Lipstick on a Pig (OSU Stadium Expansion)


OSUprof recently posted some concerning interview details from AD Bob De Carolis on the Pure-Orange football board. I couldn’t believe some of those details and must admit I see quite a few years of mediocrity at best ahead for Oregon St., should we stick with the mediocre Riley, not gain new fans, and try lipstick on a pig as our major stadium upgrade for the 2010-2020 decade.

Here are the main notes about a new West Side:

“The estimated cost of building a mirror image of the current east side of the stadium on the west side is $150 million in today’s dollars and with current construction costs. That’s without a club section. There would be a requirement of about $40 million upfront in funds that need to be raised for the project and the rest would be bonded debt. At least one year without a home game would be required to complete the project.

As an alternative, a study is underway to examine the feasibility of retrofitting/renovating the current west side to improve amenities and seating while trying to match the interior style and design elements. There’s hope that this will be a lower cost, and less disruptive alternative.”

As John McEnroe would say “You CANNOT be SERIOUS!” Surely there is a way they could do temporary seating for one season that would lower the capacity to 39K or something but as soon as it was done we would get a beautiful Pac-12 worthy overall stadium. Others have noted that perhaps the towers could be started earlier and that other teams have done similar projects all in one offseason, like Stanford who rebuilt their whole stadium between seasons. This is just silly excuse talk from BDC about Mike Riley not generating enough interest and should we thus spend close to 150 million to get to 50,000 seats when Riley this year will be down to under 42K fans in a year with Oregon and Wisconsin at home.

This is all largely Riley’s issue. Marketing is important but if your leader is uninspiring, goes through almost the exact same routine every year, is downtrending sharply, is non-sexy to recruits, and frankly is boring in the culture of the times then why should fans get excited? This “study” of BDC tells me he wants to try to find yet another excuse but knows if he keeps Riley much longer at all then the fanbase will plateau right around the 43-44K level no matter how good and powerful the rebranding efforts of Nike are. You can’t put lipstick on a pig in important stadium renovations and you also can’t rebrand a program if gosh golly Riley still is his same boring self and only getting further behind the Pac-12 upper tier every year.

Here is more from BDC that shows Riley could care less about growing the fanbase or pleasing fans with an aggressive attitude towards success. BDC estimated between 1500 and 2000 in attendance at the spring game. Normal attendance is between 5000 and 6000. A combination of factors contributed to the low attendance. A comment by Mike Riley that seemed to suggest that there was going to be no spring game was misinterpreted by a local media source and that hurt attendance. But BDC was blunt in suggesting that following a 3-9 season that there was no buzz surrounding the program. In other words in his 12th year at the helm of Oregon St., Mike Riley is back at square one and the program is in worst shape then it was in 1997.

College Coaches Hot Seat is an independent, non-biased site that honestly looks at who is underperforming to the extreme at the college level and should be next in line to be fired and has Riley at #2. Their feelings about his diminishing abilities to properly compete and acceptance of mediocrity were well stated recently. Their words, not mine:

“Memo to Mike Riley: The reason so many of your Oregon State players are getting in trouble is that….

They Don’t Give A Damn


They Have No Damn Pride in their Football Team or University


They feel that way because the Oregon State coaching staff has tolerated both bad and disgraceful behavior off the field and unacceptable and apathetic play on the field and now Oregon State football is filled with players who are only mimicking the level of commitment of the OSU coaching staff as it pertains to expecting excellence both on and off the field of play which is almost nonexistent and thus why the Oregon State football program is spiraling down into irrelevancy as other Pac-12 programs like Washington, Washington State, Stanford, Arizona, Arizona State, Utah, USC and UCLA are surging forward.

Coaches Hot Seat is predicting a 5 – 7 record for Oregon State in 2012 and if that indeed is the record that the OSU Beavers end up with and those 5 wins and 7 losses involved the kind of lackluster play that has exemplified Oregon State football over the past two seasons then someone in Corvallis is going to have to ask the question if becoming a bottom dweller in the Pac-12 conference again is acceptable to the alumni and boosters that pay lots of the bills for Oregon State athletics.

Our only question: Is Mike Riley going to keep tolerating MEDIOCRITY in HIS Oregon State football program or is he going to start acting like his head coach in college, Paul “Bear” Bryant, who right now if he was alive would be wondering just what the Hell is wrong with Oregon State football and where Mike Riley learned to accept MEDIOCRITY because it sure the Hell wasn’t in Tuscaloosa.”

That pretty much sums up the state of the program and that more than 7 wins seasons will be extremely rare should we continue on with Riley. 7 wins won’t do better than a Vegas Bowl so OSU fans better wake up and realize Riley is not the answer at all moving forward. The players would have probably gotten atleast 4 wins for Sarah Underwood last year just because they would have been more inspired. Riley is outdated and refuses to get with the times and just doesn’t have the right stuff anymore. He peaked at a Sun Bowl where we last scored a measely 3 points. A good coach would do that in one year or two, not hold onto it as a laurel of 12 years.

Under Riley the program is going nowhere and the fanbase growth will be nonexistent. If we can go out and aggressively take a winner like Justin Wilcox right under the noses of a rising rival, then OSU can and would have much bigger dreams to look forward to. Wilcox would know the Huskies and could beat them, he has proven he can beat Chip Kelly (twice), and OSU could use its rebranding to become a sexy upstart on the national scene that expected to make first a Holiday Bowl and likely an Alamo Bowl or BCS playoff over the course of the next 6 or 7 years under his helm. Stadium expansion could happen around the middle of those years and he is the type who would sell out 50K seats and put 10K at a real Spring Game. Riley will suck the life out of the rebranding and if we struggle around the 5 win mark with some 6 win seasons that pathetically earn extensions the fanbase will actually shrink not grow as fans say “this sucks”.

One path will provide a fresh new start, much higher new energy and excitement and another will be more blase mediocrity and getting more irrelevant. As an OSU fan the choice is clear. I want an exciting coach who can help us get a nice west side so that we can actually stand a chance. To compete against ridiculously beautiful and major stadium projects at Cal and UW, OSU can’t put lipstick on a pig. One gets the sense that BDC is talking some external styling to the west side that will make it look strange. His line about there is hope that this will be less disruptive is a complete crock. It is pure and simple saying we don’t want to compete and it looks like Riley will mightily struggle to ever support a single fan more than 45,000 again so maybe [insert your favorite excuse here].

Wasting money on an ill-conceived study or spending 45+ million to put lipstick on a pig for the West Side would only mean that OSU’s stadium will look pathetic and non Pac-12 calibre for another two decades or longer. It is beyond stupid and would cement OSU’s bottom tier basement dwellar status in the Pac-12. Larry Scott has to be shaking his head. It isn’t this difficult folks. After this year Riley will have had 12 mostly mediocre seasons with no real hang your hat moment that actually propelled the program forward. If we actually want to move forward we need a hot upcomer like Wilcox, who is a stud recruiter and who will make OSU nationally interesting instead of the Snooze button we have become.