A bye week this early in the season when the team is generally healthy, which Oregon St. is, and when the team does not have major systematic issues to address, and the Beavers don't (for an early season change), can be a major bore, and that's the case with this week, when Oregon St. should have been playing an extra home game the trip to Hawaii afforded.
There are benefits, most notably that the coaches will be able to get out to see high school games across the country, and get some good first-hand looks at prospects.
But there's also the 7 figure revenue hit that throwing away a home game brings (keep that in mind the next time you get a phone call or a letter looking for a financial handout), and potentially a real loss of momentum, both for the team, which has yet to put 2 halves of good football together in the same day, despite stretches of superior play, and the fan base, which will see 1 game in 6 1/2 weeks at Reser, and it will be another wonderful late night start.
And while the coaches are away, there is a 3 day, and therefore 3 night, break for the players. With this group, I don't see a major issue likely arising. It is between summer and fall terms, and so with no class work considerations, it will be a weekend more than a few players will go home, or on a fishing trip, or just get away. But we are talking about over 100 18-22 year olds, with time on their hands.
Something that won't go wrong
One thing I do think we will likely see after the break will be a sharper Sean Mannion. Despite an impressive start to the Hawaii game, Mannion, like much of the rest of the team, hasn't yet played a complete game.
I have reservations about certain individuals and position groups working through that, but not with Mannion. If I were on Rocky Long's San Diego St. staff, I'd be very worried, as a 5th year senior with Mannion's skill and experience is likely to come out of this bye week laser-focused.
Despite the necessary re-commitment to the rushing game in recent games, which will continue as it should, I still think we will soon see an episode of Sean at his very best, and some poor opponent is going to get absolutely torched as a result. It could well be the Aztecs.
X and O non-dilema dilema
It has to please head coach Mike Riley, and especially defensive coordinator Mark Banker, that system-wise, there have been very few issues with the Beavers in the early going this season (excluding clock management, but despite what I actually believe are his best efforts, I've come to the conclusion that clock management and Coach Riley are just mutually exclusive entities). Oregon St.'s struggles are mostly a matter of execution (even the blocked punt that had a lot to do with the flood gates almost opening at Hawaii was a product of a missed read/adjustment to an overload, and though on the par of a high school jv game mistake, it was not a system failure), and as such, more game action reps in the extra game (which is another reason why squandering an opportunity money can't buy was bad management) would be the best thing.
But it doesn't produce the usual sequence of post-game analysis, followed by irate comments, and then further xs and os analysis that fills up the website all week, and pleases the SBN brass that loves a "what is wrong with the coaches" controversy, and the interest that follows.
We can only hope the increase in focus that I mentioned expecting from Mannion is contagious to the rest of the team.
The passing of a friend of the family
One good thing about the bye is it comes at the best possible time, as far as providing time to deal with more important issues for one member of Beaver Nation.
Mike Parker, the radio voice of the Beavers, lost his father this past Monday.
Mike's dad was 92, and was a WW II hero, one of the brave men that stormed Normandy, and turned the tide in the European campaign that followed.
While some are somewhat less enamored of Mike's degree of objectivity than others, we can all agree that he deeply cares about "our' Beavers, and also that it is a terrible thing to have to lose someone as Mike did this week.
BTD sends their deepest condolences, and one last thank you to Mr. Parker, to the Parker family.
Other sports making off-season news
While its a quiet week around campus, and the football team, there is some news around both the men's basketball team, and the baseball team.
The best news of course is that Chai Baker, the freshman Beaver guard that collapsed at practice last month, continues to recover at home, and hasn't had any setbacks or complications from the heart event that struck him.
The other news of note involving the basketball team is an aggressive marketing move to try to sell discounted season tickets. Despite being above .500 until the season ending loss in the CBI that ultimately led to former head coach Craig Robinson (who has landed on his feet as a basketball analyst for ESPN) being fired, attendance plummeted to an all-time low in the history of Gill Coliseum this past season.
And though promising recruiting brings reasonable higher hopes for down the road, new coach Wayne Tinkle's first season with a roster so depleted that he plans to hold open tryouts for up to 5 walkon spots (reminiscent of women's basketball coach Scott Rueck's first year, though that eventually did work out pretty well) is bound to be a rough one, as far as wins and losses, and maybe even competitive basketball, goes.
Credit to Athletic Director Bob DeCarolis and his staff for a creative idea about how to try to extinguish the dumpster fire that the lack of support for men's basketball has become, but the revenue hit the end of the Robinson era and its aftermath brought also further underscores problem with the inexplicable decision to throw money away by throwing away a chance for an 8th home football game.
If basketball has a lot of work to do, baseball is riding a tide of positivity, after back to back Pac-12 championships, even if the 2013 CWS was followed up with an early exit in the regionals this past spring.
Goss Stadium is undergoing some construction, with a new building replacing the Beaver bullpen. The new structure will provide a new dressing room and offices, as well as a much needed medical treatment area, and more room for equipment, plus a fan plaza on the roof.
The $3 million project got a $1 million jump start from former Beaver Jacoby Ellsbury.
The bullpen will move to the area behind the high wall portion of left field, where the under-cover hitting and pitching practice area was.
Turmoil Around Sports
At least Oregon St. is not a central figure in the rash of recent tumultuous events, ranging from controversy over the NFL's handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence incident, to Pac-12 officiating, the controversy at the school down the road about their handling of last spring's incident involving 3 basketball players, since dismissed, to "What is wrong with the Washington defense" (What, you didn't think losing the top staff of defensive assistants in the conference, and maybe the country, would lead to a step back?), to "What the #@%& is wrong with Washington St." (Ball security and the ability to run the ball do matter.), to "What in %!*% is going on with UCLA (if you can't protect your quarerback, it doesn't matter who he is), and on and on.
Coach Riley's beloved Corvallis can be a relatively quiet place. (Hopefully, it stays that way this weekend!)
Fortunately, its also a good weekend to watch more football!