Talking Points: Oregon goes SEC with its schedule

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The Oregon Ducks are a lot like Southeastern Conference teams. They are fast and play in top-tier bowls. Now, they also schedule like SEC powers, with three non-conference patsies at home to open the 2012 season.

The Rose Bowl champions open with mighty Arkansas State (the Red Wolves) on Sept. 1 and follow with Fresno State on Sept. 8. The Ducks conclude their non-conference schedule against the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles on Sept. 15.

Arkansas State is 10-2 in 2011, while Fresno State went 4-9 and Tennessee Tech was 7-4. Oregon’s first three conference foes are Arizona at home, Washington State in Seattle, and Washington at home. Then they have bye.

The Ducks play two teams that won eight or more games this year — USC and Stanford. Well, not counting the Red Wolves.

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Next we turn to the Mariners. The Angels, a division rival, have added slugger Albert Pujols and starter C.J. Wilson for 2012. The Mariners have added catcher John Jaso and reacquired left-handed set-up man George Sherrill.

More and more, it looks likes the M’s are getting their payroll trim and financial house in preparation for a sale of the team by the current ownership group.

The new year looks a lot like the old year for the M’s: pitching and promises.