Last year’s San Diego State game was an exciting barn burner of a game that was decided on a late interception by Steven Nelson he returned 16 yards for a touchdown. This was a game where Sean Mannion threw for 40 more yards than San Diego State had as a team. Yet it was close because of some mistakes that lead to big plays for San Diego. Gone from San Diego is the speedster Hackett to graduation and Muema who apparently has lost his mind.
Last year’s game was down in San Diego and honestly, it was a tough game against a tough defense and Oregon State got a whopping ten rushing yards. It was just a rough outing, but the Beavers got the win. This year the Aztecs have to come to Reser and I am hoping that they have a much harder time moving the ball and a much harder time stopping the run.
Parqamount to me is that in a perfect scenario, this is a 2-0 Beaver team hosting a whatever and whatever Aztec squad in a packed Reser. It may not be supreme excitement with two wins over teams that they should beat, but look at last year. The loss to Eastern Washington followed by a solid but not spectacular win over Hawaii and the narrow victories over San Diego and Utah did not build much excitement in Beaver Nation. In fact, it wasn’t until they got to six wins that fans started to hope that they might turn things around and make a serious run at the title.
Then they lost five straight.
I am not trying to be negative, but the biggest factor in all of sports is momentum. It is not just for the team but for the fans too. Any loss in the first three games of the 2014 season will cause fans to re-live the horrors of the past and taint the 2014 campaign. There is a lot of pressure on this year’s Beavers to continue to put 2010 and 2011 in the rear view mirror as well as show that last year was not a march backwards but a blip on the way upwards. With game four being USC in southern California, the Beavers need to be their full “High Yah!” selves early on so they can roll into LA with three wins and the same momentum that they rolled into UCLA with two years ago. Or Arizona.
The one thing that OSU has done in the last decade is win the games you think they have no chance at. The worse Vegas thinks the Beavers will do, the closer the game is. If USC starts out hot early, there is a good chance that OSU will be given no chance to win. Those are the games they do the best in. Where they get hung up is the games between. Those are the hardest for any team to win. There are countless teams that follow huge wins with huge let downs. Oregon State is not immune to this. So this year, my wish is for a strong start, a 3-0 start that is not just win any way you can, but solid, disciplined and convincing wins.
There are issues at Oregon State outside of the world of football that make a lot of die hard fans worried about the future. Positivity is not a hot commodity in Beaver Nation right now. Three wins, three convincing wins can turn that around a bit. Four wins and you have something special brewing, but that is for another post. Right now I just want to savor these three imaginary wins until this group of Beaver players and coaches make them a reality.