The Beaver Beat (September 5, 2006)

How does a team beat Eastern Washington and become a contender? Easy - have everyone else in the conference look awful. This, a prayer for a BSU victory, a look at reader mail and the Pole of Power highlight this edition of the Beaver Beat.

Well, my little niblets, we somehow managed to escape Corvallis with our dignity intact. I know that some of you were very worried about Eastern Washington, but the good news is that all of you that thought that were idiots. Hahaha, I'm just kidding. You should keep reading and pretend I didn't just insult our readers because my paycheck depends on it. Just do the same thing you do with the Oregonian, only don't light the computer on fire.

In this week's edition of The Beaver Beat, we have the desolate wasteland that is now the Pac-10, the desolate wasteland that is a look down I-5, the look ahead to the hopefully less desolate wasteland that is Boise, Idaho, the desolate wasteland that is my Inbox and the relative oasis that is the Pole of Power. Praise Allah.

HOW A SECOND-TIER WIN MAKES YOU A FIRST-TIER CONTENDER

Well, that was fun. The Pac-10 was looking pretty good heading into Week One. Then the games were played and all anyone can think of is that scene in "Fargo" when the dude is fed through the wood chipper. Playing the role of wood chipper this week will be reality.

Arizona squeaked by the Mormons, who apparently couldn't summon the power of God enough to send the last second field goal wide left. Neither of these teams should be thrilled about the outcome of the game because it's likely that none of them is going to do much this season.

Meanwhile, for three quarters Sam Keller sat in Lincoln, Nebraska laughing his ass off before Dirk Koetter remembered that he would be hung in the event of a loss to Northern Arizona. Aberration? I hope not.

As part of a new program to promote goodwill among high school students, Cal let the boys from Amity High School suit up and play offensive line against Tennessee. That's the only explanation I can come up with, anyway.

Stanford was not able to make it to its scheduled game against Oregon, resulting in a forfeit.

Washington won its only game of the season against the guys at Craigslist.

Alex Brink got back to his Eugene roots, bringing a bong that he and Bill Doba shared through the entirety of the game against Auburn. That's the only explanation I can come up with, anyway.

Based off Week One, the two places where football still has a pulse are in SoCal, where two teams took on respectable opponents and emerged with convincing victories, and right here in Oregon where two D-1AA teams were defeated, proving nothing.

The next week looks just as ugly for the Dirty Half-Dozen. Cal takes on Minnesota. If they lose, their season might as well be over. A suddenly impressive Idaho takes on Wazzu in a possible landmine game. Stanford sucks and probably will continue to against San Jose State. Washington and Arizona will both be blown out in trips to Oklahoma and LSU, respectively.

And really, the four other teams haven't proven anything. Wins over Boise and Fresno, particularly of the impressive variety, will go a long way toward legitimizing the Oregon teams. We'll have to wait a few weeks to see just how good USC and UCLA game, with both teams having bye weeks (The Beaver Beat considers Rice to be a bye week).

If anyone is wondering how a win over a D-1AA team makes you a contender after one week in the books, you might want to look at last week for starters.

DOES STANFORD STILL HAVE A FOOTBALL TEAM?

There were reports in the Register-Guard of a Christ-like figure making an appearance in Eugene over the weekend. Apparently the Messiah was spotted in Autzen Stadium for a few hours before "tweaking a knee" (all Messiah-related injuries will be put in quotation marks unless they are real injuries). After further investigation, The Beaver Beat is happy to report that all reports are overblown.

Jonathan Stewart was able to make a bunch of slow, white guys look like…well, slow, white guys. Nothing more. He has not yet turned water into wine, and all claims of such things by Duck fans may cease immediately.

In their defense, Oregon did truly look fast, efficient and scary on Saturday. I'll chalk up a portion of that to Stanford's awfulness, but not enough to detract from Oregon having one of the best offensive outings I've seen in some time.

I believe the Ducks will be a contender this year based on their offense alone. Their defense may give up a few games (Oklahoma, USC and UCLA are likely; the ASU and OSU games will determine the greatness of this season), but overall, team pride aside, Oregon looks good.

The book is still out on Jonathan Stewart for me. To satisfy this critic (which I'm sure Stewart is constantly striving to do), he's going to have to put up big numbers against a team that isn't awful and shake the image of being the guy who can't play through any pain.

I'm praying for a loss to Fresno this week, but I'm not counting on it.

HOW CAN DOING THE IMPOSSIBLE BE SO DAMNED MEDIOCRE?

Well, here we go again. Once again, the Oregon State Beavers are rolling on into Boise for another surf on the Smurf Turf. Once again, the Broncos are predicted to be a strong indicator of how OSU will fare for the rest of the season. Once again, Beaver fans everywhere are holding their collective breath and hoping that Oregon State can beat the WAC team that just won't go away.

Don't get me wrong, Beaties, this game scares the crap out of me. I'm going to Boise in the hope that I won't have to march out of the stadium, head down, feeling deflated like I did two years ago.

But can we please just take a second to be optimistic, if not realistic, for just one minute?

Boise State has a great winning record at home, but still has the distinction of only beating one BCS team in its history. Yes, I know that team is Oregon State. A reminder: That win came on a short week of rest after being shot through the heart in the Bayou. No excuses needed, but we have a full week of preparation for this game and hopefully recognize it as the most important game we play in the first month of the season.

What's more, despite all of the Bronco bluster, the Beavers are still winning this most recent series of three games. Boise gets up for these games, which is no more apparent than in its last two visits to Reser. But those visits also ended in losses. Say what you will, the last visit to Boise was barely comparable to this year's visit. With both teams seeing this game as a huge chance to prove something and for redemption, the Broncos lose the psychological (and, yes, physical) advantage that they had in 2004.

And don't forget, HAWK IS GONE. The transition was made easier with their offensive coordinator taking over the team, but when you lose a head coach, it hurts. Not many honest people will look at the change in coaching and say "Wow, what an improvement." Because it's not. It's not necessarily a drop in coaching talent, but there's a reason Hawk was the head coach. HINT: It wasn't luck.

My prediction is that the Beavers are going to surprise a lot of people here, jump out to a big lead early and maintain it throughout the game. Riley is always good at the beginning of games and will have the horses to run this time. If Moore keeps his INT's down (likely given the crappy Bronco secondary), the offensive line will make moving the ball a very easy thing. If the D-line helps out the secondary by putting pressure on Jared Zabransky, the Beavs will win in a walk. If they don't, I still think we'll squeak this one out just through better athletes.

Beavs 45, Broncos 27

THE BEAVER BEATBOX

Cute name, right? Yeah. Thought of it by myself. Boo-ya.

Anyhow, Duane from Medford had this to say in response to last week's article:

hey, i live in medford (last ten years) and have had two season tickets about 20 years and i make it to just about every game. i try to take somebody to every game (beautiful women have priority status, no football knowledge necessary either because i'm a nice guy) and that's tough from here because it makes for a very long, tiring day (about 14 hrs). i'm poor and disabled (section 11 seats 1 & 2) so when they show up during the good times and not the bad, it really pisses me off. (i think the athletic department should give us hats that shout out our commitment level or the year we became season ticket holders.)

Duane, you're a true Beaver fan. I was pleasantly surprised when I got to the stadium, but 38,000 people is too little for ANY game, especially considering that we get six or seven home games a year.

Keep the emails coming so I can keep using my awesome new name. Thanks.

THE POLE OF POWER

1. USC (yeah, again)
2. UCLA (yeah, for now)
3. Oregon (yeah, I hate it, too)
4. OSU (yeah, I'm a homer)
5. Cal (yeah, everyone else sucks that much)
6. ASU (yeah, even after a victory)
7. Arizona (yeah, they still aren't that good)

In related news, the state of Washington no longer has a D-1 football team. And Stanford has joined the MAC.

(Curtis Haley is the one who petitioned for "God" to be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance. He's not so crazy about the "United" part, either.

Holla: thebeaverbeat@beaverfootball.com)

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