As The Official Candy Report ramps back up after the Christmas break, the first thing we need to look at is that DAMN FINE bowl game!
Bowl games are a unique beast when it comes to the college football season in one very specific and important way — they have no bearing on the rest of your season.
Bowl games are the last game. They are either in exotic, semi-exotic or downright lame places. They are surrounded by dinners, events, pageantry, and in most cases, only have one objective: Winning.
No matter how you play, or how close the game is, or how that team stacked up against its opponent is irrelevant. You have played all your games and you won or lost them. So the bowl game is about coming out of it with a win, and that is just what Oregon State did.
They started fast, with Rashaad Reynolds practically single-handedly sealing the game with more fumble returns for a touchdown than OSU has had in the last decade combined. The offense did what it needed to do, move the ball, scored when it could, and gave the defense time to rest up. Both sides of the line dominated against Boise State, and the running backs continued to run really well.
In fact, I am not sure if it is just the line getting better and creating bigger holes or what, but it appeared that the running backs were hitting the holes faster and with more authority. Ward and Woods both seemed to get going quicker and were able to gain some tough yards to turn what was normally a 2nd and 8 this year into a 2nd and 6. Those two or three extra yards are so important to an offense and to staying balanced. While 70-yard scampers are awesome, being able to extend drives against some of the more up-tempo teams is very important to helping keep your defense rested.
In my mind, there is no real nitpicking on the Beavers’ bowl game performance. Yeah, it is always fun to drop 40+ on opponents, but when you are playing Christmas Eve in the last game of the season in Hawaii, I would’ve taken a sloppy 1-point win. The other 14 points OSU had as a buffer were just gravy. Lots of players got to play, and lots of new names were making waves, such as Joshwa James and Larry Scott.
To me, every game points to the future. This is the first win OSU has closed out a season with since 2007. It evens the series with Boise State. More importantly, it feels like the level of separation between the programs after BSU crushed OSU in Boise in 2005 has decreased. This win was a good one for the future of Beaver football. It happened in an area that OSU likes to recruit, in a place where there were active recruits we were pursuing and gives the coaches something positive to talk about during the final stretch of the recruiting marathon.
No matter what happens with players looking at the NFL, I think OSU has shown fans reasons to be optimistic for next season. All I want to see is OSU close out the recruiting season with a big name offensive tackle and a fast receiver. Then I want to see an all-out effort to beat Portland State week one of next year. Starting out 3-0 and beating FCS opponents is the best way to start a season.