As Oregon State Athletics will not let us forget, CORVALLIS IS THE BEST COLLEGE TOWN IN THE PAC-12 EVERYONE. The branding is everywhere. There’s the giant sign in Reser Stadium that wraps it’s way around a wall near an end zone. There’s the “Best College Town in the Pac-12” shield that Oregon State Athletics created so they could put it everywhere. It’s even the focal point of the athletic’s website. It has gone quietly in the background as the theme of this year’s marketing campaign.
It is, if you look for it, omnipresent in everything that Beaver Athletics touched this year.
As far as I can tell, the only people who declared Corvallis the best college town in the Pac-12 would be... Beaver Athletics. And it is in fact, a very good place to live. I live here. I will raise my children here. The schools are great, it’s safe, the campus injects culture and diversity into our lives, etc. But is it the best college town in the Pac-12? Ehhhh. Up for debate.
Which brings me to another frivolous and baseless claim that has been made this season, only this one was made by me. In the game-recap following the loss to Lamar, I wrote:
Maybe I was just upset that the Beavers had turned the ball over 27 times. Maybe I was in shock that we had just lost at home to Lamar, a team picked to finish at the bottom of a conference I haven’t even heard of. Whatever the case, it got me to thinking: is Reno really the worst city in America? Is it even the worst city we’ll play in this season?
The Beavers play 13 away games, starting the first of a two game road trip this evening against Nevada in Reno. Here’s a full list of the cities they will be visiting, in order based on the schedule:
- Reno, Nevada
- Tulsa, Oklahoma
- Starkville, Mississippi
- Charlotte, North Carolina
- Pullman, Washington
- Seattle, Washington
- Eugene, Oregon
- Boulder, Colorado
- Salt Lake City, Utah
- Los Angeles, California (x2)
- Palo Alto, California
- Berkeley, California
Nevada, Tulsa, and Mississippi State are our first three road games of the season. Ironically, these three teams qualify for a three-way tie for the worst cities we play in.
Reno, or the dollar store version of Vegas, is Nevada’s Salem. It is Nevada’s Tacoma. It is Nevada’s Fresno. I have nothing good to say about Reno, other than the fact they have an In-N-Out and are within an hour of Lake Tahoe. It’s never a good sign when the best thing you can say about a place is that you can leave it to go somewhere better close by.
Tulsa. Ahhhhh my sweet Tulsa. Did you know that there are tall buildings and an actual downtown in Tulsa? It’s about the same distance from Oklahoma City as Corvallis is from Portland. But did you also know that in 2014, Tulsa was ranked the most dangerous city in the country? I had no idea. Can you imagine living in the most dangerous city in America, and the closest metro area you can drive to is Oklahoma City? Which, as it turns out, is the second most dangerous place in America according to that very same list that put Tulsa first.
If you’ve ever been anywhere in the state of Mississippi, you have more or less basically been to Starkville. Just about the only thing in Starkville other than a 35% obesity rate is Mississippi State. Have you seen Netflix’s Last Chance U? If you haven't, you should stop reading this right now and go watch all of it because it is amazing. The documentary takes place at East Mississippi Community College in Scooba, MS and is now what I assume everything in Mississippi is like. It is not a good place.
The last out-of-conference road game this year will be in Charlotte, which is a great city. It is the exact opposite of Reno. More people are moving to Charlotte than any almost any other city on the east coast right now. And to top it off, the median home prices there are about half what it costs to live in Portland.
The rest of the list are all Pac-12 schools. We skip out on visiting the state of Arizona this year, which is a shame. I do love the Grand Canyon State. I’ve visited every city on the list other than Pullman (I’ve heard mixed reviews). And there isn’t one of them that I don’t like. I personally am partial to Boulder, Salt Lake City, and Seattle. But all of them are generally good places to live.
So what do you guys think? What’s the worst city the Beavers are playing in?