Like most, if not all of you, I, mercifully, didn’t see a snap of the Beavers 16th consecutive loss at Arizona State, except for a couple of highlights, but I do know that the Beavers once again were on the negative side of the turnover battle which usually puts another check in the "L" column.
Much has been discussed about how and why the team gave away a 19 point lead - bad punting, a horrible pass defense, a defensive scheme that gambles too much and so on and so forth. But, the bottom line is, if Sean Canfield doesn't throw five picks, let's say he threw just three which takes at least 10 if not 14 points off of the board, then the Beavers are in excellent shape to win the game.
And despite Canfield throwing five interceptions and the voice of Mike Parker not conveying any confidence every time Canfield let one loose downfield I never yelled at the radio for Mike Riley to put Lyle Moevao in. Sure, Canfield was having a horrible night, but despite all of the miscues the Beavers were still in the game. And if Canfield could have rallied his team to a victory the confidence he would have gained would have been tremendous.
The loss at ASU falls squarely on Canfield's shoulders and he takes full responsibility. He knows that turnovers and the learning process is part of the nature of being a quarterback in a big time college football program. Sometimes he is going to have bad days, especially in his first year as a starter. The real measure of his ability and character will be found in how he performs the following week. We’ve gone through these growing pains before and Canfield will be better for it in the long run.
On the other hand, I think that with the defense OSU has coupled with a running back like Yvenson Bernard and a solid offensive line – Canfield has been sacked just four times on the season, an average of once per game – that this team should be in the “win-now” mode.
The little Benny the Beaver on my shoulder asks, "Does Canfield give the team the best chance to win now?" "Should we keep him in there and change the play calling?" "Does the defense gamble too much?" I just don't know Benny. But, I do know that if this team minimizes turnovers, there is enough talent on the field to put together a pretty nice run through the Pac-10 schedule.
The margin for error shrinks every week and the Men in Black must win all of four of the remaining home games for a chance at post season play. This week's match up with UCLA is winnable along with home dates versus Arizona, Stanford and Washington. The road games are a little tougher, and truthfully, might be painful to watch.
While I still have hope, I think we can safely assume the Beavers lose to California, USC and Oregon on the road. Although Riley has had Cal's number in Berkeley and there is always reason to believe in a victory, not matter how delusional, for the Civil War, although the 56-21 thumping from 2005 keeps running through my head. The one winnable game on the road is in Pullman against Washington State Nov. 17.
OSU sits at 2-2 with eight games to play. If we assume they win all of their home games and lose all of the road games they would end up at 6-6, which would make them bowl eligible. It may be a little early to talk bowl games, but that is always one of the goals of the team and we can safely assume that at this point, OSU going to the Rose Bowl is a long shot.
And while 6-6 may be disappointing, going to a bowl game, even if it is the Armed Services Bowl, is very important for the development of the younger players and national exposure.
Oregon State faces a must win situation against UCLA this weekend and the home town crowd can make a big difference.
Come early, wear orange, be loud and stay late. Go Beavs!
Dan Norz is the publisher of BeaverFootball.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.