Thursday, November 30, 2023

New Address PWE Round-Up


Loads of Cardinals, football players, pink cards and mini cards (and pink mini cards?)
If you hadn't heard, I recently moved after being in the same spot for more than seventeen years. It was quite a chore! Thankfully, everything is done now and I had a number of envelopes with cards in them sent to the new place. Let's check out a few of them.

First up is a stack of Cardinals cards from gcrl / cards as i see them. I'm not sure how he ended up with so many pink parallels from the 2019 Topps Mini set, but I'm certainly glad they were sent my way!

As you may have noticed, all of these cards are numbered to just 25 copies. I don't believe the print run for the base cards from this online exclusive set was all that high to begin with, but this is still really cool.

Speaking of low print runs, I also found this Sapphire Chrome card inside the envelope. This is a set that I would never join a group break of, let alone buy a box. It's so expensive! That's why I enjoy picking up the odd common Sapphire card every great once in awhile. They're just parallels (or parallels of parallels?) but they at least look nicer than when they just slap a foil logo on the flagship factory set and call it good.

I think they dropped these Walgreen's exclusive yellow parallels after a time, which is too bad, because the pharmacy closest to me just started regularly stocking cards.

Next up was a cool batch of Redbirds from Marc Brubaker, another long time trading buddy. I haven't bought any of this year's Panini baseball products since they lost their MLBPA license, so it's always nice to pick up some of those Cardinals through trading channels.

Speaking of stuff that I'm not buying, it's the new Allen & Ginter set. I finally put my foot down and decided to end my run of trying to put together this set every year. It's not that I don't like the way these cards look. They just don't really look like Allen & Ginter cards anymore, so what drew me to this brand seems to have been totally lost. If you slapped the dreaded GQ logo on these, I'm not sure that most would really notice.

Here's a couple of really nice minis. Pujols has the A&G logo on the back, and Walker is, obviously, a black parallel. 

Speaking of sets I've been avoiding, well... here's another one. This is another "art" set where they take a photo of a player and add some effects to it to try to make it look hand drawn or something. Instead, it kind of looks like all of the photos are AI-generated. Has anyone played around with Bing's AI image generator to try to make fake baseball cards? I know what I'm doing tonight!

It's AI Arenado!

This last group of cards is from the football realm and comes from buckstorecards. I have come to really appreciate these Draft Pick sets that Panini churns out year after year because they feature players in their college uniforms. I think that tends to diminish their overall value, but it makes it really fun to collect for me, especially as I've always been a bit lukewarm on the NFL game. Here Christian Gonzalez is showing off the Ducks eggshell uniform that they break out a couple of times a season.

On this one, Gonzalez is wearing more of a classic green. I do like the all green look and wish we'd see it a little more.

These aren't Ducks uniforms, but they are (former) Ducks players! I always love getting CFL cards from across the border, since I tend to never know who is in them. Apparently Upper Deck also does an e-Pack line of CFL cards, which is something that I wish existed for baseball. (Well, maybe.)

If you have any spare Dodgers (gcrl), Astros (Bru), or whatever the heck buckstorecards collects (he has diverse interests!), definitely consider dropping them in the mail to these guys.

Friday, November 24, 2023

Good Luck Ducks, Week 13: The Last Civil War?


It's the Ducks final conference meeting with their Corvallis-based rivals. 
The 127th meeting between Oregon and Oregon State on the football field is their last scheduled game together. When Oregon finally bit the bullet and decided to join the Big Ten after seeing other schools seize their own opportunities, most local fans immediate thoughts were "welp, there goes the Civil War." And it's true: there will be no more last week, Black Friday or late November rivalry games between these two teams no matter what they end up working out in the future. There's persistent talk of Oregon trying to back out of or adjust their contract with Boise State that is supposed to run for the next three seasons in order to get that Beavers game on their non-conference schedule next year (which would happen in mid-September), but they're eventually going to face a long term scheduling issue to try to keep alive a rivalry that now spans multiple conferences.

Tonight's game is particularly notable, because the Ducks have managed to pass all of their tests following the regrettable loss to Washington with flying colors. The Huskies hung on at the end last week in Corvallis to remain undefeated. The possibilities are still there, with Oregon being the consensus pick for "best one loss team in the country" and a potential rematch with UW in the very last Pac-12 Championship game looming. A Ducks win tonight and a Huskies win in their last Pac-12 Apple Cup would set it all up. From there, it would be up to the voters to determine if an Oregon conference championship would be enough to propel them to a coveted top four playoff spot. Thanksgiving is over. There aren't many games left now.

Bo Nix was absolutely stunning last week against an overmatched Sun Devils defense. He threw for a school record six (!) touchdowns, all in the first half, before being treated to a lot of second half rest. Troy Franklin broke the school record for most receiving yards in a season, still with games left to play. These Ducks have reportedly been replaying the horror show that was last season's Civil War 4th quarter on loop to prepare for tonight's game. It's something as a fan that I would never want to revisit, but at least this year we know we're in for good clear weather and no obnoxious chainsaw sounds blasting through the PA. I certainly can't complain about the last real Civil War game being played in Eugene.

Notes and other things:
  • I don't often talk about whatever random Ducks card I feel like attaching to these posts, but this one I just received from buckstorecards strike a particular interest. I do really like sports cards where you can pinpoint exactly what game the photo is from, and this one makes it clear that it's from the 2013 Fiesta Bowl win over Kansas State. That game was notable for being only the second ever game with a recorded 1 point conversion safety.
  • Where Are They Headed? Well, it still seems that Oregon State is heading nowhere. There's been no indication that either of the last two standing Pac-12 members are wanting to join up with anyone else, with a potential long term plan being to lure members of other (lesser) conferences to head to them. I don't know how this would even work or what their schedules will look like going forward, but I wish them luck. I hate that this breakup is happening.
  • Ducks Ranking This Week: 6. This should be the last week of no significant changes among the top six ranks. Many eyes will be on the Ohio State/Michigan game.
  • Bo Nix Heisman Watch: I mean, 6 touchdown passes in a half while hardly breaking a sweat? What more could you ask for?!
  • Game time is 5:30 PDT on FOX in Eugene. Go Ducks!

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Good Luck Ducks, Week 12: The Fork Realm

The Ducks penultimate game of their Pac-12 run sees them facing off against Bo Nix's longtime coach. 
There's two games left on the scheduled now for Oregon, and before the big (last) showdown against the increasingly dangerous looking Beavers, it's time to face the 3-win Arizona State Sun Devils. This seems to be innocuous enough, except when you consider that Kenny Dillingham is the head coach down there. Not only was Dillingham the Ducks offensive coordinator last season, but he also served in the same position at Auburn when Bo Nix excelled as a freshman QB and... well... ruined Oregon's season before it could get off the ground.

With the way things have gone so far, I wouldn't expect anything too shocking today, but there is always the "trap game" potential. Dillingham's presence only adds to that potential storyline. With Nix and the Ducks at the top of their game at this point, it would be very surprising, but funny things happen on the road in November.

Scoreboard watchers, be aware! In addition to this game that Oregon totally needs to be focused on, their very close rivals will be in Corvallis to host Washington in one of the biggest conference games of the season. I am no expert, but I think... with some reservation here... that it would be most beneficial to the Ducks playoff hopes if Washington did win this game. The Huskies would retain their undefeated record, and would conceivably play Oregon once again in the Pac-12 conference championship game if everything played out according to plan. A Ducks victory over Washington would potentially elevate their chances at the playoff due in large part to recency bias. Of course, that pesky last Apple Cup is lurking to ruin everything.

Notes and other things:
  • Two weeks ago, the Sun Devils lost 55-3 in what some have considered their worst loss ever. This was sandwiched by two closely fought defensive struggles, including last week's win over UCLA. It will be interesting to see what kind of game they unleash this afternoon.
  • Where Are They Headed? The Sun Devils are headed to the Big 12 next season. Fun.
  • Ducks Ranking This Week: 6. No changes this week. There's more than the pressure on winning out, hoping Washington wins out and also beating Washington in the Pac-12 title game. Someone else above them probably has to lose. Maybe two of them.
  • Bo Nix Heisman Watch: Like everything else, Bo's chances would be highly influenced by a Washington rematch victory.
  • Game time is 1:00 PST on FOX in Tempe. Go Ducks!

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Good Luck Ducks, Week 11: Join 'Em


The Ducks host another California team in some Pac-12 After Dark action.

Looking back to just mere months ago, I was really salty about tonight's game. USC was among the first to defect from the Pac-12 and had poached both the head coach and starting quarterback from the University of Oklahoma. Fast forward to, well, now and it's pretty easy to just be over it. Oregon will be in the same conference as USC (and UCLA) after all, opting to leave for the Big 10 after this season. It's hard to be mad at that anymore. What's done is done.

Can I muster up some enthusiasm for tonight's game? I definitely can! USC still hasn't managed to reach the heights of the Reggie Bush years despite being treated like college football royalty. A late night game at Autzen Stadium is always fun, but this could be a seriously high scoring one if the weather cooperates and if things go according to script. The Trojans defense has seriously struggled this season, relegating them to being shut out of the conference picture for now unless some upsets happen.

It will be a battle of two highly decorated college QBs, with Caleb Williams facing off against Bo Nix. I can't wait to see what happens!

Notes and other things:
  • Apparently Chris Rock is heavily recruiting Caleb Williams to join the New York Jets. If you were truly a Jets fan, would you really want to wish that misery on anyone else?
  • Where Are They Headed? The B1G!
  • Ducks Ranking This Week: 6. Not much changed in the past week, and Oregon did enough to solidify their position for another week by putting up 63 on Cal.
  • Bo Nix Heisman Watch: Bo is in good shape according to FOX. Caleb Williams, last season's winner -- not so much. It just goes to show you what a team's record will do to its star's Heisman hopes, regardless of how well that player actually plays.

Saturday, November 4, 2023

Good Luck Ducks, Week 10: The Cal of it All


Oregon hosts a familiar foe from NorCal. 
Fresh off of a dominating win over Utah, Oregon takes their shiny #6 ranking and solidified position in the new College Football Playoff poll back home to Autzen Stadium to host California. Everyone will be missing the rivalry with Oregon State for years to come, but there are other annual matchups that are being eliminated that sting as well. The Ducks and Bears have a long and interesting history of entanglements, which has only been amplified with the vast number of students that live in northern California but choose to go to school at UO.

On paper, this game isn't expected to be as close or competitive as their usual meetings, but these things have a strange way of playing out on the field sometimes. At last check, the Ducks were favored by more than three scores, but we all know that games aren't played on paper (because that would be boring.) Of course, the Bears haven't actually won in Eugene since 2007 for what it's worth.

Bo Nix will look to be in top form again, although the damp but mild weather could lead to the Quack Attack leaning heavily on the ground game. This is also something that suits this Duck team just fine, with their two-headed attack that features Bucky Irving and Justin James. This tandem reminds me of when Oregon had LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner running wild all over everyone.

Notes and other things:
  • Last week's wild 50-49 loss in Berkeley to USC was delayed by more than seven minutes due to a student protest which had something to do with a former professor. This sounds like a very Cal thing to do.
  • Where Are They Headed? The Northern Cal team will be headed to the eastern seaboard for a chunk of their schedule as they are joining the ACC. We'll see how long this stuff lasts.
  • Ducks Ranking This Week: 6. The CFP is finally in action and they felt that Oregon is the best of the one-loss teams. Sounds good to me.
  • Bo Nix Heisman Watch: He's back in the discussion, it would seem.
  • Game time is 2:30 PDT on the Pac-12 Network in Eugene. Go Ducks!