In the popular 1995 Adam Sandler movie “Billy Madison,” Billy, the title character, is trying to win a sort of academic Olympics against his arch nemesis. One of the events is an oral essay on topics picked by the opponent involving a myriad of subjects. After Billy (Sandler) gives his response to the Industrial Revolution’s effect on modern literature (by equating it to the children’s book “The Happy Puppy.”), the proctor of the event responds:
Principal: Mr. Madison, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.
Billy Madison: OK, a simple “wrong” would’ve done just fine.
That exchange pretty much sums up how I felt on Saturday.
I have two very strict rules for this blog:
- Don’t be a jerk to players because they are working hard to represent your favorite institution.
- Don’t give the bad more weight than the good.
The latter is actually one of my rules for living my life. Despite that, for a myriad of reasons, including survival, we actually do give more weight to negative events than positive ones, and I find that you miss out on some really great things if you do. In most cases, not every part of every team is failing, and the parts that do well don’t deserve to be shamed and painted with the same brush the ones that are struggling do. I also know that football is a game of inches, and in many cases, a missed opportunity early in the game can have a cascade effect on the rest of the game. Just ask the Washington Huskies.
Unfortunately, this week there was literally nothing about the first 2+ quarters that resembled football from the Beavers, and we are all worse off because of it. Now as said above, I do have to call out the good that happened, and the fight they showed in the second half, rather than just rolling over and dying, shows the effect these coaches are having on the team. It reminded me of the attitudes of the 2008 Penn State game and the 2013 Civil War. Games where OSU was down bad early, came back and played hard in the second half. Both of those games they came up short, but the work in the second half got them rolling and confident for the following week, which were both wins.
But I would lose all credibility as a semi-professional blogger if I ignored the fact that the game Saturday could easily have been one coached by Avazanno, Fertig, or Pettibone. (I left out Kragthorpe because I think his teams would have been more competitive.) While the offense did have shades of Pettibone, the defense did not. All around it was a bad game. I would call this one a “flusher*” but to be honest, two “flushers” in a row starts to become the norm, not an anomaly. As a writer of a Beavers Blog, this is distressful for a few reasons. One, I don’t really want to write about how terribly my favorite team is. Secondly, no one wants to read it.
So here we are, looking at a team that appears to potentially be what they were picked to be: the worst team in the conference. They will play Colorado this week at home. it will be in front of an embarrassingly small crowd at a time of day when non-competitive teams play (7 p.m. or later) and will be for the basement of the Pac-12. Does this mean our future is bleak? No, if by future, you mean in two years. This season had no choice but to be this way with all the transition and new faces. Recruiting is already showing that changes will be swift and efficient, so the future will be better — and the coaches we are all frustrated with today will be riding on our shoulders tomorrow. Or at least that is what i believe.
On the other hand, for the 2015 football seasn, it looks that way. Outside of the team doing a rapid 180** degree change in execution; blocking, tackling, running, and passing with efficiency and purpose, then yes. Which is sad, because like us, the ducks will probably get better next year, and it means our chances of ending the streak this year, when it will be our easiest shot since 2006, are slim to none.
I know you come here to see the silver lining. Or to make fun of how naive I am. But EVEN I cannot watch the game this weekend without feeling anything but a little bit of bile building up in my throat. There are still six games left, and they may be rough, but like most of my readers, I will be there cheering and hoping for the best. Unfortunately, having been a Beaver fan for 35 years, I am far too experienced at this sort of thing to be fooled again. Much like the 1980 through 1998 seasons, I know you have to put your big boy pants on and cheer week in and week out for the players who chose to represent your school, and are working their butts off to win. Then, in December, take solace in “Maybe next year…”
I had hoped those days were over. Now I just hope that with this new staff, they are numbered.
Go Beavs! Beat the Buffs! (PRO)
*As I have stated in past articles, a flusher is a game that you almost don’t want to watch the film of, but would rather flush it from your memory and move on. I believe I used the term liberally last week for the Arizona game. This week was worse.
**Good thing my editor Raju caught this mistake. OH WAIT, It wasn’t him. It was one of our awesome readers below. Thank you for picking up Raju’s slack Gus!
(We love Raju here!)