The Beaver Beat: August 30, 2007

Well, well, well. It's been almost nine months since your intrepid reporter hit the laptop to produce this column. A lot has changed in the world since that last fateful day.

Oregon's student-athletes found out that having a degree isn't as important as being able to make very rich men happy. Michael Vick found Jesus. Lindsay Lohan found (more) drugs before finding (even more) rehab. Beaver fans found out that it's possible to sign the entire city of Albany to a recruiting class.

But after all of the education we received over the past few months, what do we actually know about Oregon State. Here are the top seven lessons we can cull from the offseason:

1. R.I.P. LITEBRITE SCOREBOARD

Straight out of some especially evil corner of hell, the LiteBrite scoreboard was everyone's reminder that Oregon State probably went through a period where it bought everything from the "As Seen on the Merv Griffin Show" catalog.

Lingering questions: How will Oregon State succeed in its first season without the encouragement of helmet races and "It's a Great Day to Be a Beaver"? If a poorly animated log falls in the forest during a Beaver lumberjack race, and no one's around to groan at how lame that is, did it still happen?

Rest in peace, LiteBrite scoreboard. You'll always live on in our hearts. Maybe.

2. LITERALLY ANYONE CAN PUNT A FOOTBALL

After Kyle Loomis took his leg and went home, Beaver Nation started scrambling for a punter. Narrowly beating out the scoreboard operator, Joe Avezzano and numerous concession stand workers, Alexis Serna was chosen to kick literally every time OSU needs a leg. And he's not even that bad. If he can somehow manage to match 41.3 yards per punt, multiple fumbles in really critical situations, and enough shanks to rival a seedy bar in Springfield, he might just be the guy for the job.

Lingering question: If Serna goes down, is backup punter Brandon Browner ready to step up?

3. SAMMIE STROUGHTER IS SCHRODINGER'S CAT

He's here! He's not! He's going to Sacramento State! He's not! Sammie has so far spent his summer doing his best Bigfoot impression, while keeping crazed Beaver fans everywhere posting breathless eyewitness encounters ("I saw him at Safeway today! He DOES eat human food!"). Now, Sammie is currently residing in some kind of funky college football limbo where he is the best scout team punt returner to simultaneously be taking a leave of absence.

Lingering question: How many people will write me to tell me the above was in bad taste? In seriousness, I hope Sammie takes as much time as he needs to get well soon, even if that means never stepping on the field for Oregon State again.

4. "U" DOESN'T MATTER

Seeking to unite the 3242384349847 different logos, fonts and designs on Oregon State merchandise, the athletic department unveiled their new logo: "OS".

Well, kind of. After sending even more crazed Beaver fans into hysterics over the new logo (apparently losing the U left many Oregon State fans feeling like two-thirds the men they used to be), the fine people in charge of the change pulled it off with the same kind of excellence and precision we've come to expect: They half-assed it.

So now we're "OS". Except on top of the new scoreboard we'll all be staring at all year. And in the end zones, which I'm sure no one will notice. And on those full-page ads that the AD purchased in newspapers everywhere around the state to celebrate the SECOND National Championship for the baseball team. Well played, sir.

Lingering question: What's the over/under on the number of weeks before someone slips up and slaps old, "Happy Benny" logo on the front of the program for that week's game?

5. SOME PEOPLE SAY "STRIPE", OTHERS "SPORTS BRA"

The other major change for the "new look" Beavers during the offseason was the announcement of the new uniforms. Oregon State fans rallied behind the change in the only way they know how: Complaining.

So when one picture of 5'9" running back Yvenson Bernard made the strip across the chest a little too low for everyone's taste, the reaction was swift and strong: "Worst. Uniforms. Not on an Oregon player." Or, alternatively: "Sports bra."

Lingering question: Is there anything new that Beaver fans WON'T automatically hate?

6. OREGON STATE REALLY DOES COPY THE DUCKS IN SOME THINGS

For example, a two quarterback system.

That said, this intrepid reporter is willing to bet that the combined talents of Sean Canfield and Lyle "You have no idea just how many times people will mispronounce my last name" Moevao will be slightly more effective than those of a mediocre-to-terrible baseball player and his unremarkable backup.

For one, neither player will have to figure out how to run the complicated spread offense for which Oregon's QB's are responsible. For another, Coach Riley WON'T be afraid to utilize Yvenson Bernard to take some of the pressure off of the guy behind center.

My prediction: Canfield will come out against Utah and be decent, but Moevao will come out blazing in the second quarter and keep the job. Canfield's a great quarterback, but Moevao has the spark and tenacity that helped him compete for the job in the first place.

Lingering question: Will Ryan Gunderson be made a full-fledged assistant coach right away next year, or will he settle for the GA position? Kudos to a guy for sticking around (and being so positive) in a situation a lot of other guys would've bailed on.

7. BIGGER IS BETTER…KINDA

Scoreboard-wise, that is. Oregon State will debut the largest scoreboard in the Pac-10 this year, and no doubt ultimately find a way to give the same aforementioned cranky fans even more reason to hate it.

Top 5 predicted reasons to hate the new scoreboard:

5. Everyone hates the fact that the "biggest" screen in the conference is actually 60% covered by advertisements at all times

4. Everyone hates the sound accompanying the new board. This will encompass both those that think it is way too loud, and those that think it's way too quiet.

3. ABBA.

2. It will take approximately six weeks for the people running the scoreboard to actually fully understand how to use it. Until that moment, we'll be treated with black screens for entire quarters, one stupid animation that plays over and over because it's the only one they really know works, and instant replays that show clips from games played in 1991.

1. Without fail, they AD will settle on a name, and there will be riots in the street protesting it. My prediction is "Will and Grace Vision".

Lingering questions: Come to think of it, what WILL happen to the old LiteBrite board? Will it go the way of the old "Beaver noise meter" that used to hang in the corner of Gill, which ended up in some guy's front yard on a desolate stretch of Highway 99? Someone needs to make sure that WMD never falls into the wrong hands.

AND FINALLY, PREDICTIONS

Oregon State will win 9 games this year.

Next year, Oregon State will sell more season tickets than in any year previous.

James Rodgers will be the new favorite for Beaver fans everywhere by year's end.

Sammie Stroughter won't play football in 2007. Mike Riley is too adamant about it for it to not be true (for the record, this prediction has changed in the last 24 hours).

Yvenson Bernard will be the 3rd Beaver to crack the top 10 all-time career rushing leaders list.

UCLA will be everyone's favorite to win the Pac-10…until mid-October.

The Civil War home winning streak will fall this year.

The football team will win more games than the basketball team.

Oregon running back Jonathan Stewart will be "injured" in a way that limits his game play at least three times this year – and still go to the NFL.

I will get at least one comment and/or email calling this column the worst thing on BF.com and calling for me to be fired.

The person that complains may or may not call me racist.

And, in honor of OrangeAttack from the BeaverFootball.com boards, yes, Curtis Coker will score a touchdown at the fullback position, and everyone will go crazy.

It's going to be a fun year, Beaver fans. One way or another.

Curtis Haley write "The Beaver Beat" every Tuesday. You can contact him with your comments, questions, or attention-grabbing flame emails at thebeaverbeat@beaverfootball.com

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