As an avid follower of the college football season, I've been having some good old-fashioned Schadenfreude fun at the expense of the Texas Longhorns. After competing in the BCS Championship Game last season, they now find themselves with a 4-5 record and slim chances for bowl-eligibility. Reading the game threads over at Burnt Orange Nation is hilarious and gut-wrenching at the same time.
Then I read a FanPost titled "A thought about what is going on this year with Mack Brown". In particular, this section struck me:
With what is said above, I really think Mack Brown just isn't the same after these two years. I think he was desperate for the second national title (he still is) and those two years had this big emotional negative effect on him and he hasn't been able to recover as seen by the team just not looking like a very good team this year.
Think back to 2008. We tried really hard to get into the game we deserved to play in. Mack tried hard. And then in 2009, when Colt McCoy went down, I just think Mack lost it...... I can see how these two seasons can have an effect on one person. Two legitimate shots at the national title and neither worked out fairly. Yes, you play the game but I just don't think Mack Brown is the same headcoach he once was. You can debate if he was ever good and blah blah but I think these two seaons changed Mack Brown...maybe forever.
I realized that if you substitute "national title" for "Rose Bowl" and "Mack Brown" for "Mike Riley" or "the OSU coaching staff", that sounds kind of like the Beavers. Crap.
Now I'm not saying that Coach Riley and the staff have checked out or anything. I don't think that's the case, and I sure hope it isn't! But OSU has had two consecutive years on the edge of winning the Pac-10 Championship and a trip to the Rose Bowl, only to have our dreams dashed by the Ducks both times. Chances like that do not come around often unless you're a program rolling in money and top recruits, and OSU unfortunately has neither. Add to this the Ducks' success this year and for the foreseeable future, and you have the cherry on top of a regret sundae. It's hard to imagine that these last couple of years wouldn't dampen the coaches' enthusiasm or optimism in some way.
I don't know what it is with this year's team, but it feels like we're getting worse as the season goes on. We had a real chance to beat the now #3 Horned Frogs. We were in the game until mid-4th quarter at #4 Boise State. We beat Arizona. And then after losing James Rodgers, we let the Huskies put 21 unanswered points on us and snatch an overtime victory. We beat Cal soundly but Cal is horrible on the road, had their backup QB in, and our offense stalled in the second half. We only put up a measly 14 points on a UCLA team that was allowing an average of 30 (26 if you don't count Oregon.) Yes, the James Rodgers loss was huge, but one player shouldn't make the difference between beating UCLA and only putting up 14 points.
A possible victory over a 1-9 Washington State team has never looked so questionable. I expect we'll win, but it's going to be close.
Both of our conference losses have come from opponents with losing records. Worse, the team looked really bad in each of them. I'm afraid something is going on here, and it's not looking pretty for the future. Do you agree? Or is this just a small pothole on Beaver Road?