I read an interesting thread on Beaver Blitz yesterday about people not wanting to renew their tickets. They cited losses to Eastern Washington and Sacramento State as not just reasons to not buy, but reasons for dismissal of the coaches. They pointed out how what should have been a 9-10 win Beaver team ended up with 7 and how the debacle against Washington made them feel like 1985 again.
Quick disclaimer: I am buying tickets this year My wife and I had planned this prior to my visits to practice, so what I saw made no impact on our initial decision to buy.
That being said, as I think about this question, after what I have seen, I think that I would recommend to people that they buy. Here are a few reasons:
1. Sean Mannion will break every record that Oregon State has this year. As I have said before, I think this season is going to be similar to 2009 where there will be a much shorter passing game to utilize the talents of their tight ends and running backs. I think Mannion is probably the best QB to wear the orange and black, so I think he can match those numbers that Canfield had. But even if he just comes close, here is what it will look like:
Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A TD Int
Sean Canfield 303 446 67.9 3271 7.3 21 7
Add those to Sean Mannion’s career totals and here is what he would look like:
Sean Mannion 1208 1831 66 13707 7.5 89 53
That would give Sean sole possession of first place in the PAC-12 for passing yards by about 1500 yards and would make him 3rd in TD’s thrown. He would have to throw for over 40 TD’s to catch Matt Barkley for first place (116) but as you can see, Sean would own every significant OSU and be in the top three of every significant passing record of the PAC-12.
2. The defense will be better. The loss of Reynolds and Crichton hurts, but the front seven will be the best we have seen in years. Obviously no one has played a down yet, but the really good defenses for OSU have started on the inside, with the defensive tackles. OSU has depth and talent at tackle this year, as well as experience and depth at linebacker, safety and defensive end. Those are the pieces that tend to mean good things for OSU.
3. It is the dawn of the John Garrett era. I am not going to anoint him anything other than far more involved in the team’s development than I anticipated. Will that be enough to turn the tide of the slow starts? Maybe. They are already doing more technique drills, tackling drills and increasing the tempo of practice. All you have to do is see how the players are naturally holding the football when running with it to see the impact that John Garrett has had. Maybe he ends up being the spark that puts OSU over the top. If nothing else, it will be interesting to see how it goes.
4. Seven games are played at home this year, including a winnable Civil War. I want to see OSU play Portland State because I want them to crush someone. I have no ill will towards the Vikings. In fact, I wouldn’t be too sad if the next coach of the Beavers after Riley retires as the current coach of Portland State. But on August 30th, 2014, I want to see them lose by fifty. The Beavers cannot lose to another FCS opponent. Ever. I also want to rematch ASU with a quality defensive line and a whole lot of their pieces being out. My biggest worry on the home schedule, maybe even more than the ducks, is Washington State. Will OSU’s revamped defense and no Scott Crichton be able to put pressure on their super fast passing game. Will OSU be able to move the ball on them? And of course, can OSU break the streak this year against the ducks?
If the Beavers can win out this year at home, and even just manage wins over Hawaii and Colorado, it is a 9 win season and a pretty big step in the right direction. If they can add any other wins, that is gravy. Maybe they can steal one from Stanford who loses their whole defense? Maybe Peterson turns out to suck at the PAC-12 level and OSU avenges the crappy loss last year. Or maybe Sark sucks rocks and the modest losses they had opens the door for OSU to shock the condoms in LA.
OSU has a great chance, they have most of the Pac-12 north at home and if they win those PAC-12 north games, they can go to the conference title game. While I am super ahead of myself, every week, every home game is a step closer to the goals of the team. I remember the excitement of the 2012 season, with each win building hope and excitement.
Ultimately, that is why I am buying my tickets, and nothing I saw this week at practice makes me think I am on a fools errand. When you talk the USC, Stanford, Civil War and Washington type games I have to say I am nervous. Nervous about our receivers, nervous about what offensive line will show up and I am nervous about what changes that OSU will make on offense and defense to keep from repeating the same mistakes of last year. But the above points I have made are the reason i am hopeful.
So to those that don’t want to buy tickets, I say two things:
1. Do what you think is best. If you don’t want to go or just want to send a message that things are not going the way you think they should, then do it. Tickets are a huge expense to pay and are a huge time commitment to go down and watch them lose to Eastern Washington. So I get that sentiment.
2. As a fan from 1980 on up, I will tell you, it really sucked watching the 1998 Civil War from the Fox n’ Firkin. It really sucked checking the score of the 2006 USC game on my phone while I was with my family in Ikea. While there are always bad moments, I only regret missing the good ones. So I have my down payment in and I am going to be there as much as I can.