Oregon State may not have a football game today on a beautiful Saturday as most fans had hoped. What we do have though is an opportunity, in perhaps the best non-conference matchup Reser Stadium has ever seen, to put Oregon State back onto the national map. New Mexico bowls don’t do anything for a program, beating a premier team that is likely to be in another BCS Bowl this year does. Oregon State is usually a good home team. They should be able to hang close and have a shot. The difference will be 85 football players and a sold out stadium rallying behind them to achieve something special.
Urban Meyer is one of my most admired coaches. Recently I saw him say it is easy to be average, but that he couldn’t even look at his players because they were practicing average. He said he doesn’t want to have anything to do with mediocrity and that each player has something great in them if they dig deep to find it. He also likes to say that what he needs is 4 to 6 seconds of relentless effort every play. When you play with complete abandon like that it tends to cause the other team to shrink. That is why OSU has to have more attitude when they make plays, get sacks and come up with key stops. Do something contagious and that at the same time ushers in an acceptance of average effort by the opposing team.
OSU is due for a big win. Riley’s record is not very good in the bigger games and especially in September. He also needs to take more pride in non-acceptance of mediocrity. For a man who has seen front and center the actions of Paul “Bear” Bryant, he must realize that Mr. Bryant, like Urban Meyer, would not tolerate only average from himself, his staff or his players. I watched the first half of the UCLA game and part of the 2nd half and was impressed with Mora’s start. The first play was a 70 yard run and they scored another quick touchdown in just a few plays on their next drive. Wheaton and Cooks have the same speed as the guys scoring for UCLA. We simply need to have the downfield blocking and we too should be able to score on big plays.
Oregon State needs to find its pride and passion again. It is good that Trent Bray is an assistant coach because he knew about being violent and playing relentlessly for 4 or 6 seconds on every down. He knew attitude is contagious. Mike Bellotti recently was quoted as saying “It is all about winning on TV in the highlighted games.” Mike Riley has too often shrinked away from this fact of the modern game. He is more the type who some year may go 8-4, but have no big road wins on TV, so the impact nationally is very limited. The Nation doesn’t care much about Vegas Bowls or Hunger Bowls that Riley has built his contract at OSU centrally around.
This upcoming Saturday is a chance to heal the wounds from the last two seasons. Oregon State can rise up to be a national program just as much as many other teams. It all starts with the right attitude, playing lights out like you matter and deserve the attention, and taking advantage of all the opportunities, like this one, that present themselves. Go out there and do it for Sara Jean Underwood for all I care. Just unite as a team and tell yourselves that this one you refuse to lose and then go out and grab your own reality like tough teams do.
It’s good that BDC is looking into options for the postponed game with Nicholls St. I, like many, like the idea of filling the September 15th open date when the weather will still be nice and getting in another important game before UCLA. Whoever will come to Reser is who we should play, be that Eastern Washington, Central Michigan or Idaho St. who all have Sept. 15th open. Why Temple won’t come to Corvallis when they owe us a game is pathetic. I would rather have a game on Dec. 1st then lose a home game, but that should be a last resort. Truth is, OSU needs the revenue generated from a 6th home game. Central Michigan would require a 13th game exception from the NCAA, but Eastern Wa. and Idaho St. each only have 11 game schedules and would have easy travel. OSU should be confident in beating any of these teams at home.
OSU is a special place capable of more than being average. This weekend, let’s find our relentless passion to achieve something that allows our university to be known nationally. Life is too short. Play with hunger, play united and this week let’s absolutely take that field refusing to lose. Make this next Saturday our day. Let’s show the world the Black Bandits of Benton County are back.