Teams: there are a lot of them. We offer up CV3000's estimates from Building the Dam, who would like to tell you about Oregon State, Sammie Stroughter, and on the art of not making beaver jokes every single day of your life as an Oregon State fan.
One: what color is your season? In other words, please explain the metaphorical state of your program through the metaphor of color:
We're not so big on color metaphor. Our lack of bigness on color metaphor requires us to state what may be obvious to everyone: Orange.
That the most obvious color would also be the most metaphorically appropriate color is nothing short of...high irony. Even Alanis Morisette herself (need I remind you she played GOD in a movie?) would be proud that the Beavers have risen from the ashes and ascended the ranks of the Pac-10--winning the 3rd most games of any conference team in the current century. Consider the color of the rising sun that must have awoken the Rip Van Winkle of College Football a decade ago. Consider the color of cones, hard hats, and that weird, plastic fencing they use at construction sites as required to replace or remodel every athletic facility in Beaverland (well, the stadium is 2/3 replaced--I assure you it is possibly the nicest half of a stadium for 3 BCS conference geographic footprints away...did someone say there's French laundry in the Loge Level? Ooh la la, tres orange.) and to make them as delicious of a dish as you might find in any other fine Factorie du Football. Consider the color of hope. Consider: orange you glad we didn't say banana?
But, what about TODAY? What has orange done for them lately?
Actually, the Beavers have very quietly won the 2nd most games in the Pac-10 conference over the past two seasons (while also redshirting and grayshirting the most players in the conference). However, media perception has not caught up with this bold, new reality of Beaver Excellence. 2007 saw the Beavers replacing the most starters of any Pac-10 team, losing 2 All-American players to season-ending injuries in the 1st and 4th games (No, we're not talking about Dennis Dixon-your-mouth. He played on the other team from our state--the one that wins less.) and still winning 9 games with two different first year starters at quarterbacks (something that is pretty hard to get away with in our conference). Many members of The ANTI-Blogalism Establishment seem to be coming late to the party by labeling 2008 as the rebuilding year for the Beavs and are picking them to go 6th in the conference this season....well, we call bullfeathers.
Two: What historical nation and period do you resemble most right now?
England's The Glorious Revolution is abundantly analogous. 1680's England: After a lengthy period of strife (i.e.Vanderbilt's losing season streak is closing in on our former streak), the monarchy was re-established as William of ORANGE (Mike Riley) returned from his exile in France (Coaching Ryan Leaf in San Diego, and then defensive backs for the Saints) to rule supremely at the head of the English Empire (Beaver Nation). William of Orange (Mike Riley) immediately strengthened the kingdom by instituting a vast array of changes (getting the ball in Steven Jackson's hands, expanding the stadium, serving duck at the training table) which led to the sun never setting on the English Empire(it stays light out in Corvallis until past 9p in the summer). He subdued the beasts of his kingdom (such as the cougars, wildcats, bruins, and bears), cast out the devils, and fought the trojans to a standstill. He outlawed cardinal as a royal color, and kept a husky as a pet--for they are never coarse. All was right--and getting better--in the kingdom led by William of ORANGE (Mike Riley).
Three: You have important players. Discuss a few of them hastily.
Out of fear, two Sunday linemen get first nod: All-American LG Jeremy Perry: 6'2" 340, pities the fool. Witness his sheer enormity WITHOUT pads. Also, OT Andy Levitre, who we're guessing is the only player in the country with separate, tandem 5 minute youtube highlights from LEFT tackle as well as RIGHT tackle. He also has a mohawk. Enough with the beasts of burden, onward to the mancrush-worthy...
WR- Sammie "TNT" Stroughter, the aforementioned All-American wideout is a Maxwell watch-lister. Sammie led the Pac-10 with 1290 yards receiving in 2006. He was also one of the most lethal punt returners in the nation, averaging 15.7 yards per return--thrice scoring. 2007 was lost to a lacerated kidney suffered in an unfortunate accident involving a misplaced pitchfork at the Arizona State game. He has never performed any international circumcisions to my knowledge, though he is probably most famous for inspiring his teammates by handing each of them a David-style pebble to wear under their pads (I don't get that part, but I don't like Notre Dame, either...which just goes to show you what I know about applying Biblical metaphor to sporting contests.) before beating USC in '06, a game where he also starred on the field a wee bit. Yes, Sammie had a rock under his shoulder pad, or in his undies--or somewhere--all game. Again, not sure why. However, the venerable Maualuga was defeated in battle that day, so I don't have to get it.
(Watch Sammie on this youtube featuring the sublime, hypnotic melodies of Gwen Stefani!)
CB- Brandon Hughes is SuperDuper, yet is under-appreciated even among Beaver fans simply because casual fans don't notice that teams don't throw to his side any more. He is one of the best in the country...I mean, one of the best on youtube, at least.
WR- James Rodgers led the Pac-10 in yards per carry last year, as a true freshman: 50 carries, 586 yards =11.8ypc. I think that's a lot. Here is a youtube of one play where the opposing defensive coordinator said he knew what was coming and made the best defensive call to stop it. It's hard to argue that he didn't save our season last year. Not bad for a "1-star" who somehow only had one scholarship offer. His younger brother, Jacquizz, is the all-time TD record holder in Texas high school history and will be a true freshman with us this year. We look forward to writing a plea to their mother in this space next year, imploring her to consider the benefits of bearing further offspring so that we might raise them in a Soviet-style encampment for the betterment of our future football success. Da Comrade!
Oh...and DE- Victor Butler: 3rd in the country in total tackles for loss yardage and had 10.5 sacks last year--as a non-starter. Maybe he's as fast as James Rodgers for, like, 2-4 steps? He will give you all you can handle, if you can handle well-dressed men.
That's the majority of the playmakers. Also, continuing with our French theme, Le Coup de Grace: TE- Howard CROOOOOOOOM! Deny that you are in awe of our blood relative and heir to the Croom Dynasty. You. can. not.
Four: Name two games we might actually want to watch featuring your team.
Sep. 6th @ Penn State qualifies as a big game, I guess. It's nice to play them in a year where 20% of their team has been charged with a crime, but also very unfortunate that they've lost 2 of their up-the-middle starters on defense already. I don't even think it's important to beat them, so much as to not lose another early season game on national television. We do great in bowl games, but tend to poop the bed in the 'summer bowl games'--we've gone on the road to play a top 10-15 team out of conference almost every year for the last 5 years or so. Losing those early games is really the only complaint that Beaver fans have with Mike Riley, but the entire Beaver Nation is really hoping and expecting that this will be the year that I don't have such a bad hangover the day after our highest profile non-conference game.
Angry Chimp hitman demands you perform, Beavers.
Sep. 25th vs. USC is pretty big--not Beavers vs. Cocks big, this is the less fertile, less innuendo-boobytrapped contest of Beavers vs. Trojans. The Men of Troy are indefatigable, 70-pointing, terminators versus the SEC, but not so invincible in their 2 conference losses in each of the past 2 seasons. If there's such a thing as a "down" year for them, it's when they're replacing a starting QB with one who has a trick kneecap, like this year. OSU is the only team in the Pac-10 with a winning home record versus the Trojans this decade. The last two games in Corvallis have both been decided by *punt return scores by All-American returners; Reggie Bush in '04, was probably the most amazing single play in the last decade of Pac-10 games; I think Sports Illustrated even wrote an article mostly about that play. Sammie Stroughter's punt return against USC in '06 created the loudest and most excited crowd I've ever seen at a stadium in real life. It doesn't get a whole lot more **exciting than that, folks.
*Past performance does not dictate future results. Punt return scores not guaranteed.
**Actual excitement may vary.
Four-A: Save us all some time and mention the game we're better off NOT watching.
Nov 29th vs. Oregon: We have a pretty good non-conference schedule--they've all been to a BCS bowl in the last few years. Though I'm tempted to say Arizona or Washington State, I really have to go with the oregon game, since they're not as competitive. oregon has only finished ahead of Oregon State twice in conference play during the current century. It used to be the best rivalry game in the conference, but not anymore. Since there's now an entire generation of children being raised in eugene who don't know that it's possible for the ducks to even win in Corvallis--we kind of feel sorry for their little, yellow highlighter-costumed asses. What will really tug at the ol' heartstrings is that now oregon fans attempt to assuage their wounds by denouncing their rivalry with the Beavers as unimportant in order to square their collective sites on declaring war on the woundedest program lining the bottom of the conference trash can: the six-foot-twenty, killing-for-fun, University of Washington. I can't really blame university of oregon duck football fans for wanting to be able to beat someone with any sort of regularity, but it's kind of hilarious how they've all quit caring about trying to beat a good team.
Five: Every hero forgets something in their toolbelt. What does your team lack?
Umm...punter, right tackle, and uh...thinking......We have no returning starters from our defensive front seven. It's not as bad as it looks--maybe. No? Beaver fans really think we have a good defensive scheme these days, they call it a 'gap control' defense and say that it's very similar in concept to Ye Olde Desert fwarme days at Arizona. I don't know about any of that, I just know that there was only 1 of those 7 who were drafted into the league of re-animated corpses whose bodies await reunion with their immortal soul until such a time as they return to regular tax brackets--many know it as the NFL (Joey LaRocque, 7th round-Chicago). Last year's team was #8 in the nation in total defense, creating pressure by constantly shuffling 10(!) defensive linemen in situational packages--so even the backup defensive ends had 9 and 10.5 sacks, respectively. So there's the departed starters, sure, but the optimist says that there are more than 11 players who ARE back and played--regularly, in real, non-garbage time--on what ended up as the #1 rushing defense in NCAA football. Also, we're losing these 7 seniors and replacing them with 4 seniors, 2 juniors, and a sophomore with secondary-type speed playing linebacker, so it's really not as bad as people like to make it sound. I went to practice on Saturday though, and we really do need an offensive right tackle. A lot.
Six: Describe your team with a Jimmy Buffett song. No, we're serious–do it.
I can't answer this question due to a conflict of interest: not only do I not have any interest in Jimmy Buffett, but he was also our special teams coordinator in 1986-7, and I can't step on a man who has contributed so much. The main reason, however, is that I just don't want to divulge this information in case someone takes my idea to play "Why Don't We Get Drunk (and screw)?" from large, outboard-mounted speakers on my Mercury Sable (u KNOW! Cloth seats, tape deck, plastic hubcaps! We rollz like dis e'ery day! ) while cruising at 3 miles per hour through densely forested wetland areas just to see if it works. Heyyy, comeon, mang--how was I ever supposed to escape this sans requisite poorly executed, over-the-top beaver joke?
Seriously though, who the hell is Jimmy Buffett?
Seven: We're master wagerers. Give us a bet to place for up to ten dollars about your team.
This is one of the truly noteworthy instances where Wesley Snipes said it best: "Always bet on black (....to cover the spread at home)." Reser Stadium will Croom you in your dreams.
Fine work, sir, even if you lose points for dodging the gauntlet of the Jimmy Buffett question. If you're interested in reading more about Oregon State football, please see Building the Dam for all your needs.