Note: This is not meant to be a slanderous article
against everyone ever associated with Beaver
athletics. If fact, I know quite a few people who are
graduates of Oregon State. So, for Tim, Barry.
"Lamar", Janie, et al, this isn't for you. I know you
guys have had pride in OSU for a lot longer than the
last 4 years. And Ali Emami, a professor of Economics
at Oregon who happens to hold a degree from OSU.
My big problem here is with a large group of
beligerent, Johnny-come-lately fans that comprise a
majority of the "Beaver Nation", "Orange Crush" or
whatever the hell that they want to be called these
days. This article comes on the heels of Dennis
Erickson's resignation from OSU to head to the San
Back in 1997, after the firing of cult-hero Jerry
Pettibone, OSU finally made a smart move in signing
Mike Reilly to coach the football team. After managing
to post a couple of what I recall to be an 8-14 record
in two years, he bolted to the San Diego Chargers,
where he failed to live up to expectations. So, the
Beavers were once again looking to find a new coach,
and by some major fluke, Beaver AD Mitch Barnhardt
manages to hire Dennis Erickson, and then things start
to get ridiculous.
The Beavers managed to climb out of the toilet in
1999, managing a mediocre 7-5 record, uncluding a loss
to proverbial national power Hawaii in the Oahu Bowl.
Corvallis is abuzz, as much of the team will be back
for the next couple of years.
Hey, it's 2000. I have to admit, I was actually glad
to see OSU doing well for themselves, losing only to
Washington and beating Oregon...
I still contend this game was a fluke. Joey Harrington
never played this bad in his entire life...
And earned a shot at Notre Dame in the 2001 Fiesta
Bowl, and thrashed them 41-9. Hey, I enjoyed that.
Notre Dame sure deserved to get showed up at that
point. And Beaver fans rejoice. Hey, the Beavers had
just about the best season imaginable. I'm not sure if
they deserved to end up in the national title game,
but they were certainly playing the best football in
the country at the time.
Now, Beaver Nation is in full force. Everybody and
their dog has to be a Beaver fan. The catcalls start
coming in the direction of the Oregon fans, saying
that the Beavers are going to win the national
championship in 2001-2 and just destroy everyone. Even
Sports Illustrated thought so.
SO Beaver pride is at an all-time high. Hey, everybody
wants to be associated with a winner. But where were
all these fair-weather fans when the Beavers weren't
so good? I contend that if you were playing football
in an empty stadium every week, I can't say that the
effort would be the same as if I was playing in front
of a packed house.
But a funny thing happened along the way...REALITY.
If you listened to the over-confident fans or the
over-confident players, you would have to assume that
the predictions were going to come true. But instead,
the Beavers struggled mightily and never recovered,
going 5-6 and having to twiddle their thumbs while
Oregon bested their #4 ranking from the year before,
playing and demolishing a better Colorado team and
finishing with a #2 ranking (that's another article
right there). And in 2002, they still remained
overconfident after building up a 4-0 record playing a
bunch of idiots. And enthusiasm was again high. Then,
the Beavers desided to suck for a few weeks (and
silencing fans) before recovering to go 8-4, losing
badly to Pittsburgh in the Insight.com Bowl.
And now, just as he is about to sign a 7-year contract
extension, Erickson desides he'd like to go back to
the NFL, and the Beavs are looking for a coach. Can
they land somebody as high-profile as Erickson? For
some reason, I highly doubt it.
Now that you know where the Beaver program has come
from and where it is going, a brief commentary on
AS THE BEAVERS GO, SO DOES THE ORANGE AND BLACK
Whereas fans of most colleges will always come out to
support their team, win or lose (including Oregon,
naturally...I'm never afraid to wear the "O", even if
football went 7-6 last year), Beaver fans seem to be
pretty fickle. As long as the team is successful, then
orange and black is all the rage. Cars are decorated
with decals and those stupid flags. When the Beavers
are home, the freeway is littered with these cars, and
even around Salem. But as soon as the Beavers lose
once, all the flags disappear for the week until the
following Friday or so, when confidence builds. But
all it takes is one 2-or3-game skid, you don't see so
many shirts, and the amount of badgering severely
diminishes. And all they want to do is destroy the
other team. Even when I was at the Fiesta Bowl last
year, I talked to a number of Buff fans that wanted to
see a good football game as much as I did (that
doesn't include everyone, though). It also just
occured to me that since it's not even football
season, there aren't very many obvious beaver
supporters out there. It just drives me nuts. I'm sure
the next time the basketball team makes the
tournament, the same thing will happen. In fact, the
Beavs have a nationally ranked gymnastics team, but I
never hear anybody bragging about that. I guess I'll
I'm trying to say is that you should never be afraid
to support your favorite college, not just wait until
conditions are favorable.