Big-D vs. Beaver Nation
Disclaimer inside...
12.2.2003 by Big D

Picture this: a rickety stadium somewhere in the Willamette Valley, with turf so bad it may rival that of Veteran's Stadium in Philadelphia. A lackluster football team that hasn't seen a winning season in nearly 30 years, and only draws a small handful of fans per game.

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 Francisco 49ers.

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...

Writer's Sidebar:
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 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 Beaver fans:


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.

This is my old project, THROWDOWN.

A group of friends and I put together this little project in 2003 as an outlet of out collective rage and anger about the subjects that each of us cared about. I was the editor-and-chief and games writer back then.

It was a blast to do and it to be involved in a great collaborative effort using the strengths of my friends was simply amazing. I hope you have fun reading our work as much as we had in creating it.
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