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BTD Mailbag: Answers

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Famous authors, home-field advantage, bowl odds, COVID-19, Sports Illustrated covers and Sam Vidlak.

Oregon State v UCLA Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

What Classic American writer wins a fist fight? - Thembeavers!

The_Coach: Jack Kerouac. I’m not incredibly confident in this pick, but he did play football at Columbia and he was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, so that’s got to be worth something. Also, he was a material witness in a murder and his dad apparently punched a rabbi once. All things considered, based on his writings and some of that information, I’d say he ran with some shady characters and likely had to learn to fight along the way. I’d choose him despite the 5’ 9” size.

Marcus Russell: Ernest Hemingway. 6-feet tall and he was a good athlete who even boxed! He also was involved in track and field, football and water polo in high school. His dad also taught him to hunt, fish and camp in the woods; which instilled in him a life-long passion for out door adventure and living in remote areas. Yeah Ernest Hemingway sounds like a pretty tough dude.

John Severs: I’m going to go back a bit further. Nathaniel Hawthorne. Puritan upbringing he rebelled against, frat bro, amazing mustache, and friend of a president. He could definitely go a few rounds.

Travis Johannes: Marcus Russell is an American writer right? He seems scrappy. I pick him.


If they play football in 2020 without crowds, will home field advantage mean anything? - Kurt Sahr (@KurtSahr on Twitter)

The_Coach: I still think home field advantage means something simply because of travel and sleeping in hotels and an unfamiliar practice location.

MR: It’s a good question. Overall I think home field advantage for college football would mean slightly less without fans. In this hypothetical a one season sample size wouldn’t really be enough to come to a definite conclusion. For Oregon State specifically I don’t think it makes any difference one way or another to be frank.

TJ: I agree with the prior sentiments. The lack of travel is usually a benefit for the home team so I would say the home field advantage still exists. I do expect games to be a little stale though. Teams often feed off the crowds energy (positive or negative).

JS: I also agree, but I think an interesting thing to consider is how the lack of crowds is going to affect the players and teams who really feed off of it. I wonder if we’ll see a lack of high risk plays and sudden swings in momentum without a crowd to feed off of.


Odds of seeing the Beavs in a bowl for 2021? - Jack “Big Dubs” Hays (@Frenderman on Twitter)

The_Coach: Apparently, ‘Big Dubs’ is being a bit selfish and just wants to go to a bowl game in his senior year, but we get what he’s saying. We want a bowl game too. With 12 games on the slate, the 6-6 mark is what we’re shooting for and that means Oregon State probably has to beat Colorado State, Washington State, Washington, UCLA and Arizona. That’s five wins. Maybe at Stanford could be number six? I wouldn’t give great odds, but let’s say 10-1?

MR: I’m more optimistic than Coach here. I’d say there’s about a 50-50 chance of going bowling. The Beavs probably won’t be favored in a bunch of games, but they will be single-point underdogs in a lot of them. Continuity with the coaching staff could help the Beavers this year especially if covid throws off the practice/camp schedule.

TJ: It appears Coach and Marcus Russell are a little confused as to the current year, cause any bowl game the team may make this season would likely occur in the year 2020. The following season? Sure why not. I’m saying it right now. During the calendar year 2021 the Oregon State football team will participate in a bowl game.

JS: I agree with Travis. With another year of recruiting and building, the program should be able to manage 6 wins in 2021. Purdue and Hawaii are winnable non conference games, Idaho is a Big Sky team and other than the one game I’ve completely erased from my memory the Beavers haven’t had problems there. If they can grab at least 3 or 4 conference wins they’ll be in solid position.


What are the long term effects with COVID-19, on the athletics at OSU? - David Mays (@SportsNutDavis on Twitter)

The_Coach: Besides the financial and other impacts that have been outlined by what will happen if sports don’t come back in the fall, I don’t think there’s too many long-term effects, just because every school is really in the same boat when it comes to COVID-19 and the response to it right now. It’s not an ideal situation but the NCAA makes more than enough money to help the conferences out if need be. It’s just everyone keeping their cards close to their vest right now.

MR: I don’t want to be all doom and gloom, but from a big picture stand point I think colleges are in trouble. Tuition has gotten crazy expensive and universities have not been frugal. Football has been making so much money that they are funneling a lot of funds back into their facilities and coaching staffs just to stay competitive. With the covid outbreak I don’t see anyway that they can continue to stay profitable. Reduced ticket sales, enrollment and other drops in revenue are going to hit hard. Specifically that could mean universities will have to come up with cutbacks in all departments, including the athletic department.

JS: I’m most concerned about the sports further down the ladder. Football, basketball and baseball will be fine. Soccer should be alright, and gymnastics has a pedigree, so they could see budget cuts but should weather the storm. Everything else? Things could get dicey. The university already cut swimming for budgetary reasons, and other sports could be on the chopping block with severely reduced funding.


What is your favorite Sports Illustrated (SI) cover and why is it this one?

The_Coach: My all-time favorite is definitely the Doug McDermott recreation of Larry Bird’s iconic cover. It has nothing to do with Oregon State, but I’m a huge fan of this kind of thing. Also, back in late 1960’s, SI wasn’t exactly as sports-focused as it is today. The famous Grizzly cover and the ever-trendy Ski Season Preview ones are great too.

MR: YES! Or this one...

TJ: I mean I gotta go with Ocho on the cover. The following year Ken Simonton graced the football preview edition where the Beavs were projected to be one of the top teams in the nation, but, uh well, the SI curse is real and it is mean.

JS: I love it when a magazine just completely blows a prediction. SI has had some great ones, but I’m going to pull an audible and go with this ESPN the Magazine cover. Its perfect.


With the addition of Sam Vidlak at QB could there be a potential log jam at the position? (BTD comment)

The_Coach: In the future, there hypothetically could be but not too much of one. Ben Gulbranson is a freshman and Vidlak is a 2021 commit so as Gebbia, Aidan Willard and Nick Moore leave town, they’ll be two new solid options (pending more commits). Under an offensive guy like Smith, he’s going to clearly pick his quarterback each season. I wouldn’t say log jam, just an average (or hopefully above-average) Pac-12 quarterbacks room in the future.

MR: Nah...

TJ: Nope. The QB depth chart can never have too many options.

JS: The team will be fine. The pace the QB recruits are coming in isn’t too quick, and some competition from younger players is going to be beneficial for the system.