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The Rant

Oregon got screwed, but Ducks fans crossed the line

Posted: Monday December 12, 2005 3:31PM; Updated: Tuesday December 13, 2005 11:04AM
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Yes, Oregon Ducks fans, I feel your pain. Your team, despite a 10-1 record and No. 6 ranking in the AP poll, was the odd-man out when BCS bowl invites were delivered. You feel slighted. Frustrated. Disrespected.

But is that any reason to take it out on SMU head coach Phil Bennett? After seeing that Bennett voted the Ducks 15th in his final coaches poll ballot, some mischievous Ducks fans not only sent him nasty e-mails, they also signed him up on a multitude of unwanted subscription e-mail lists. "From porn to feminists," the Mustangs coach told Dallas radio station The Ticket last week.

But while Bennett took your heat, it was his administrative assistant, Sandra Gross, who was affected the most, since she had to spend two days unsubscribing to all those X-rated sites that suddenly started to flood in. I'm sure Gross, a mother with three daughters and a grandmother to four children, appreciated the extra work you created for her.

Perhaps the angry reaction of Ducks fans could be justified if Bennett's ballot actually affected the bowls. But it didn't. Besides, three other coaches put the Ducks 10th or worse on their ballots. And as SI.com's Stewart Mandel pointed out last week, Oregon head coach Mike Bellotti wasn't above using personal biases in arranging his own ballot.

To his credit, Bennett -- who doesn't plan to vote in next year's coaches poll -- didn't shift the blame to someone else (some coaches routinely let someone from the sports information office fill out their ballots). Bennett says that after comparing the Ducks' results to the other top schools, he honestly couldn't rank Oregon any higher.

Just because you disagree with him -- I, too, think he was off-base -- doesn't mean you have to commit cybertage. C'mon, Ducks fans, you're better than that. Rise above it.

Besides, Bennett is 11-35 in his first four seasons on the Hilltop. Hasn't he been punished enough?