The best of Oregon's home schedule, Vernon Adams Jr. gets the hook and the Mariners get what they paid for: The I-5 Traffic Report
The weekend that was and the week to come along the I-5 Corridor.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
Is this thing on?
Hello everyone, I’m Tyson. The guy from The I-5 Corridor. I feel like I should reintroduce myself a bit here because, let’s be honest, I haven’t been around much the last couple weeks. I mean, the Montana trip was expected. I wrote about that last week. I didn’t expect, however, to bring a little piece of Big Sky country home with me.
After two years of playing hard to get, I finally took COVID for a spin. My review? Wouldn’t recommend it. But now that a week of fevers and aches have subsided, the waters have smoothed and I’m just waiting around for something to jumpstart my tastebuds back to life.
I appreciate everyone’s patience.
Here’s The I-5 Corridor Monday Traffic report:
A quick hook for VA
Last time we checked in on Vernon Adams Jr., the former Oregon quarterback had just finished shelling out a few thousand dollars to fly his Montreal Alouette teammates to Tacoma for an informal minicamp to prepare for the season.
He probably didn’t do so while envisioning getting benched in Week 2.
But that’s how it went on Thursday, when Adams’ 2-of-4 start wasn’t enough for Montreal coach Khari Jones, who benched the 2015 Pac-12 all-conference selection in favor of 36-year-old journeyman Trevor Harris.
Harris went 18-of-30 for 270 yards and one interception, Montreal lost 20-19 to Toronto to fall to 0-2 on the year and now the Alouettes have themselves a bit of a quarterback controversy heading into Week 3 against Saskatchewan.
Adams, however, seems to be taking things better than expected.
“I’m not really surprised,” Adams told the Montreal Gazette. “[Coach] felt like I wasn’t seeing it clearly. He wanted a change of pace. I’m proud of Trevor. He’s the ultimate pro. A veteran and a leader. He came in and did what he was supposed to do, move the ball.”
It does seem like an impressively short leash from Jones, who is in the final year of his contract with Montreal. Adams took every snap — 18 of 32, 250 yards, 2 total touchdowns, 2 interceptions — in Montreal’s 30-27 Week 1 loss to Calgary and made it through only three drives on Thursday before Khari pulled the plug.
“I just have to get back to work,” Adams said, “and we’ve got to get a win.”
The I-5 Corridor’s buyer’s guide
Single game tickets for Oregon went on sale last week. Here’s The I-5 Corridor’s official buyer’s guide, rankings these games from the ones we’d avoid to the ones we’d be willing to shell out some cash.
Let’s start with the bottom.
6. BYU, Sept. 17
2021 record: 10-3
Buy: This is no nonconference cupcake for the Ducks. BYU went 5-0 against the Pac-12 last year and returns quarterback Jaren Hall, who threw for 2,583 yards, 20 touchdowns and just five interceptions a year ago.
Sell: The Ducks open the year with Georgia. In Week 2, they face one of the FCS’ best programs in Eastern Washington. As a reward, they get Kalani Sitake and his Pac-12 kryptonite coming into Eugene? That’s a recipe for a sad traffic jam coming out of Autzen Stadium.
5. Stanford, Oct. 1
2021 record: 3-9 (2-7 Pac-12)
Sell: While Stanford had a fantastic recruiting class in 2022 (second in the Pac-12), it’s still going to be a few years before the Cardinal should be expected to start playing an exciting brand of football.
4. Utah, Nov. 19
2021 record: 10-4 (8-1 Pac-12)
Buy: This could very well be the most important game on Oregon’s calendar in a rematch of the 2021 Pac-12 title game.
Sell: In November it certainly does rain in Autzen Stadium. Also, do you remember how that Pac-12 title game went?
3. UCLA, Oct. 22
2021 record: 8-4 (6-3 Pac-12)
Buy: If Oregon’s spring wasn’t a mirage and the Ducks really do want to open the offense back up, there will be absolutely no complaints about the number of people in attendance for this track meet against Oregon’s former coach.
Sell: This is the most important season of Chip Kelly’s UCLA tenure, which means the Bruins will most likely already be out of the conference title race and in their assumed position as conference shit-stirrer by the time the leaves change.
2. Eastern Washington, Sept. 10
2021 record: 10-3
Buy: Whether Oregon can upset Georgia in Week 1 or not, Dan Lanning’s home debut against Eastern Washington is sure to be a party at Autzen in warm weather with a kickoff time (5:30 p.m.) that will actually get you in bed by a decent hour.
1. Washington, Nov. 12
2021 record: 4-8, (3-6 Pac-12)
Buy: The Mario Cristobal era of the Oregon/Washington rivalry sure had its moments, from program-establishing wins to some very hot mics. There are new staffs on both sides, but you have to think there’s got to be some resentment in that Washington locker room for Oregon’s postgame celebration last year in Seattle. Should be a blast.
Sell: Historically speaking, if you’ve bought tickets for the last three games at Autzen Stadium against Washington, you’ve seen:
A great Oregon win, a massive Washington blowout and no game at all thanks to the pandemic. Even rivalries can be a bit of a crapshoot.
Refuse to Spend
I’m not much of a gambler, but here’s a little bit of advice people have been able to take to the bank since 2002: If the Mariners start receiving preseason hype, run the other way
I was reminded of that when I came across the 2002 Seattle Times season preview while cleaning out my shed over the weekend.
At least back then it felt like the Mariners were trying to win. Sure, in 2022 the M’s have some nice young pieces that the franchise has been able to turn into “We’re trying really hard” propaganda, but Colin O’Keefe has the datapoints to show that it’s really not the case.
The Mariners, a trendy pick to make the playoffs for the first time in 21 years, dropped three of four games to Anaheim over the weekend to fall 10 games below .500. Manager Scott Servais is likely going to be the first one to take the fall for this, when it’s becoming increasingly apparent the blame should stand with ownership.
At least T-Mobile Park looks great glowing pink every night in the Emerald City.
Coming up this week:
Incoming Oregon 5-star offensive lineman Josh Conerly Jr. was just named the Washington 3A Athlete of the Year by SBLive. Read the full story by Andy Buhler here and keep a look out for a subscriber-exclusive podcast later today with Buhler on what Conerly will bring to the table down in Eugene this fall.
For any longtime readers, you may remember a story I wrote for The Athletic a few years back about Olaus Alinen, who at the time was a 6-foot-7, 325-pound monster of a 16-year-old offensive linemen. The hook back then was that Alinen, from Finland, was just becoming a hot recruiting prospect.
Former Oregon offensive line coach Alex Mirabal came across Alinen’s film, then an hour later had him on a FaceTime with an offer.
“In the middle of the call, he said, ‘Here’s the thing: We’re going to offer you a scholarship from Oregon,’ Alinen recalled. “I was like, ‘Wow.’”
Mirabal obviously tagged along with Cristobal down to Miami, which made the cut for Alinen as he’s narrowed his list of schools down to five. But the Ducks are still in it, too, and will be hosting the Finnish prospect on Tuesday in Eugene.
— Tyson Alger
The I-5 Corridor is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.