Few things are more important at Oregon State in the current decade then the need to expand the fanbase and assure Reser Phase 3 is built. There has been alot of discussion on Pure-Orange in the last few days about supporting a 55K stadium. That is nice but for starters I would like Reser Phase 3 built atleast and support 49K every year starting in 2017 or whatever year an expanded Reser opens. I think there needs to be more focus from Beaver Nation on the primary goal. A matching west side that will look great on broadcasts and in-person and best complement our east side. After all, the horror scenario is putting lipstick on the current west side and seeing it stay locked in at a Big Sky level for decades to come.
If we overshoot and insist on the complete double-decker horseshoe all at once, it is more likely that BDC wiill say that we can’t justify the increase yet. But a few thousand seat gain as Reser Phase 3 would provide is very doable and would sell out for most games by 2017 and beyond if we can average close to 7 win seasons. I recently rewatched the Beaver Nation video below and it is clearer to me than ever that OSU has to A) Win more and then B) use that momentum to further grow the fanbase and program. OSU suppporters need to feel great about their stadium, not wondering why we are so content as is and not pushing toward a more touted conference and national identity.
Watch that video and you will realize OSU fans are as great as any. What they need is more focused leadership and to have their confidence restored. Will Riley take OSU to a higher level? It seems that more than likely if you can’t get something done in 12 years then the next 6 or more aren’t likely to be much better. What will OSU do if we get 5 wins this year like many are predicting. Will we be OK with our stagnant nature and allowing our winning ways to slip? How much time can we afford to give and must OSU accept being more and more of a non-factor against Oregon? Michigan St. does not shrink from Michigan after all.
This is a big season for Oregon State and I can only hope the energy level on the field and sense of urgency to win is much higher than last year. OSU needs to show it has the heart to claw back in games it is behind and still find a way to win. Past teams have had that but last year we were too passive in our approach. There really isn’t an excuse to get blown out in games by 30 points. If OSU keeps getting throttled by Stanford then we really need new leadership who will say not anymore.
Ted Miller recently did a feature on who is most ready to be a head coach and not all that surprisingly he agreed with the two names I most like. UW’s defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox and UO’s offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich. In his article he states how 6 or more wins sounds okay in theory, but that increasingly it is more essential to deliver success as a fanbase builder and recruiter. Coaches who will take 7, 8 or 9 win seasons and grow a fanbase and winning program from them are simply crucial for Athletic Departments seeking to maximize revenue across their sports. That is what is happening at UW right now and their recruiting and excitement are the highest in over a decade. OSU hit that winning mark not so long ago but did nothing with it and has now reversed course in a sharp slide.
Supporters want to fully rally behind someone and be led with confidence. If OSU’s leaders don’t start supplying that confidence it will be a very slow climb. Unfortunately, OSU does not have the luxury of time on its side when something needs to be done with the West side in the next 5 or 6 years. What we get for our next upgrade will tell alot about whether OSU is okay consistently in the bottom half of the conference. Riley’s job was to be consistently in the upper half of the conference. That should mean 80% of the time he finishes atleast in the top half of the Pac-12.
Does it feel like that is the course we are on though? Both Wilcox and Helfrich are brimming with energy and confidence. Helfrich has seen in person how Oregon has built a juggernaut. Wilcox has seen how confidence, energy and excitement can raise the bar and entice top recruits that rejuice a program. OSU has so much riding in the next few years. We need the passion, the excitement and confidence from our leaders that they will win whomever they are. Beaver Nation should not wait to be great again. It just needs to demand more from the top. All of Oregon State is affected when we are not consistently in the upper half of the Pac-12 and recognized across the conference and nation as winners.