The Beaver Beat (September 26, 2006)

It's been three days since Oregon State recorded their first shutout in twenty-three years. It's been nineteen days since the bandwagon not only lost its wheels, but rolled over in addition. It's been twenty-two days since Steve Irwin yelled his last "crikey". It's been eleven days since Oregon stole a football game. The healing process for Beaver fans appears to be well underway.

This is The Beaver Beat: The Rehab Edition.

This week, we're going to be admitting that Oregon State may or may not be the worst team in college football. We're going to tell ourselves that a higher power may be able to lead us to sanity, but that it won't be Dennis Erickson. We're going to take a searching inventory of the rest of the Pac-10 (and see that we might not have such a huge program). We're going to ask a non-denominational, non-politically offensive God to remove all of the defects in Arizona State's character. We're going to do some other stuff, like the Pole of Power, possibly themed to the twelve steps. We're going to beat this theme into the ground.

STEP ONE: I ADMIT THAT OSU MIGHT HAVE THE ONLY FANBASE IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL THAT GETS MORE PANICKED AFTER PITCHING A 38-POINT SHUTOUT

Alright, so your intrepid reporter knows that the Idaho game wasn't the prettiest. But somewhere along the line, I think some Beaver fans might have forgotten that we are the team that BEAT Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl – not the Cath…Jesu…um, Fighting Irish themselves.

How in the world can Oregon State win by 38 points, cover the spread by over two touchdowns, notch a shut-out for the first time in over two decades and STILL MANAGE TO DISTRESS THE FANS?

Honestly, Oregon State has now become such a force in the college football world that beating a team by five touchdowns isn't enough? "We should've beaten them by 60" is now the rallying cry for the disgruntled masses?

Can we be real for just a second? You can hate Mike Riley. You can be an eternal pessimist. But Rule #1 in the College Football Koran is that under no circumstances do you treat a 38-point victory like a loss.

Go ahead and tell me that's not what some Beaver fans were doing after this game. When I read a post that says "Oregon State is the worst-coached team in college football", I damned well better see the other team in triple digits. We have lamenting about the offensive line, the defensive line, the secondary, the coaching…but hey, gotta love those special teams.

I've always heard of games like Idaho and Eastern Washington being "lose-lose" situations for teams. The idea as I always understood it was that a win doesn't mean anything and a loss is suicide.

Apparently I missed the part where games like this are not only meaningless, but anything less than NFL-level performance can be interpreted as systemic incompetence.

How is the negative reaction to this game any different than if it would have been a loss? The voices talking about positives are already drowned out while the boo-birds have a field day. Check the boards, particularly during the game. Tell me they don't smack of the razor-sharpening that happens after a team drops a game.

Folks, I know how much the Boise State game hurt our confidence and our expectations. I was in the stands in Bronco Stadium getting the wind blown out of my sails, too. But before you're swept away in the seeming expectation of a Fiesta Bowl-quality team every year, try not to forget the first rule of being a Beaver fan:

Wins are ALWAYS a good thing. Squeak by Eastern Washington, pound Idaho or cheat to beat Oklahoma. It doesn't matter. There's just a bigger number under the W column. More W's equals more money and probably more success. Period. Criticize the execution if you must, but never look a 38-point gift horse in the mouth.

Even if a Bronco's already done you wrong.

STEP TWO: I HAVE TAKEN A SEARCHING INVENTORY OF THE PAC-10. MEH.

A funny thing happened on the way to the gallows: In addition to Oregon State, almost every Pac-10 team has had reason for concern in at least one game this season

Starting with an idea that BadMouthinBeaver pointed out on the BF.com boards:

Arizona got absolutely obliterated down in the Bayou while playing fairly good football against BYU and USC. They stand at 2-2.

Arizona State looked shaky for three quarters against Northern Arizona, then waited three weeks to be smoked like so much…um, tobacco in Berkeley.

Cal dropped the soap in Tennessee before regaining their composure and looking respectable against Minnesota and ASU.

Respected Oregon donor Gordon Riese got to watch some good football in Autzen, apparently on an electronics system that boasts less capability than a VCR.

Stanford may or may not still have a football program.

Washington apparently got real tired of me making fun of them, inspiring them to shrug off their mediocre out-of-conference performance to beat UCLA. I am taking full credit for their rebirth. Any $1000 checks written as a result of lost bets can be made out to "The Beaver Beat".

In the latest sign of the Apocalypse, Washington State now is tied for the longest winning streak in the conference after missing their flight to the Auburn game.

Pretty much every fan base outside of Eugene has had reason to question their desire to live this season. The difference between other teams and Oregon State seems to be that other teams can manage to move past losses, whereas some Beaver fans are still sore over that loss to Baylor back in '96.

Suddenly the Cal outlook should look a little more sunny? Maybe?

No?

Fine, whatever.

STEP THREE: WHATEVER, I'M BACK OFF THE WAGON

The only way Cal could have made my weekend more enjoyable last week would have been for their entire starting lineup to hold a post-game press conference to denounce the barbarism of college football, resulting in their immediate and permanent departure from the team, effective in time for the Oregon State game.

So far, no such luck from the guys in Strawberry Canyon.

What I did luck out on, though, was watching Dirk Koetter and company get absolutely annihilated by the Cal offense. It's like watching your uppity coworker get caught by the boss peeing in the Coffee-Mate. He may still be handsome and probably will succeed more than you will in the immediate future, but man was it worth the look on his face.

My reveling in the pain and displeasure of Dirk Koetter aside, Cal comes to Reser a team possessed. They're back to being that team that might beat USC, bringing back balance to the Force.

Oregon State is going to need to take care of business, but The Beaver Beat isn't here to offer expert football analysis. TBB is just like John Canzano: We don't have a freaking clue.

It would be nice, however, to see Reser sell out for a ranked team coming to town for the first conference game of the year. It would be nice if fans on the new side of Reser got out of their comfy chairs every now and then to cheer like they were at a football game. It would be nice to have Beaver Nation show it cares as much about its team as many of its members' long-winded complaints would indicate.

Boise State, Idaho and Eastern Washington are in the books – all we can do is look ahead and wait for the rest to unfold.

And pray. Lots and lots of praying.

STEP FOUR: WHO CARES?

I have apparently failed to offend anyone this week. So here's my random potentially controversial thought for the week:

Want to play a fun drinking game? On Sundays for the rest of the year, tune into any New Orleans home game. Every time the commentators mention "Katrina", drink once. Every time they say "Reggie Bush" and "charity" in the same sentence, drink once. Every time they talk about the Superdome like they're trying to make it the Eighth Wonder of the World, take two drinks. The words "refugee", "rebuild" and "tragedy" are said, drink.

If none of the above are said within five minutes of the beginning of the game, the NFL is not doing enough to exploit a natural disaster to increase interest in the league. Polish off the rest of your bottle.

STEPS FIVE THROUGH TWELVE: THIS WEEK'S POLE OF POWER BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE ELKO, NEVADA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND SASQUATCH

1. USC
2. Cal
3. Oregon
4. Arizona State
5. Washington
6. Oregon State
7. Washington State
8. UCLA
9. Arizona

(Curtis Haley enjoys corn dogs – but only the real-deal fried kind. Deep fried, preferably.

Send prayer requests to thebeaverbeat@beaverfootball.com)

BeaverBlitz Top Stories