road kill in search of a payday, or a team they have a month to prepare for and play inside SEC territory.  No one saying they aren’t good, but good enough to have five in the top ten?  No one knows. What about the Big 12?  They have some good teams left.  Oklahoma for instance, and the Big 12 just had the fickle finger of the BCS unpleasantly inserted and should be looking to elevate some schedules.  Or the Big 10?  They travel a little but always regret it.  Anybody remember Michigan’s disastrous trip to Eugene a few years back?  Or Wisconsin this year in Corvallis?  Or Ohio State in the Coliseum?  At the least the Big 10 isn’t afraid to get on a plane. The Ducks have a problem similar to Boise State minus the blue rug. So what will it take to get some in-state games in September (maybe even August) of a caliber to quicken the pulse and get a mention in the east coast media. The Nike Invitational is the answer. Think the season opener. The Ducks take on the defending BCS champion or the eventual “NCAA Champion” whatever that turns out to be.  If they would play themselves because they won, it would be the team they defeated in a rematch.  Nike underwrites the game with so much money not even the SEC would be able to say no, and if they did it would emasculate their image. The NCAA is all about money and if there might be a rule or two that needs to be massaged, no problem. Think of the hype!  You know Nike would do it right. The juggernaut of sports marketing called the Nike marketing department would have all summer to ramp it up.  Television rights alone would be in the mega-millions!  Nike would provide new uniforms for both teams (part of the deal).  The mind boggles at what they would look like.  It’s hot around here in late summer.  Marry the protective gear to the uniform and show a little more skin.  The sex appeal alone would drive the ratings over the top the way the men’s water polo did for that Olympics, or the women’s beach volleyball team did.  Bad taste in college football?  Ha!  Sell, baby, sell would be the cry of everyone connected. Why is this such a great idea, aside from the obvious?  The end of the season is loaded with bowl games, all but a few existing for no other reason than to act as a tourist trap.  But the beginning?  Wide open outside of Dallas! The opening weeks of the season are boring blow outs.  But the Nike Invitational?  Zooie!  Two major programs with their futures on the line in Week One.  The crème de la crème nose to nose from the opening coin flip.  New ball game folks. Think of the boon to Oregon recruiting.  What young player wouldn’t want his picture in one of those commemorative uniforms with their muscles bulging on web pages and magazine covers? I’m looking for a downside here, but aside from academics falling further in the rearview mirror, I don’t see it.  The Ducks might occasionally lose but the prestige comes into the season end lifting them over weaker schedules. What’s the future?  Bigger than the contentious playoff systems we all know won’t make anyone happy.  No doubt.  For the Nike Invitational there would be no grumbling and bad mouthing about the unfairness.  Fair was never on the table. Who would complain?  The college football money pit is not infinite despite how it sometimes looks, so them that already have the bucks would wring some hands about the pot going down before they could get their mitts in, but when it comes to sports and deep pockets the king is Nike.  Good ol’ local Nike. So what about the resurgent Beavers?  How long could Reebok or Adidas go without a response?  Or Nike doubles down.  Sheesh!  The mind reels.  Maybe schedule Nike I and Nike II on the same day.  A whole day of big time college football on national television featuring our local guys. This is a TVV – a Total Visionary Vision. Dear Mr. Swoosh:  It has come to our attention . . .

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