Ducks will head to recruiting hotbed
EUGENE — Mark Helfrich and his staff occasionally mess with Texas.
No. 15 Oregon has five players on the 2015 roster from the Lone Star State, including star wide receiver Bralon Addison and defensive starters Torrodney Prevot and Arrion Springs.
Appearing in the Alamo Bowl against No. 11 TCU on Jan. 2 in San Antonio will give the Ducks a chance to advertise the program again in the heart of football-crazed Texas.
“That’s huge for them to be able to come back home and cool for us to have our brand out there,” Helfrich said. “I think the key to San Antonio is, just like a lot of the state of Texas — great schools, great coaching, guys that you know what you’re going to get.
“They’re coached well from the ground up, and it’s a fun place to be.”
Springs, a sophomore cornerback, is from San Antonio (Roosevelt High).
Oregon has a verbal commitment from one Texas recruit for the 2016 class. TCU, which already has 11 in-state pledges in this cycle, has 83 players from Texas on its roster.
“We’ve been here 18 years now and we have upwards to seven San Antonio products on our football team,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said. “We are here and have won ballgames because of our players who have come out of the state of Texas, and this year’s no different.”
This is the third consecutive postseason the Ducks have played in Texas.
Oregon defeated Texas 30-7 in the 2013 Alamo Bowl and lost to Ohio State in the 2014 national championship game in Arlington, Texas.
The Horned Frogs will be playing in San Antonio for the first time since a 47-0 win at Trinity in 1952.
Ducks faced bowl team
With 10 of its teams headed to bowl games, the Pac-12 was arguably the deepest conference in the country this season.
It’s also the only Big Five conference not represented in the College Football Playoff.
Nine of Oregon’s 12 regular-season opponents will participate in the postseason. The combined record of the teams the Ducks played in 2015 is 85-62 (.729 winning percentage).
No. 3 Michigan State —which defeated the Ducks 31-28 with an injured Vernon Adams Jr. missing a potential game-winning touchdown pass to Byron Marshall late in the fourth quarter — went on to win the Big Ten. The Spartans (12-1) will play No. 2 Alabama in a national semifinal at the Cotton Bowl.
No. 6 Stanford bounced back from its 38-36 home loss to Oregon with wins over California, Notre Dame and USC in the Pac-12 championship game. The Cardinal (11-2) will face No. 5 Iowa in the Rose Bowl.
No. 22 Utah, which dismantled Oregon 62-20 in the conference opener at Autzen Stadium, finished 9-3. The Utes (9-3) ended up falling to the Las Vegas Bowl, sixth in the Pac-12 bowl pecking order, where they must face Holy War rival BYU.
No. 25 USC will face Wisconsin in the Holiday Bowl. The Trojans (8-5) won the South Division but lost 42-28 to Oregon and to North Division champion Stanford twice.
Washington State took advantage of the Adams-less Ducks and a struggling secondary during a 45-38 double-overtime win Oct. 10 in Eugene. The resurgent Cougars (8-4) will face Miami in the Sun Bowl as Mike Leach returns to Texas.
Cal, a 44-28 loser at Oregon, finished 7-5 and will play Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl.
Three teams the Ducks beat were selected to bowls with 6-6 records — Georgia State (Cure Bowl vs. San Jose State), Washington (Heart of Dallas Bowl vs. Southern Miss) and Arizona State (Cactus Bowl vs. West Virginia).
Eastern Washington set the tone for a difficult season on defense during Oregon’s costly 61-42 win in the opener at Autzen Stadium. The Eagles (6-5) finished tied for fourth in the Big Sky and did not make the FCS playoff field without Adams, who broke the index finger on his throwing hand against his former team.
Colorado (4-9) and Oregon State (2-10) are the two Pac-12 teams that did not qualify for a bowl. The Ducks won 41-24 at Colorado without Adams and held on for a 52-42 victory in the Civil War to close the regular season with six consecutive wins.
Now the Ducks (9-3) will face No. 11 TCU in the Alamo Bowl on Jan. 2 in San Antonio. The Horned Frogs are 10-2 with losses to No. 4 Oklahoma and No. 16 Oklahoma State.
Coaches to get bonuses
Oregon’s bid to the Alamo Bowl means some extra cash for coach Mark Helfrich and his assistants.
Helfrich will earn a $50,000 bonus, the minimum established by his contract, for leading the Ducks to a bowl game. His bowl bonuses escalate to $100,000 for a New Year’s Six game, $175,000 for the College Football Playoff and $200,000 for the national title game.
Oregon’s assistant coaches also will receive bonuses totalling $333,665 for appearing in the Alamo Bowl, not including any bonus money paid to offensive coordinator Scott Frost, who left to become the head coach at Central Florida.
For any bowl below the Alamo, assistants receive a bonus equal to one month of their base salary. The bonus for the Alamo, the Pac-12’s No. 2 bowl, is 1.25 months of base salary, which escalates to 1.5 months for a New Year’s Six game, two months for the College Football Playoff and four months for the national title game.
The bonus will double for each assistant coach if Oregon wins the Alamo Bowl. Finishing in the top 10 would trigger a $60,000 bonus for Helfrich and bonuses of $20,000 or $30,000 for each of his assistants.
Helfrich doesn’t receive a bonus for a top 25 final ranking, but each assistant would receive either $10,000 or $15,000.