The Beaver Beat (September 19, 2006)

Can't I leave you people alone for one week? When I left, Oklahoma was better than Oregon, instant replay was still a semi-legitimate practice, referees went to bed at night without the fear of God in their heart, Beaver fans were inching toward the edge of the cliff and The Beaver Beat was on trial for crimes against humanity. What's next, Pete Rose admitting to betting on baseball?

This week, TBB is going to break the silence regarding the Oklahoma-Oregon game, which absolutely no one seems to be talking about. Your intrepid reporter will also wet himself over the emergence of a suddenly " "resurgent" " football team up north (notice the double quotation marks, indicating double sarcasm), talk about the latest scrimmage at Reser coming up on Saturday, open up the oh-my-gosh-no-death-threats BeatBox and lead a mass, NON-DENOMINATIONAL prayer for a defensive line and decent play-calling for the year ahead.

WAIT, THERE ARE TWO PAC-10 TEAMS IN WASHINGTON?

In the latest "How the hell did we lose to Boise State?" moment for Beaver fans, the Washington Huskies apparently fielded a football team on Saturday, even managing to defeat the Fresno State Bulldogs. From what TBB can ascertain, FSU was (amazingly) fully conscious at all times during the contest.

Ut oh.

I'll admit that I treated this game like any football fan living in Eugene – when Fresno looked like they were handling the Huskies, I went home (or, rather, stopped watching and caring). Continuing the theme of God apparently hating me, the Huskies then managed the impossible, winning at home to the delight of the 30 people in the stands who chose a Husky game over dinner at T.G.I. Friday's for their Saturday entertainment.

You can officially take another team off of the "Well, at least we have these guys coming up" list that Beaver fans now hold so dear. Fresno State may not be a world-beater, but they did beat a WAC team, which is more than we can say.

Nothing spectacular stands out about the Husky victory. They gave up more first downs and total yardage. Isaiah Stanback was the leading passer, rusher and probably tackler for the Dawgs. They recovered one turnover. Blah blah blah.

But a win is a win, and that at least qualifies Washington for the Pole of Power (go crazy, Husky Nation, go crazy). It won't be quite enough to give Dawg fans their swagger back, but for Beaver fans concerned about their season after two games, it will likely mean a little more sweat when that game rolls around – probably with good reason.

IF THEY DON'T COUNT THIS GAME, DO I GET MY TEN DOLLARS BACK?

A funny thing happened this Saturday at Autzen Stadium.

No, I'm not talk about the onside kick that was botched in every possible way. I'm not talking about the sudden hurricane-force winds that swirled around Dennis Dixon's pass in mid-air, causing it to fly like a wounded duck (or tipped ball?) for no apparent reason. I'm not talking about the sense of self-importance that Duck fans all around your intrepid reporter have seemed to regain.

I'm talking about Duck fans becoming the self-anointed voice of reason and rationality in the college football world.

Yes, you read that right. I mean, look at all those crazy Oklahoma fans. Their President petitioning to have the game erased from the record books? A death threat against that nice, well-meaning referee who called the game so well? My goodness. Those barbarians!

Oh how soon they forget. The Beaver Beat doesn't, though.

Flashback to the end of last season. The Ducks are the "obvious" choice for BCS contention, having beat a bunch of teams all equal to or worse than Fresno State and Cal. The bigwigs at the BCS, no doubt stroking white cats, smoking big cigars and twirling their mustaches, ended up picking Notre Dame and Ohio State instead. OH THE HUMANITY!

So, of course, Duck fans responded with the kind of sportsmanlike conduct that makes them the new bastions of civility in the college football world – by punishing the coaches that voted them too low. Ask SMU coach Phil Bennett, whose offices were flooded with spam emails when Duck fans put his email address on mailing lists, costing the university in both time and money lost.

Of course, the Oklahoma game wasn't a case of the money-driven BCS choosing two traditional national powers to square off over a weak one-loss Oregon team. Though Duck fans won't like to hear it, the cloud of controversy under which their victory hangs is a little darker than most.

Missed calls are commonplace in college football, particularly in the Pac-10 conference. But how often does a missed call (or a series of missed calls) result in the suspension of the officials in question? How often does a game result in the reappraisal of the entire instant replay system? How many times has the President of a major university actually petitioned to have a game stricken from the record?

There is no amount of rationalizing, no amount of "There were more plays in the game than just that one!" that will make these facts untrue. Certainly Oklahoma had their fair share of calls go their way, too. No one's saying they didn't.

But this is the college football equivalent of Steve Bartman interfering with the foul ball in the 2003 NLCS or the Yankee fan snatching the ball away from Tony Tarasco in the 1996 ALCS. There are more plays in a game than one – but in sports, where so much rests on momentum and energy, one play that completely turns the tide of a game, especially at its most critical moment, becomes especially important. When it results from gross incompetence on the parts of non-participants, it just becomes disgusting.

Oregon fans, as Bob Welch pointed out in the Ar-Gee, need not feel guilty about their victory. Despite conspiracy theories that say the contrary, Oregon didn't do anything to have the win fall into their laps. No self-respecting college football fan would ever refuse a victory.

But the defenses being yelped out by Duck fans are just as ridiculous (though not as malicious) as the moans of the Oklahoma faithful. The worst part is that Duck fans really seem to believe that, if thrust into the same situation, they would react completely differently.

Oh yeah. They haven't.

The outcome of the game deserves to be in question. The game should be viewed with less legitimacy. Oregon fans would be just as angry and do much the same. The "holier-than-thou" act can stop.

The Beaver Beat thanks you in advance.

OH YEAH, THIS IS A COLUMN ABOUT BEAVER FOOTBALL

Another loss by Idaho this week would be good news for Mike Riley – and in more ways than you might think.

Certainly Beaver fans will be happy (well, happier than they are right now) to walk out of non-conference play with a 2-1 record. Idaho appears to be just the remedy to make this happen, having given up almost two points for every one it scores against Michigan State, Washington State and Idaho State. Their crawled to a three-point victory against ISU last week and now enter Reser Stadium, where Coach Riley will get the team ready or die failin'.

The Beaver Beat not only picks Oregon State, but picks them to cover. Let's have a big "Hip, hip, hooray!" for the return of unabashed homerism.

But just for discussion's sake, let's look at the Idaho situation a little closer. Saint Dennis returns to Moscow and immediately limps out to a 1-2 record. Certainly no one was expecting a miracle, but aside from a glimpse of optimism in the MSU game, Idaho has been, well, Idaho.

Why does this matter? You might remember one of the big arguments of Mike Riley supporters was that he recruited almost all of the guys with which Dennis Erickson then thrived. Later, when MR took back over the program, he was left with the bare cupboard of talent that the Erickson regime left. Arguments ensued, blah blah blah.

Well, looking at Idaho the way it is now, one has to wonder just how much salt the Riley recruits were worth. True, they've been beaten by two teams from BCS conferences, but their season as a whole doesn't look too good on paper. They might beat some WAC teams, but the mystique of Dennis Erickson seems to have lost some of its gleam.

Maybe Riley was building something before he left? Maybe he deserves some credit for the magical 2000 season?

Or maybe he should just win football games and scrap all of the debate.

THE BEATBOX

Curtis, I laugh my ass off at your column. Of course, everyone thinks my sense of humor revolves around bad taste, but in all seriousness all the REALLY good humor of our times (eg - original Saturday Night Live) was guaranteed to offend someone. Some people just need to learn to laugh at themselves. (Gee - do ya think [the offended] MIGHT be Mormon??)

Don't change a thing.

- Roger

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Love the column please don't change. If you lose your sense of humor and sense of the absurd and become PC you may as well just become a Duck fan and go burn down some building somewhere in protest. We beavers bleed for our team and will continue to even if it takes another 28 years, we always have the Fiesta Bowl. Do you think that Notre Dame ("the Catholics") feel the same way about us as we do about Boise State?

- Larry


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Your article on scout is the only one that I've found worth reading. Please be sure to tell those who disrespect you to kindly take a trip to hell and enjoy some satanic sodomy.

Also, please use the derogatory slang "moes" over "mormons," I'm easily insulted by people who don't insult enough easily insulted people and I will cancel my membership if more people aren't insulted!

A conservative Cal fan, (No one ever believes me.)

- Tom


You love me! You really love me! Brown-nosers.

That said, the Beaver Beat does not condone or necessarily agree with the comments of its readers. TBB strives to hate everyone equally – at least until church on Sunday.

THE POLE OF POWER

1. USC
2. Oregon
3. Cal
4. UCLA
5. Arizona State
6. Arizona
7. Oregon State
8. Washington
9. Washington State
10. Ursinus and La Salle for the 6-2 final score in their COLLEGE FOOTBALL game on Saturday.

(Curtis Haley is a referee for the Pac-10 conference. He predicts a 52-10 victory for Oregon State on Saturday. He will be right.

Operators are standing by: thebeaverbeat@beaverfootball.com)

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