Coach Frost makes admirable decision
Observations about our sporting world ...
ITEM: Scott Frost, recently hired as Nebraska's head coach, intends to coach Central Florida against Auburn in the Peach Bowl.
"I don't want to leave the players down there without a coach," Frost told reporters.
COMMENT: My admiration for the former Oregon offensive coordinator went up a notch.
I'm OK with assistant coaches moving on immediately to assume head coaching positions. Their positions are more easy to cover for.
But if a head coach departs, he leaves his team in a lurch to the point of desertion.
Frost will be a busy man for the next few weeks, working recruiting for Nebraska as he prepares Central Florida for its bowl game.
Good for him for taking on the task.
ITEM: My votes for the Heisman Trophy: 1) Baker Mayfield, quarterback, Oklahoma; 2) Lamar Jackson, quarterback, Louisville; 3. Bryce Love, running back, Stanford.
COMMENT: Even with Mayfield's behavioral issues — and there are several lamentable indiscretions — he is the clearcut winner in my book.
Statistically, the 22-year-old senior is having the best season ever for an FBS quarterback, with the highest passer rating in history. In no game this season has Mayfield completed fewer than 63 percent of his passes or thrown for fewer than two touchdowns and 257 yards. He's done it for the nation's No-2 ranked Sooners (12-1), who face Georgia in the College Football Playoffs.
Jackson, last year's Heisman Trophy recipient, has been a bit underappreciated this season despite compiling mind-boggling numbers for the 8-4 Cardinals. The junior leads the nation in total offense (4,932 yards) while ranking 11th nationally in rushing yardage (1,443) and 16th in passing yardage (3,489), accounting for 42 TDs.
Love was No. 2 nationally behind San Diego State's Rashaad Perry in rushing yardage (2,027 to 1,973) despite missing one game and being less than 100 percent for several others due to injury for the 9-4 Cardinal.
ITEM: Former Trail Blazers forward Kermit Washington, 66, pleads guilty in fraud case involving Project Contact Africa charity.
Washington, who played in Portland from 1979-82 and lived in the city through the mid-1990s, admitted to spending thousands of dollars in donations to Washington's "Sixth Man Foundation" on jewelry, vacations and other personal items.
As part of Washington's plea, the U.S. attorney agreed to not pursue more than eight years in prison for the ex-NBA player. He was initially facing up to 45 years.
COMMENT: Years ago, another former Blazer told me Washington bilked him out of thousands of dollars in a restaurant project. Others who dealt with Washington through the years considered him crooked and unreliable.
It's sad to think he preyed on people who thought they were donating to a noble cause, only to be putting money into his personal coffers.
ITEM: Hermiston beats Churchill 38-35 for the Oregon School Activities Association Class 5A football championship in its swan song (at least for now) in the Oregon prep ranks.
COMMENT: Next year, the Bulldogs begin an unprecented move to the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, precipitated because there are so few like-sized schools in Eastern Oregon. Had they stayed in Oregon, the Bulldogs likely would have been placed in the Mt. Hood Conference, facing a long drive to play at the Portland-area schools.
In Washington, Hermiston will be placed in the 3A Mid-Columbia Conference with schools in Richland, Kennewick, Pasco and Walla Walla, with all trips taking no more than an hour.
On one hand, I hate to see such a precedent set. On the other, I can't blame Hermiston for making a switch that makes so much sense.
ITEM: Bruce Barnum will remain as head football coach at Portland State after the Vikings' 0-11 season.
During his first season as coach in 2015, the Vikings went 9-3, beating FBS opponents Washington State and North Texas, and Barnum was honored as FCS National Coach of the Year. The next season, the Vikings plummeted to 3-8.
In August, Barnum was disciplined by the university after an investigation into charges of sexual improprieties with an athletic department employee. Then on the field, the Vikings came up up a goose egg in the win column.
COMMENT: Portland State fired defensive coordinator Malik Roberson after the season. Athletic director Val Cleary said that will be the only personnel change the Vikings will make.
"Bruce will be our coach again next season," she said.
The personable Barnum, who has two years left on his contract, survives the off-field indiscretion. He wouldn't survive another winless campaign in 2018, however.