The Beaver Beat (September 14, 2007)

As way too many amateur sports commentators have said before, it was déjà vu all over again. It was Louisville, it was Boise State and it was UCLA all over again. Once again, the quarterbacks carried the brunt of the blame, but message board posters didn't hesitate from spreading the hate to everyone from the offensive line to Danny Langsdorf to last week's messiah, Yvenson "Saint" Bernard.

Yes sir, it's week three and the season's already over.

CALMING THE MASSES

What is it about a blowout loss that makes Beaver fans forget everything they've ever known about Beaver football? Not just in the historical sense, but in the immediate future sense. It's like clockwork: At least once a year, Oregon State gets beaten like a drum on the road.

Recall:

2006 – Oregon State scores two quick touchdowns, and is then held scoreless for the rest of the game as Boise State embarrasses the Beavers on the Smurf Turf. 42-14. For bonus points, you can count the inexplicable UCLA loss where OSU's offense, which put up 33, 44, 30, 30, 35 and 39 from USC to Missouri, sputtered out a touchdown.

2005 – Mario Urrutia, meet really bad Oregon State corners. Louisville plays catch for 60 minutes, and OSU goes home with a 63-27 albatross around its neck.

2004 – Boise State plays enough defense to beat Oregon State handily at Bronco Stadium. Mike Hass has 213023702372 receiving yards anyway.

2003 – You can take your pick for this year: Either the Beavers going into Fresneck and losing a 16-14 heartbreaker, or losing by 24 to USC in the Coliseum at the end of the year. Either way, that OSU team had way too much talent to lose games like those, in the way they did.

2002 – First road game of the season. 22-0 to USC.

What does this prove about those Oregon State teams under Riley? For one, they don't play well in Southern California. For another, they don't play well early and on the road against middle-of-the-road non-conference teams.

Historically speaking, a loss like this shouldn't be reason to panic. Those other bad losses weren't good indicators for the rest of the season, where Oregon State went on to win 10, 5, 7, 8 and 8 games respectively.

REASONS WE MIGHT BE SCREWED

Eight turnovers. That's right. Eight. Three turnovers a piece for each of the quarterbacks, a muffed punt by Sammie (!), and a blocked Kyle Loo, er, Alexis Serna punt. I wrote in this column last week that Lyle Moevao won the Derek Anderson Memorial Award for most passes thrown directly to the other team. This week, they get to split the honors. Huzzah.

Sammie. Yeah, it was his first week back, yes, he's been going through a lot, true, the entire football team looked like it was playing stoned at times. But watching Sammie play football against Cincy really did worry me at times. He just didn't seem to have that same explosiveness your intrepid reporter remembers from last season.

The dropped Canfield pass to start the game, the muffed punt…even the long punt return looked like he was playing in slow motion. A lot of people will say that he was interfered with on the fumble, and they would be right – but watch the game tape. Sammie didn't miss the catch because someone ran into his leg – not from the angle I saw. 2006 Sammie would've made that catch, and for the sake of the season, Beaver fans had better hope that we only witnessed rust and not permanent damage.

Yvenson Bernard. 16 carries for 30 yards. "That. Just. Happened." If the offensive gameplan, offensive line and running backs can't figure out a way to move the football on the ground better than last week, it's going to be a VERY long year for Beaver fans.

DamCam. Officially the leading choice for the name of the new scoreboard in Reser. This just in: cameras and video screens are very different things.

REASONS IT'S ALL GOING TO BE OK

DEFENSE! Sure, the secondary still looks a little suspect. But 34 points was a BLESSING for Oregon State. 229 yards of total defense would win almost any game where the offense wasn't comatose.

Idaho State. Can you say "firewall"? Nothing is a better salve for an open wound than a D-1AFBSFBCAAAA opponent. No better time than now to get Sean Canfield the amount of confidence he needs to not crumble in Tempe next week.

IT'S WEEK THREE! Are you kidding me? It's time for a little week three reality check.

Oregon State hasn't even played a conference game yet, and already the Beaver football message boards are littered with Chicken Littles claiming that a 6-6 season would be an accomplishment.

There are very few things that irritate your intrepid reporter more than crappy fans – and yes, if your reaction to an ugly second week loss is to (publically) scrap your hopes for the entire season, that does qualify you as a crappy fan.

Of course, there are some exceptions to this:

*If your star offensive player goes down with a season-ending injury, it's reasonable to lower your expectations by two wins. Call this the Greg Oden effect (too soon, Blazer fans?).

*If you lose to Appalachian State, it's reasonable to lower your expectations by three wins. Call this the Lloyd Carr effect.

*If you follow up a loss to Appalachian State with an even worse loss to a middling Pac-10 team, it's reasonable to start hoping that the Pistons are decent this year.

But Oregon State's not there yet. Except Jeremy Perry, the offense still has its star power intact. The defense, though still not the Chicago Bears, has been doing a bang-up job. Special teams…well, they are only out there a few plays anyway.

The struggles of the team boil down to two sophomore quarterbacks with a combined zero starts between them being thrown into action. Go figure there might be a tough game or three. Do you remember Derek Anderson? How about Matt Moore? Obviously we all hope the learning curve is a little shorter than that, but a few hard games doesn't mean that the team should lower its hopes to the Armed Forces Bowl. You think Jake Locker looks good now? Talk to me on Monday when the bad Husky fans start jumping off his bandwagon and asking themselves if Johnny DuRocher has any more eligibility.

So here's my simple request from my fellow Beaver fans: Stop being crappy. Stop complaining. Stop throwing in the towel after one punch. If we hadn't gone through 2006, I don't know how many of you would be holding up "Gunderson" signs at Idaho State and praying that Dan Hawkins would bless Corvallis for his nuclear meltdown personality.

Be a little optimistic. Go to the games. Wear your orange. BELIEVE. Be a real, life "good fan" for your team. Analyze the shortcomings of your team without calling out the head coach, offensive coordinator, star running back, inexperienced quarterbacks, best friend or dog the worst thing to ever happen to Oregon State football. It's OK to give analysis and thoughts on your team – just try to hide the razor blades and pitchforks until at least October.

Stop embarrassing your team, your fellow fans and yourself. Stop making me write the tongue-in –cheek "REASONS WHY WE'RE SCREWED" subtitles every week. Enjoy watching an easy win on Saturday, then start praying for another one next week. Try to refrain from further rants about how terrible the team is AFTER they win a game. At least give it a shot.

Say it with me, Beaver fans: "Go Beavs." Repeat as needed.

Curtis Haley really wishes he had enough column space to talk about the other nine teams in the league. Email him at thebeaverbeat@beaverfootball.com

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