The Beaver Beat (December 5, 2006)

The regular season is finally over, and your intrepid reporter is just as angry as you are that Dennis Dixon was snubbed for Heisman voting. When you're an elite player in an elite program, sometimes life is tough. It's OK, though, Duck fans – I hear he's awesome on Xbox

It's time to do clean some house. We're going to be going through old business as thoroughly as an audit of a car dealership in Coeur d'Alene. What's more, we'll do it under the incredibly pathe…um, I mean, amusing and original gimmick, the Golden BeatBoxes! Just think – with football season almost over, I'll have even less to work with in this column – joy!

Let the Golden BeatBoxes begin:

WORST FANBASE IN HISTORY

A few years ago, Fresno State outlawed the sale of all alcohol. With this, the great tradition of Fresneck having the worst fans in history took a big hit. What would the uneducated rabble throw on the field throw if not half-empty bottles of PBR? With stiff, snuff-filled upper lips, Bulldog fans cried a tear into their apple juice and started the long road to as close as you can get to recovery in the city of Fresno.

Lucky for us, Hawaii fans were more than ready to step up and fill the hole left by Fresno fans. Not even needing alcohol (though margaritas are available for purchase at Rainbow Warrior games), the fans in Hawaii abandoned even the slightest hope of appearing intelligent in their blind support of their team.

Hawaii fans have claimed that any player that leaves their state is a traitor, though they're more than happy to take rejects from other programs (criminal records not a problem). They've claimed that they could beat Ohio State if the game were played on the islands. They've said that players that leave their state to play elsewhere "deserve it" when they tear an MCL in an emotion-filled game. Oh, and this is all in the last week.

Lest you think that The Beaver Beat do something as rash as make a broad, sweeping generalization condemning every fan of a team, your intrepid reporter knows that not all Hawaii fans are like this. Just 99% of those with Internet access, if the last 10 days are any indication.

(SIDE NOTE: Thank you to the four or five Hawaii fans that did come across as intelligent and reasonable on the boards, and in emails to this column. Your input was appreciated and your existence is noted. This award is not aimed at you, but it was still (fittingly) a no-brainer)

BEST USE OF KARMA IN A FOOTBALL-RELATED SITUATION

The only thing that could make Dirk Koetter's firing sweeter? If ASU would've publicly stated that they were going to retain his services into the next year…only to have Sam Keller show up in his office the next week to deliver the Borat-esque "No-o-o-o-t".

Your intrepid reporter isn't bitter, however, and wishes Mr. Koetter nothing but the best in his future career as the special teams coach at Western Oregon University.

MOST ADMIRABLE POSTER ON THE BF.COM BOARDS

ASundevilfan gets the nod and the Golden BeatBox on this one. It's bad when your team gets spanked. It's bad when your coach gets fired. It's just awful when you have to have your face rubbed in it every day.

After losing a bet on the boards, ASundevilfan followed through, though, and for the rest of the regular season, wore his badge of shame proudly. Yes, all OSU fans really did "own [his] stupid ass" and he's a better man for acknowledging it.

LEAST ADMIRABLE POSTER ON THE BF.COM BOARDS

Close competition between Chaz "Did I really bet that I'd eat my own crap on the 50-yard line of Autzen if the Beavers finished in the conference?" Reingold, Canard (who swore off the message boards altogether after Oregon's free-for-all losing spree to end the season) and ElCinoStrikesAgain. Nod goes to ElCino – though when Oregon State moves its campus to southern California, the Beaver Beat will be the first one clamoring for a National Championship every year.

QUIETEST BEAVER FANS IN RESER STADIUM NEXT YEAR

C-A-N-R-I-L-E-Y.

REASON THOSE SAME FANS COULD END UP (STUPIDLY) CALLING FOR MIKE RILEY TO BE FIRED AGAIN NEXT YEAR

C-A-N-F-I-E-L-D.

COACH MOST LIKELY TO EARN "DB OF THE YEAR HONORS" IN LIEU OF DIRK KOETTER

For this award to make sense, you need to copy and paste this link into your browser: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/graphics/coaches_fb_poll_2006/flash.htm. (BF.com hopes to pay for your intrepid reporter to take his "HTML for Dummies" course sometime next year.)

First Oregon and Oregon State were "on different levels" as programs, even though they have nearly identical overall and Civil War records in the past few years. Then, his team "won" the rivalry game 28-30. Top Mike Bellotti's résumé off with his wonder-voting in the final coaches poll.

No, no. That's not fair. Maybe Bellotti thought that Maryland really was a Top 25 team, what with their 8-4 overall record in the weakest BCS conference. Those quality victories over…uh…Clemson and…uh…Miami were pretty impressive (especially for being by a combined two points). And you have to admire them for losing their last two games – truly a team possessed!

And why would he want to pick the team that held the potent Hawaii offense to nine second-half points on the islands? Why would he want to pick the third place team in the strong Pac-10? Why would he want to pick the team that won seven of its last eight games, including victories over #3 USC, #25 Hawaii and the *cough* elite program down there in Eugene? Maryland and Clemson were much more impressive, I'm sure.

Hey, Bellotti. We realize you're still (to borrow a phrase from the boards) "butt-hurt" about the Civil War and all, but give us a break. We were one early-season loss away from tying California and USC (#16 and #6 on your ballot, respectively) for the Pac-10 championship. No team finished hotter than Oregon State.

That's fine, though. With or without your support, OSU will just have to settle for a Sun Bowl victory and actual reasons for optimism in 2007.

Jackass.

And now, on to OSU's team awards.

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR: OFFENSE

The new and improved Brandon Powers. No offensive unit improved more over last year than the receiving corps, and Powers was very quietly part of this. If Mike Hass was the poor man's possession receiver, Brandon Powers is the poor man's Mike Hass. And yes, somehow, this is a compliment.

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR: DEFENSE

Had Keaton Kristick played more this year, he would've gotten the award. Even in limited action he nearly gets the award. But credit Dorian Smith with turning offensive backfields into his playground. For every press clipping where Oregon State's pass defense is called "improved" this offseason, the secondary owes Mr. Smith a nice pat on the back.

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR: SPECIAL TEAMS

Kyle Loomis. Somewhere underneath all the green, there's a damned good punter. The more dropped snaps and shanked kicks Loomis provides, the closer we get to that player.

UNSUNG HERO OF THE YEAR: OFFENSE

Andy Levitre gets the call here. Being a lineman, your accolades are normally few and far between. You're at your best when nobody even notices you're there.

However, for standing in as the "sixth" lineman and taking over Josh Linehan's spot seamlessly, Andy Levitre does deserve some props from Beaver fans.

UNSUNG HERO OF THE YEAR: DEFENSE

Coye Francies. The cornerbacks still are disappointing, but not "my son decided to become my daughter" disappointing. Props.

UNSUNG HERO OF THE YEAR: SPECIAL TEAMS

Wanna see how to play special teams? Watch Gerard Lawson destroy a punt returner. Watch him return a kickoff for a touchdown. Watch him catch the kick returner at the 40 instead of giving up a touchdown. He may have been a disappointing corner, but he does it all on special teams.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: OFFENSE

Matt Moore. I can say absolutely nothing negative about his play in the last two months. Really. I'm trying to think of one time when he's disappointed me, but I can't. He was guilty at UCLA of trying to do too much, but he was about the only one trying to do ANYTHING that day. The Beaver Beat had given up and left you for dead because your play was awful and it was hurting the team. Then it wasn't, and no one is happier the Da Beat.

For learning how to check off receivers, how to stay cool in the pocket, how to identify coverages, when to run and when to pass and for becoming the first quarterback in approximately 20392096723097623 years of Oregon State football to possess the ability to run, pass and not throw interceptions, Matt gets Player of the Year kudos from TBB.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: DEFENSE

Dorian Smith gets this award, too, for all of the same reasons. By the time he leaves Oregon State, your intrepid reporter is predicting that Mr. Smith will be in the same echelon as Bill Swancutt and Nick Barnett in the minds of Beaver fans.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: SPECIAL TEAMS

Sammie Stroughter is good. Alexis Serna is scary, gamebreaking good. Advantage: Kicker.

COACH OF THE YEAR Kudos to Mike Riley, for all of the reasons you already know. If this team jells under Sean Canfield (and early), 2007 could be a very special year. And if it is, someone please offer Mike that lifetime contract, because here in little ol' Mayberry, with the conference as strong as its ever been, Riley will have shown that he can bring OSU to be a competitor in the Pac-10 with the kind of consistency and quality that Dennis Erickson never afforded.

And if not, we'll just fire the guy.

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Your intrepid reporter will be taking the next week or two off until bowl season kicks off. This column is crappy enough without me having to discuss things like which Oregon uniform achieves the peak level of awfulness. We'll wait until the Sun Bowl creeps up before we start talking football again.

After that…well, we'll see. Obviously basketball and baseball are options, though those topics aren't quite as fun to cover as football (especially in the case of the former as it relates.

What do you think, Beat readers? Your intrepid reporter is open to any ideas, including keeping the column football-exclusive.

Ideally, if this were to continue in the offseason, I'd like to turn it into a more interactive feature – that is, you submit questions and I pick a few and answer them every week. The range of topics can be as narrow as Beaver football or as broad as…well, anything.

Let me know what your thoughts are on the column. Feedback of any kind is appreciated, and by the time bowl season comes around, I should be able to see if there's even any demand for this column to continue in the first place.

As always, I can be reached at thebeaverbeat@beaverfootball.com. Go crazy.

(Ever snorted rails of cane sugar for hours at a time? Neither has The Beaver Beat.)

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