OSU has had a defeatist attitude for the past two plus years and it only seems to be getting more complacent. My pride in OSU stemmed from many of the teams that beat the Ducks just as often as they got beat in the earlier 2000s, all the way to the James Rodgers winning touchdown over Oregon at Autzen in 2007. OSU up to that point felt it could be and was the equal of Oregon. That sadly is no longer the case. This stems from a lack of true leadership and confidence among Riley and BDC. We very rarely get any improvement in areas of fan concern.
Take for instance fans not being happy with only 5000 fans showing up at past Spring scrimmages and wishing it was a real game. You don’t like that? OK, Riley answers by bringing in only an estimated 1700 fans this year. It is just fine and dandy if attendance plunges 300% and don’t ever expect to have a real game. Sure it is as easy as just doing it, but don’t even think of such at Oregon State where lately we relish being small time any way we can. Another prime example is new money being spent to keep our stadium’s west side 30+ years old and maybe lose some seating capacity in the process. That really is how we plan to compete for the next 3 decades against Cal and UW’s gorgeous new stadiums and even WSU’s hefty stadium improvements? Oregon will finish the Autzen bowl to seat 70K within the next 5 years most likely and good ole OSU will be down at 45K with a stadium that half of looks like it is high school.
Thomas Tyner and I have one thing in common. The Sac St. game is the last Beaver game we have watched in person. My dad and I left that game so depressed and disgusted that he will never watch the Beavers again under Riley. I am tempted to do the same and sold the rest of my season tickets last year after that game. Tyner walked out at half time and decided years of him knowing he wanted to be a Beaver were wrong after seeing Riley’s led team in person and knew he would make a much better choice by being a Duck where Kelly actually inspires his team and demands the highest results.
Riley just never does anything to raise the bar or increase excitement in the program. Instead he lets OSU fans shrivel up on the vine. How about a press conference or a AD video by BDC that is something like Arizona’s Greg Byrne’s? We don’t get that because Riley has little personal confidence. Even though fans would respect him more for doing it he refuses to. 6 wins is a high enough watermark we are told. Recruiting has nose-dived so far this year and with so many quality guys already verballed to other Pac-12 schools there won’t be enough to make up for the slow start. Why is Riley so obsessed with slow starts anyway?
One thing that also drives me nuts is people taking Riley’s best effort of a couple Sun Bowls, which isn’t much, and acting like he is going to have just as many OK years at this stage of his career as in his earlier years. The facts just don’t back this up. Ever since his ridiculously long and stupid contract he has taken what appears to look more like an extended vacation on the job. Was Michael Jordan as good at age 37 as he was at 29? No, Riley also is in decline and it is apparent. 18 year old recruits want energized and confident head coaches. These coaches don’t require time to right the ship. They attract high quality athletes that share their vision and drive toward a higher pinnacle of success. It is more like joining an A-team or a party everyone wants to be at. Riley isn’t like that. Increasingly recruits just aren’t very interested.
They honestly just don’t have much in common with Riley who lives like he is in the 30s. When Andy Griffith died many Beaver fans thought when will Mayberry ways pass on in Corvallis? That show was filmed in the 60s but was made to look like it was taking place during the 30s. OSU doesn’t need to get close to 2030 to realize Riley’s dream of Mayberry is for the birds and has no place in relevant college football. That show was admitting it was talking about a long distant era even way back in the 60s. Why the hell does Riley think that is any way to attract recruits who want to be relevant and make the better bowls? Riley even looks a little like Barney Fife.
Everything about this program is a pathetic excuse and a joke right now. There is no effort to get new fans and the truth is we are losing them pretty quickly. Riley is stale and doesn’t want to change or improve anything he does even though in recruiting circles he is now starting to be laughed off by the likes of Washington, Oregon, Stanford, Arizona and even WSU. If it meant getting 6000+ fans at a real Spring Game isn’t that worth it if it helps sell out Reser rather than falling below 42K average attendance in a good schedule year this year and possibly as far down as sub 40K next year if Riley struggles yet again? I am glad Rizzardini is supposedly making some effort to try to get Truax open this fall. Things like that are absolutely essential if fan interest and levels are not to drop off further.
Still, the quickest and best actual fix that will solve OSU’s problems, instead of repeating them every year, is too get new leaders. New branding won’t be new with the same old Riley. He will find some way to mess it up and request too few combos where it won’t be what it could be anyway. That is the Riley way in almost everything he does. BDC has done some OK things but his health truly looks like it is deteriorating and it seems like he should focus on that since it is most important. Some of the facility improvements he helped with, but they are all moving forward and in place so at this point I don’t see much he can do to help OSU in the next several years besides keeping us on the Reser Phase 3 path and not going cheap and putting lipstick on the old West Side.
Riley and BDC will do very well regardless so I don’t see how it is much skin off their back. Riley gets to maybe pocket another 7 million if bought out after this year to add to the 5+ million he already has in the bank. I am pretty sure he will be quite OK and can decide for himself he if wants to retire completely or try an easier gig at a smaller school more appropriate for his actual ability to handle all aspects of a successful program at this stage of his life. The best interests of OSU very soon just simply are not with Riley or BDC. They both are in decline and have not sparked interest among fans to show they want to compete with the best of the Pac-12. OSU shouldn’t have to play second fiddle in everything to Oregon. Just once could we sponsor the Portland NCAA basketball regional so that our fans know we want to also be relevant in this state? BDC’s just always plays it so OSU is an afterthought and no true fan wants to think that way of their school or program. You have to own the state or atleast want to.