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Let’s examine the Neuheisel effect


@head:Let’s examine the Neuheisel effect

@by:Daniel Powell

@email:[email protected]

@body:For years, climatologists have devoted their time and energy to analyzing the various causes and effects of the global warming trend.

While many theories link such factors as deforestation, fossil-fuel consumption and population growth to the Earth’s rising temperatures, there is one other factor that has been vastly overlooked within scientific circles: The Neuheisel Effect.

This phenomenon is characterized by a predictable and regular outpouring of hot air from the lungs of the University of Washington’s football coach Rick Neuheisel.

Mt. Neuheisel’s latest eruption occurred late last week, when the oft-maligned, but highly successful coach, accused the rest of the Pac-10 conference of utilizing unscrupulous recruiting tactics.

Neuheisel went so far as to single out Oregon’s Mike Bellotti and UCLA’s Bob Toledo for supposedly scrutinizing his recruiting list and then actively pursuing some of those players.

“We don’t need their recruiting list. They ought to want ours,” Oregon athletic director Bill Moos told the Eugene Register Guard after learning of Neuheisel’s comments.

Therein lies the crux of the argument.

Since Neuheisel took over the helm for the Huskies in 1999, Oregon has had a better cumulative record. In each of those seasons Neuheisel, one of the nation’s finest recruiters, had an incoming class ranked by most college football insiders in the top half of the Pac-10 conference. Bellotti’s classes were always placed in the lower half.

The Huskies finished this year’s campaign with a pair of high profile losses, including a 65-7 drubbing at the hands of the Miami Hurricanes in front of a national television audience. The Ducks recorded a dominating 38-16 win over the Colorado Buffaloes, a team many college football analysts considered the hottest in the nation at that time, and secured the No. 2 ranking in both polls at the end of the year.

It would seem that the Ducks would have the upper hand, at least for this year, in the recruiting battle, right?

Not so. This year the Huskies incoming class of freshmen and JC transfers was ranked third in the Pac-10, while the Ducks pulled in at seventh in the conference.

If Bellotti, one of the sport’s most liked and respected individuals, was utilizing these negative recruiting tactics, don’t you think the Ducks might be able to bust out of that old seven slot?

In response to Neuheisel’s statements, Bellotti issued the following statement Monday afternoon: “The University of Oregon football staff does not practice or condone unethical or negative recruiting. We do not have to. We do not bend or break the rules.

“We recruit form our own recruiting list on the many merits of our own program-the positive accomplishments of our athletes in the classroom, our unmatched record on the football field and the positive contributions to our community. We don’t recruit against any one particular person or institution. We recruit the best student-athletes to and for our institution, the University of Oregon.”

The real question all of this talk about recruiting impropriety raises is this: If the Ducks have such an inferior level of talent, what does this say about Neuheisel’s coaching ability in contrast to Bellotti’s?

Neuheisel is one of those guys everyone, with the exception of his players and the fans of whichever team he’s coaching at the time, dislikes. His guitar-strumming, so-cal, golden-boy persona rubs many in the coaching ranks the wrong way and his popularity with the coaches in the Big-12 conference, where he coached at Colorado, is about as high as it is out here on the west coast.

Neuheisel takes his players skiing. He takes them to the Playboy mansion. He takes them water-skiing and boating.

If the Pac-10 investigators who are now casting their search lights into the farthest reaches of the Ducks’ closets in search of recruiting skeletons find themselves with some time on their hands, they may want to get on I-5 North and visit our friends at the University of Washington.

As for Neuheisel’s comments and the lasting effects they’ll have on Oregon?

Get outside and enjoy the warm weather.