Ugh, I'm still kinda mad over the result of the game tonight, so I'm trying think of topics that will make me feel better. This column by Ken Goe, as well as listening to Joe G call the game on CSN have done the trick so far.
[I love watching the CSN replays, as Giansante is just pure hilarity with some of the things he says. He had a few gems in tonight's game as well.]
As I'm sure we all know, USC has been "the" team in the Pac-10 since 2003. Their run atop the conference has been simply historic, and Pete Carroll & Co. should be commended for it. Unfortunately, due to the time difference, bad TV deals, the lack of one team consistently challenging SC, and other factors; the conference has been regarded over this time period as "USC and the Pac-9" Frankly, this generalization is extremely ignorant, as the Pac-10 has produced some of the most entertaining football over this time period.
Anyways, Goe's main question is whether or not UO and OSU are ready to "make that next step" and challenge USC every single year. I, for one, believe both programs are. For the past 3 years now, a State of Oregon team has held the lead in the Pac-10 due to beating USC, only to lose it towards the end of the season. The Civil War this year was the pinnacle of this "almost success" for both teams.
To me, as much as I hate to admit it, there is no question that Oregon is on that level. Since Kelly has been at Oregon, whether it be as the offensive coordinator or the head coach, Oregon is 29-9 (including 2 straight 10 win seasons). IMO, as long as Kelly stays, they will consistently challenge for the Pac-10 Title.
On the other hand you have Oregon State. If you consider Oregon State's record from the time that Riley has had 'his guys' on the field (2006-present) Oregon State is 36-16 (25-11). That's a phenomenal .692 including OOC games and .694 if you just consider Pac-10 games. They've also been playing for the Rose Bowl in their final game of the season for 2 consecutive years. The job Riley has done at Oregon State has been nothing short of phenomenal. However, I don't think we will find out if OSU is ready to consistently compete for Pac-10 titles until the Rodgers brothers leave us. I do believe that OSU will be in the thick of the Rose Bowl race yet again next year and the year after, but my main question with the program at this point is: What will happen once Quizz graduates? Will OSU go through a little rebuilding period while we wait to find another playmaker at the RB position? Or will OSU simply reload and continue to be a top-3 team in the Pac-10 year in and year out? These are the questions that we won't find an answer to until that season.
This is just something fun to think about, that these two programs from the State of Oregon are on the cusp of being perennial Pac-10 title contenders (or might already be there). That's amazing considering where they were just 20 years ago (and OSU even 11 years ago).