The Oregon State Beavers delivered their best performance of the season last Saturday, drubbing the Colorado Buffalos 44-17 at a sopping wet Reser Stadium. Sean Mannion had six touchdown passes, and the revived Beavers quarterback now leads the country in passing yards and scores.
Somehow, after the air was seemingly let out of the Beavers' season in a 49-46 home loss to FCS Eastern Washington, Mike Riley's team have clawed their way to a 4-1 record. Now, Oregon State has a bye week to catch their breath before two very winnable conference games against Washington State and Cal.
If the Beavers can keep their momentum and mojo intact, they could be looking at an October 26th home game with Stanford for the lead in the Pac-12 North.
It was almost unthinkable after that drubbing at the hands of Eastern Washington that OSU would be receiving Top-25 votes just four weeks later. The Beavers needed perseverance against Hawaii, incredible drama at Utah, and a near-miracle against San Diego State, before putting it all together against Colorado this past weekend.
Undoubtedly, Beavers fans and players felt pride when they looked at the scoreboard and saw their team up 31 points after the third quarter Saturday. This team has thrilled and wowed, and maddening as they are, the 2013 Beavs are an easy team to love.
Oregon State has grown before everyone's eyes, and when you realize where the Beavers were at the start of September, you realize why a blowout win over the lowly Buffs at the end of September meant so much.
The Oregon Ducks, on the other hand, were up 41 points at halftime of their game against the California Golden Bears on Saturday, and no pride was felt by anyone. The most interesting facet of the Ducks victory was the typhoon that was calling plays.
There were eight fumbles in the first quarter. And Oregon recovered all of them. They're just that good, I guess, because when you recover fumbles by the opposition on their first four offensive drives, you can consider yourself a machine.
41-0 over Cal at halftime? Five years ago, a sellout crowd would have been dancing in the isles of Autzen Stadium until Sunday morning. It's a testament to how far the Ducks have come that many Oregon fans bolted for their cars at halftime, turned on the heat, and said, "another day at the office".
No excitement. No real drama. No nothing. Oregon is as ho-hum and boring as any team in the country. They're just too damn good. The Ducks have achieved a level of success most sports teams can't even dream of. There's a machine, not a team operating at Autzen. Chip Kelly? Who even remembers him anymore? Oregon is at their most dominant this year without him.
You hear Beavers fans moaning all the time about how they wish the football teams in Eugene and Corvallis were swapped. Oh how grand it would be, they think, to have the media hype and the #2 ranking and the BCS games.
Absolutely. If Oregon State could get to Oregon’s level of success, that would be scintillating, incredible, and a dream come true.
But that’s probably not happening, and I have a message for Beavers fans: Enjoy your team. Enjoy your season. Live and die with every game, every play, every moment. Preciously collect and hoard every win, every big play, every little moment, because Oregon State is human. They might lose on any given Saturday, and so when they win, it's a cause for celebration.
Deep down, Oregon fans want a close game. They want to be able to live and die with every drive, every fumble, every touchdown, because they can't anymore. A win on Saturday for the Ducks isn't even news. When Oregon wins 44-17, it's a disappointment.
It's the same story every week. Not even an epic storm could slow down the Ducks. The other team doesn't ever have a shot. It's going to be 40-0 Oregon at halftime, and 60-10 when it's all said and done. Ask Nichols State. Ask Virginia. Ask Tennessee. Ask Cal. Four very different teams, four very similar results.
When Ducks fans chanted "We Want 'Bama" in the second-quarter of Oregon's game against Tennessee, the game was already over. There were 40 minutes or so of football to wish those last 40 minutes of a Ducks football game would matter someday.
With Oregon State, it matters every week. There are heroes and villains. At Oregon, there is a machine.
Be careful what you wish for. Oregon's success was awesome at the beginning, and as a program dramatically and quickly rose from the ground, the action was pulsating and memorable. Oregon football was a ton of fun. Now, the Ducks are so good, there's barely any point of playing ten of the twelve games on the team's schedule. Not much of a football season.
There’s something special going on in Corvallis this season, maybe just as special as what’s going on in Eugene. It’s a case of the humans and the robots. The Beavers should be thankful for the fact that they’re still human.