After last Saturday's 49-46 upset loss to Eastern Washington, we've seen discussion at length about what it means for the rest of Oregon St.'s football season, here on BTD, as well as elsewhere, be it on Pure-Orange.net, Oregon Live, and various other places.
But while well intended, and in many cases, by actually pretty well informed folks, its still speculation, with relatively little experience to base opinions from.
I wanted to get a better perspective on the prospects for the Beavers, from a viewpoint with broader vision, and the wisdom of more years.
In times like this, we at BTD usually turn to fanoverboard for insight, but I was unable to find him. Possibly Saturday's results has already sent him overboard.
My next thought was to consult the spirit of the Great Pumpkin, so I headed out to the most sincere pumpkin patch around, conveniently located just out of town at the community gardens.
And sure enough, I was able to get in touch with the all-seeing orange one, but disappointingly, I didn't get the answers I was seeking, though I did come away with a nice zucchini. It seems the Great Pumpkin's plan is to rise out of the pumpkin patch on Halloween night, and bestow on head coach Mike Riley the keys to beating USC the next evening, but doesn't have a solution yet for the more immediate issues facing the Beaver defense.
Come to think of it, that has happened before.
Having struck out twice, I decided to consult the other wise old seer of all things Beavers. (No not Paul Valenti, he's still trying to figure out why Craig Robinson and Dana Altman couldn't talk Georgetown and Michigan St. to come out for the Far West Classic.)
I left Connor in charge in case of breaking news, in case Larry Scott decided to buy Directv or something, and made the long trek up into the mountains, and far back into the forest, where "Wise Old Beaver" has his lodge. It's quiet there, and without distractions, the old wise one can combine spiritual vision with quiet reflection to augment analysis from ESPN, and now Fox Sports.
It's a long hike in, but I finally got there, and found the wise old one reinforcing the base to the satellite dish on the back of the beaver lodge. Always wise to check your equipment before game day.
I knew the wise old one didn't see the game live, as Comcast doesn't provide service up there, where its satellite or nothing, and like much of Beaver Nation, even the wise old one must rely on the audio stream from Mike Parker and Jim Wilson. But it turns out the old beaver's nature connections came through, and an Eagle flying back to Cheney dropped off a copy of the game tape, and old Beaver had thoroughly broken down the game.
With that information, plus plenty of discussion with other wise ones around the lake behind his dam, like the elk and the raccoon [the wise old beaver also chatted with a bear, but the Bears have their own problems just now], (what, you thought Monday morning water cooler talk was limited to work sites in the town?), the wise old Beaver was prepared with his insight into how the rest of the season will unfold.
I was all ears, and here's what I learned. I must warn the faint of heart though, wise old Beaver doesn't sugar coat things.
"Oregon St. will bounce back against Hawaii, who has Norm Chow, and an offense that won't tax the defense nearly as much.
The Joe Beaver Show reports that Defensive Coordinator Mark Banker is a very good coach.
Sean Mannion will out-duel Travis Wilson, and the Beavers wil also manage to beat San Diego St., who happened to have their own problems with an FCS opponent, further disappointing Rocky Long, because Sean is again spectacular in a shootout.
Paul Richardson will blow by the secondary for a couple of big catches, one to the house, but Sean is sharp again too, and the Buffs defense can't hold up either, so the Beavers win.
The Cougs can't run, so they can't expect to keep Sean and the offense off the field, and will then find a way to Coug it, with too many turnovers.
Cal will hit some big plays, but Cal is still Cal. Wildly inaccurate quarterbacking that only completes around 60% of the passes and the Bears committing double digit penalties overshadow all else, and the Beavers are still bowl eligible before the difficult stretch drive starts.
The Joe Beaver Show reports that Mark Banker is a very very good coach, and the Beavers have figured out how to defend the spread. After all, they have now handled the Air Raid 2 years in a row.
Oregon St. splits with Stanford and USC, and is competitive in the game they lose to the Cardinal.
(Ed, note; the wise Old Beaver was glad to hear my news of the spirit of the Great Pumpkin's plan for Halloween and USC, but fully expected it. I should have known that, it is the Trojans.)
This split is considered "ok" locally because these are both "good" opponents. Oregon St. is a good matchup against both, and Stanford's style doesn't tend to produce very many blowouts, even in games they dominate. And the USC quarterback situation and Lane Kiffen isn't going to produce huge offensive numbers. It just isn't.
Even with the split, the Beavers will be assured of a winning season before the second bye.
The Joe Beaver Show reports that Mark Banker is a great coach.
In his game week column before the visit from the Huskies, John Canzano is whole hog on the Washington band wagon, but does note that Brandin Cooks, having caught double digit passes in every game this season, is the best receiver in the conference, a shoo-in All-American, never mind All Pac-12 first team, and much better than Kasen Williams or Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
Mike Riley, however, will still be in shock from getting blown out of Tempe, and forget to get a play in to Sean a couple of times. Offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf will have to shout something in over the radio. "Throw it to Brandin every play!" will be the only thing he can think of.
As a result of all this, head-hunting Sean Parker will knock Cooks out for the season in the first quarter.
Oregon will then roll up over 700 yards on the Oregon St. defense. Without Cooks to throw to, and down 4 touchdowns in the 3rd quarter, Sean will desperately try to rally the Beavers, but throw 4 interceptions, including one that bounces off of Obum Gwacham's hands, and another that sails by Richard Mullaney when he breaks off his route.
The Beavers will fall into the pool for the Vegas-SF-Arizona bowls, and slide all the way to Albuquerque.
Oregon St. will only send a token pep-band because it isn't a "major" bowl, and you won't even be able to tell on campus that the Beavers are going to a bowl game, never mind anywhere else in the state.
The Athletic Office will be too busy spamming everyone with promos for non-conference basketball to rally support for the New Mexico Bowl.
The Beavers get rolled over by a Fresno St. team that is happy to be there, and comes loaded for bear, never mind beaver.
All the progress on recruiting, fund raising, and in public perception gained from the Alamo Bowl will be gone.
The post season Orange Perspective will celebrate another winning season, and another bowl trip, and note ticket sales were way up, overlooking the fact that all the season tickets and most of the other packages were purchased before the Eastern Washington game was even played.
Bob will take his phone off the hook, and never open his email. He will direct SID Steve Fenk to do what Fenk does; distribute the script to only the select members of the press willing to read it.
The Oregonian will run another story telling angry posters they need to step up and spend more if they want their football program to be competitive.
Coach Riley will get an extension for making a bowl, and because donations are up too (even though the athletic department overlooked the fact that all the checks have "Hire a defensive coordinator" written on the memo line), Riley will also be given budget clearance to extend both his coordinators for 2 additional years, since, after all, it was another successful season with a bowl trip.
The Joe Beaver Show reports that Mike Riley has nothing but great coaches on his staff, and they will get it figured out.
Pat Casey will slip and fall off the roof of the Omaha Room while attempting to rig a better tv camera setup before the first home series of baseball season. He'll survive the fractures and concussion that result, but will have to sit out the rest of baseball season to recover."
Simultaneously stunned and enlightened, I bid the wise Old Beaver good bye, and hurried back down the trail to report what I had learned.
While it's disturbing to know how the season will unfold, its also concerning to know Ted Miller and Kevin Gemmell will have to scramble to fill 1/12 of their column space with expanded coverage of Oregon and Stanford, no longer needing to analyze the Beavers!
(Connor Pelton also helped find the way to these startling revelations.)