Time to count Beaver blessings

HELLO BEAVER NATION. Here we are smack dab in the middle of a BCS bowl game discussion, sitting pretty with an 8-2 record and a showdown with the 9-1 Oregon Ducks looms. Before you sit down to stuff your face full of fried duck, crispy roast duck, honey duck, duck breasts with raspberry sauce, sous vide duck breast, duck confit or even honey duck, let's join hands, bow our heads, and say grace.

Dear 8 pounds 6 ounces new born infant Jesus, don't even know a word yet, lying there in your ghost manger looking at your Baby Einstein developmental videos, learning about shapes like footballs and learning about colors like orange and black, I would like to thank you for Coach Rod Perry for bringing our secondary together and teaching them how to look back for the football.

As a matter of fact, Newborn Baby Jesus, in your golden, fleece diapers, with your curled-up, fat balled-up little fists of rage pawin' at the air, I've come up with a list of things that we, your Faithful Beaver Nation, are thankful for this season. Hang on, I think I left the list in my other pants.

Ok, I found it. Luckily it didn't go through the wash yet, because I put a lot of hard work into this.

1. We're thankful for Coach Mike Riley. Because if we as a collective Beaver Nation had listened to the vocal minority who wanted to hire Dan Hawkins in 2003, or fire him at the end of 2005, the Beavers would be the butt of national sports media rather than the toast of it. The goats instead of the Feel-Good Cinderella story of the season.
2. We're thankful for Coach Joe Seumalo and his sons. Coach Joe has been a spectacular coach, and Coach, without your sons Isaac and Andrew, this Beaver team would not be where they are.
3. We're thankful for the salty dog himself, Coach Mike Cavanaugh. Cav has been perhaps Riley's greatest hire – his close relationship with Isaac helped bring us the greatest freshman OL in the country and perhaps the greatest true freshman football player in the country, and then made that young man an EVEN BETTER football player. Plus, nobody does more with less than Coach Cav. Walk-on freshman Derek Nielsen steps in for an injured Grant Enger and the offensive line just keeps humming along.
4. We're thankful for Rashaad Reynolds. Because everyone knew that Jordan Poyer would be a game-changer, but few realized that Ray-Ray was going to be so dang good and really allow Mark Banker to play Mad Scientist with his defense. He's turned in his greatest performance as a Defensive Coordinator to date headed into the Civil War.
5. We're thankful for Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks. Because you know, Baby Jesus, that Beaver Nation dared to hope that the offense might still be good even after James Rodgers graduated, but few could have hoped that the Beavers would be featuring the greatest WR tandem in all the land. Without these two, BYU's entire secondary might not still be catatonic and whispering about the horror they faced in Provo this season.
6. We're thankful for the emergence of Connor Hamlett. Now that Civil War is upon us, having a 6-foot-7 tight end who can run and has big soft hands sure does seem like a blessing from Baby Jesus himself, and Sean Mannion seems to have some chemistry developing with Big Ham. Production from the tight end position really makes Mike Riley's offense run, and it comes at a perfect time.
7. We're thankful that it feels like Oregon State is finally firing on all cylinders – and at the perfect time. In the absence of a bye week, a blowout game where the third and fourth stringers got plenty of playing time while Oregon was mired in a dogfight with the conference's most physical team. After Oregon has crushed OSU's Rose Bowl dreams two years running (in 2008 and 2009 as you well know, Baby Jesus) it sure would be nice to team up with Stanford to boot them from the national title game all the way down and out of BCS bowl consideration.

And remember, Beaver Nation. Christmas is right around the corner, and what better gift to give a loved one who is a poor misguided Oregon fan than a picture of you and your dearest at a BCS bowl game while they wail about being denied the Natty by referees who didn't call phantom pass interference on Jordan Poyer and kickers who couldn't hit water from a boat. So do your part: Show up, wear orange, and be loud at this year's Civil War.

And hang on Baby Jesus, it's about to get bumpy.

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