The Beaver Beat (October 25, 2006)

Was it really just two weeks ago that Beaver Nation was lighting the pitchforks and stuffing the straw into the Mike Riley effigy doll? Were we really calling for Matt Moore to be benched so that Sean Canfield could make his debut as starter? I mean come on, guys…we've won two games! What were you thinking? Emphasis on "you". As we found out last week, TBB never doubted

This week, we'll tell you how an "ugly" win can still look good (after a few drinks), how the injury situation isn't that bad (after a few more drinks), tell you how OSU might possibly have a chance of maybe beating USC (after a lot more drinks), open up a bottle of BeatBox and pour an icy cold midseason rundown on the state of affairs in the Pac-10 down your gullet. Then we'll check in on BelieverTim's voyage into the land of sobriety – hope things are going great, Timmay!

SO…YEAH, ABOUT LAST NIGHT…

Last week, your intrepid reporter declared Arizona the college football equivalent of the hairy, kinky girl at frat parties. It's only fitting, then, that any victory over such team be declared "ugly".

The biggest surprise on Saturday was that, instead of starting third-string quarterback Kris Heavner, Mike Stoops put ninth-string quarterback Anthony Johnson into the game for the first series. How he managed to do that AND maintain his duties as the guy who fills the Gatorade cups is beyond me. For that matter, why Stoops only gets paid a little over $650,000 for decisions like that is beyond me, also.

But, hey, let's give credit where credit is due. Matt Moore only threw two interceptions in the game, bringing his two-game average against the Wildcats to a respectable 3.5. The receivers caught some passes. Yvenson Bernard…uh…did pretty good. And how about that defense? Yeah. They played well, too. Go guys go.

Alright, you know what, screw that. It was an ugly win. Who cares? In the end, the people at the Poinsettia Bowl are just looking for a squad with a pulse, not College Football On Ice.

Don't tell me for a second that people actually care about the MEANS for achieving the end. If Oregon State had come out, played perfect football and lost by a touchdown, do you really think that Beaver Nation as a whole would say, "Hey, good effort fellas, you lost to a team that's not last in the Pac-10 only because the last-place team rides the short bus to games and has players who apparently have to wear helmets while making a sandwich. You'll get ‘em next time"?

Look around the Pac-10 right now. The best team in the conference has won its last three games by a combined 19 POINTS. And for God's sake, one of those teams was ARIZONA STATE. Their other two losses were by a combined 63 points.

I'm sure that Trojans fans everywhere are lamenting that their #3 ranking in the country only happened because they've been handing out moral victories more often than they've been handing out Hummers to recruits. "Oh why couldn't we have won by 50?" Give me a break.

The W column got bigger and the L column stayed the same. That's good enough for me.

YVENSON BERNARD CAN PLAY ON CRUTCHES, CAN'T HE

Here is a verbatim* transcript of a post on the BF.com message boards by BadMouthinBeaver, posted roughly 23 seconds after the Beavers took down Arizona on Saturday:

Has anyone heard an injury report on the game? Yvenson Bernard looked to have hurt his leg – does anyone know what it might be? Like, how bad did he hurt it? Is it a burning, a stinging, a stretching? Does he have gangrene? What's his heart rate? Will he play on Saturday? Will he be alive on Saturday? What kind of medicine are they giving him? Does he have health insurance? Who's his provider? Is the guy qualified? Like, REALLY qualified? Has anyone heard anything about this year? What about his arms? Are his arms doing OK? Those are real important for football, right? How are his arms? How about his head? I heard that somehow might have pulled his hair – is that true? Is his hair injured? What kind of shampoo does he use? I use Vidal Sassoon. Is that what kind Yvenson Bernard uses? Is that good for hair injuries? Guys? ANYONE?

*The accuracy of this statement may be less than perfect. Your intrepid reporter has dyslexia. And herpes. Please, no questions.

The Beaver Beat does not need injury reports. That's because your intrepid reporter has it on good terms that every starting football player for Oregon State has an injury that will keep him out of Saturday's football game.

Matt Moore has scurvy. Yvenson Bernard broke both of his legs. The receiving corps died in a freak gasoline fight incident. The offensive line has typhoid. The defensive line has dysentery. The secondary died while trying to ford a river. The linebackers were bit by a rattlesnake. Injuns got Alexis Serna and Kyle Loomis.

So, you know, if you're a USC fan, please, feel free to take it easy this week. As you can see, we have a lot of players playing sick. Or dead. Either way, just do some pushups during the week, run around a bit at practice and get ready to win in a walk.

Just take it easy on Saturday. You've earned another bye week.

JUST THINK, WE'VE TOLD OURSELVES WE HAVE A CHANCE EVERY OTHER YEAR, TOO

Oregon State can win on Saturday. They just have to play flawlessly on offense, perfectly on defense and immaculately on special teams. Some fog would help, too.

In truth, OSU has showed some signs of having something that can make them competitive in any football game: A quality defense.

Your intrepid reporter made a bet with a coworker that the total points of both teams would be below 45. That's because Oregon State (with its third-rated defense in the conference) and USC (number one in conference) have both shown themselves to be defense-oriented football teams. USC has given up less than 100 points on the season. Oregon State's defense last gave up a touchdown on its own to Washington State (thanks to BeaverFuzz on the BF.com boards for that one. Please don't ask for me to be fired this week. Thank you).

If OSU can keep the game defensive, they'll give themselves a good chance at winning. USC has only won one game in the last five years where they've scored under 20 – unfortunately, only five teams have done that.

The keys will be the same as they always have been. The secondary needs to prevent big plays. The defensive line needs to help by getting pressure on John David Booty, who has only been sacked five times all season. With the constant carousel of defensive linemen being substituted throughout the game, the hope is that the players can stay fresh enough to keep a constant rush on the quarterback deep into the game.

But most of all, this may be the one game all year long where Matt Moore needs to play absolutely flawless football. Interceptions are going to kill us more than anything in this game. You have to assume that every turnover is going to be converted into at least three points.

The analysis here, like the column itself, isn't meant to be deep. It's simply supposed to remind Beaver Nation that victory in this game IS attainable. We played an extremely sloppy game against USC in the fog in 2004 and were a Reggie Bush punt return away from possibly winning. The Trojans were defeated in Corvallis in 2000, with the help of a possum.

USC looks vulnerable. Oregon State's defense is looking better each week. The game might be a sellout for the first time in expanded Reser history. There's a reason Oregon State is only a 12-point underdog this weekend.

And to think: If your intrepid reporter wasn't in Atlanta this weekend, he might actually be able to attend. So is life.

OPENING UP THE BEATBOX…

Well, it's been a while since we've read some of The Beaver Beat's hate mail. Let's see what the Mail Fairy gave us this time:

You are such a goofball... Yes, I am a Husky fan who happened to read your column, but how could you rate UCLA as better than UW when UW beat them a week and a half ago? And the Huskies didn't even play well to do it? You are outta touch buddy...

- Gregg S.


Gregg – Since you sent this right before the Huskies got dismantled almost as bad as Isaiah Stanback's foot, let me let you in on a little secret: My friends at Clairvoyant Camp called me Ms. Cleo. I very much hope this helps.

Next up…

I agree with TBB on the "what do we have to lose by putting Canfield in? What....another game. They wasted a dozen chances to beat WSU. Why? Take your pick.... play calling, Matt Moore's decision making? Watching Beaver games with Riley is like watching the Blazers of the early 90's lose with Adleman on the bench. He's paralyzed during the game. He makes no adjustments and doesn't try to take advantage of mismatches. OSU consistently loses games to teams with inferior personnel.

This week Riley will have a quick hook with Moore. He stayed with him the entire game last week and Moore failed. OSU is much better than UW, despite UW's effort at USC. This week Canfield gets in early and stays in. Moore spends the rest of the year as a backup. Canfield is a pure passer and seems to have a better field presence than Moore. OSU rolls....OSU 27 - UW 13

I see this game as a must win for Riley. All 3 OSU losses this year are to teams they beat in 2005. Losing to UW would be #4 of 4. The remainder of the schedule includes (5) PAC-10 teams they lost to last year plus USC & @ Hawaii.

They must start winning now.


It's always interesting seeing what people predicted compared to what actually happened. TBB was with everyone in calling for Sean Canfield to get into the game if it gave us the best chance of winning. Sean goes in, throws a pick, looks ineffective, is yanked, and Moore suddenly becomes a semi-competent quarterback. We win two games. I cash my paycheck that I get for the prognosticating you read every week. Sweet deal.

For what it's worth, though, the Rick Adelman/Mike Riley comparison is an interesting one. I would've even agreed, if it weren't for the fact that the last few weeks have shown some changes that have yielded positive results. Most of these have come on defense, it's true, but you can't argue with the results.

But think back to the Washington game: Oregon State is battling against Washington, after being down at half. They're having some success at the run. The Huskies are cheating up on the ball. Riley calls for the long pass to Stroughter. Bam. Touchdown. There's your ballgame.

True, it's an aberration when taken into context of the entirety of Riley's career. But I don't think Mike Riley is as dumb (or deaf) as fans think. He knows what people say about his coaching, which is why it's no accident when he says things like "The guys on the message board said I should stretch the field more, so we made sure to throw long on the first series".

And you know, for what it's worth, though Adelman never won it all, he did make it to the playoffs in 14 of his 16 seasons as head coach and amass a 61% winning percentage. So, you know, he did SOMETHING right.

THE POLE OF POWER: MIDSEASON EDITION

Complete with interesting fact or statistic, here's the race at the halfway point:

1. California (Golden Bears #1 in conference in total offense, interceptions, punting and turnover margins. So, there's that.)
2. USC (Trojans currently rank behind Washington State in terms of total offense. Yes, the one with Alex Brink at quarterback.)
3. Washington State (Proud winners of the Hoover Cup (barring a Washington miracle), it might help if they could take care of business against the two teams that are better than them.)
4. Oregon (Dennis Dixon has thrown more interceptions than Matt Moore this year.)
5. Oregon State (Cheers of "Hip, hip, hooray" up 3000% in the past two weeks)
6. UCLA (Statistically have the best defense in the Pac-10. Realistically, still suck.)
7. Arizona State (Dirk Koetter currently leading all active coaches for being instances of being a complete idiot.)
8. Washington (Carl Bonnell already coming in and breaking records. Currently has thrown the most interceptions in a game by a Pac-10 quarterback this year. Huskies checking Stanback's mobility on crutches).
9. Arizona (Mike Stoops paid more than $50,000 less than Lute Olson. In addition, has won 50,000 less times.)
10. Stanford (Currently last place in the conference in scoring offense, scoring defense, pass offense, kickoff returns, turnover margin, rushing defense, total offense, total defense, punt return average, pass defense efficiency, first downs (allowed and earned), sacks (allowed and earned), red zone offense, opponent third down conversions, field goals, PAT percentage and time of possession. First in conference for penalties and onside kick success. Keep up the good work, fellas)

(The Beaver Beat is posted every Tuesday, except when it's posted on Wednesday.

Email can be directed to thebeaverbeat@beaverfootball.com.)

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