Another Utah beatdown leads to big questions for Oregon to answer
With Cristobal-to-Miami rumors swirling, the Ducks fail to show up in the Pac-12 championship game and enter bowl preparation on unstable ground.
LAS VEGAS — Before things got out of hand, Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens looked to be having a pretty nice time on Oregon’s sideline.
Why wouldn’t he be? Dressed in the same green blazer he wore during his summer athletic director of the year acceptance speech, Mullens spent much of the early part of Friday’s Pac-12 championship game strolling the sidelines, waving to fans and bumping shoulders with this conference’s movers and shakers.
He is one of those, of course. Mullens’ Ducks were in the Pac-12 championship for the third consecutive season, spent much of the year ranked in the College Football Playoff top four and Friday was supposed to serve as a little bit of revenge for what many thought was an anomaly in Salt Lake City two weeks ago. Marcus Mariota was even on the sideline, serving as an honorary captain and a good luck charm harkening back to the days when it was Oregon’s offense that was worth the price of admission alone.
Of course, there was more below the surface. For most of the day, Mullens’ coach was trending on Twitter. The Miami leaky faucet turned into a full-blown ruptured fire hydrant as rumors that began earlier in the week with Mario Cristobal’s last-minute trip to see his Mother in Florida dovetailed into numerous reports that made it seem like the Hurricanes alum was all but headed back to the beach.