Needless to say, we were all excited when Bob DeCarolis had an in-depth interview last week on the Joe Beaver Show. (the volume is unpredictably: loud, too quiet, and way too loud, so be careful.) Starts 4 minutes in on this segment...picks up after commercial and then again and ends--the last segment includes a very funny anecdote DeCarolis tells about forgetting to pay Mike Riley his raise last year, with Riley answering that he never noticed because he never looks at his pay stubs--you will enjoy Bob D's Mike Riley voice!
[Warning: this piece contains mature subject matter, such as multiplication and an assortment of United States Department of Education statistics, and may not be appropriate for all audiences, unless you're at work--where it will be fine.]
To start with, DeCarolis gives a snapshot on the recent history of the donor base. Basically, the BASF has increased by millions each year (in the Erickson days it was about $4mil, now it's up to $10-11mil annually), but it's the same 6,000 or so Beaver Believers who continue to give more each year, rather than an increase in the number of donors (in fact, the largest number of donors was 2001--with roughly 8,000 BASF members). Also, people seem to rarely give more than what is required to maintain their specific seating level and parking passes when donation requirements go up (economic inertia, basically).
He goes on to talk about other aspects of the Athletic Department's various other plans, bowl affiliations (he's the brand new chairman of the Pac-10 bowl committee, because he is more qualified than many other athletic directors), and some other interesting things. We'll be discussing some of these topics in the future, and we will include many opportunities for you to participate in the discussion. Maybe the AD's office will even adopt your ideas--so make them good because we're sure they will read this!
The main topic of DeCarolis' discussion with the Joe Beaver Show was the perplexing juxtaposition of an unsold-out stadium in Corvallis next to a sold-out stadium in Eugene. When you consider that Oregon State has finished 3rd in the conference in 3 of the past 4 years, while vanquishing the weaker in-state rival at the same rate, you have to ask yourself, "What the duck is going on?!"
First of all, we need to point out that things are different at each school. Without one guy writing blank checks to cover such necessary expenses as: pushbutton frosted glass, xboxes, juice bars, and artificial 2-foot waterfalls, thousands of the ugliest uniform combinations in the history of athletics, and of course, a giant hot tub where young men can hangout and "celebrate their strength" together, there is a greater need for several thousand donors at Oregon State. There is also a need for some practicality in spending money, but that doesn't mean that anything in Corvallis isn't as nice as its counterpart in Eugene--besides, all of it is newer. The model and philosophy are obviously different, though the results at OSU have begun to regularly surpass the Paris Hilton of College Football.
Season tickets combined with donation levels for equivalent seating areas, parking passes, etc. are 2-3 times more expensive in Reser than they are in autzen. This is why Oregon State --even while not selling out every game in a smaller stadium-- is able to have the same or higher football revenue than Oregon according to the United States Department of Education (28.3 million for OS versus 21.5 million for o in the last year reported to the "IRS of college sports"--see it here). OSU has chosen to not leave money on the table by leaving some seats open, but Bob D wants to change that this year. And we are with Bob.
However, there is an obvious similarity between the last few years when OS was selling out Reser during the Erickson era and the situation in Eugene over the last few years. Basically, you have two pretty average teams (see: hovering at .500 in conference play) fueling optimism due to their lopsided results against what end up being generally weak out of conference opponents.
Who doesn't remember those heady days when the Beavers would start out 4-0 and fans would have wild-eyed delusions of grandeur and BCS bowl expectations? 2004 may have been most analogous to the last few seasons in Eugene: games are selling out like MAD as the team starts 4-0 by beating up on suspect out of conference opponents, Derek Anderson is the best quarterback in the country--through 4 games at least. Hype is off the charts. Reser is rocking. Conference play returns the team and its fans to reality. (Sounds like every post-Harrington season in Eugene to us, minus the return to reality--ed.)
New fans and single-game ticket purchasers really flock to those 56-33 September games. Those games bring in a lot of people who love the giddy atmosphere of a blowout victory and all of the big plays that are sure to come with it--it's video game football.
To some extent, we see less of these types of games with Riley because he would rather kill the clock and go el conservo once he has a lead (see last year versus: Utah, Stanford, Arizona, Washington State, Maryland--defense shuts down opponent, running game expires entire final half, Beavs win with no doubt) and I can't blame him for wanting to keep his quarterbacks out of pass rushing situations and not giving future opponents much else footage besides inside-outside zone running plays. No complaints about the 'style' of win from us; we'll take steak over fast food any day.
Realistically, the recent early season Cincinnati, Louisville, and Boise State road debacles have had a huge negative impact on the likelihood of the casual, uninformed, unaffiliated fan showing up at Reser in those seasons. (Seriously though, who knew we would be playing those teams in their best-ever seasons? These weren't an unranked Oklahoma squad--on the "strength" of a call that resulted in the replay official receiving death threats, or Michigan--in the week after they lost to a high school team from North Carolina; these were all teams that an uninformed fan might not expect to see in the "others receiving votes" category, but who ended up with 10-13 wins and in the Top 15 or better.) Watching the Beavers get blown out like that is likely to have kept some casual fans away.
So what's the solution?
BEAT PENN STATE!!!!!!!!!!!
Could it be as simple as that? Or is there more to it? Are there other things that we can do as fans?
It's all about where we finish, but we will be taking a look at some things that Beaver fans can do to help Bob put more (and louder) butts in the seats and to help the team win more games. Keep checking in as we roll out the barrel, the barrel of fun.
Bob DeCarolis may be the Athletic Director, but CV3000 is the Fun Czar!