Final Thoughts On Facing The Return Of The Purple Reign

Oregon State starts the back to back games against the Washington teams this afternoon in Seattle, taking on the unbeaten and 5th ranked Huskies. With the Cougs coming on strong, this game and next Saturday night’s against Washington State, in the only home game in the next 4, could be the toughest stretch of the season, eclipsing even the back to back against Boise St. and Colorado (and that went oh so well!).

Given the Beavers are going with their third string quarterback in Marcus McMaryion, and with Ryan Nall hobbling, this is a more daunting combination than the Broncos and Buffs were, on balance.

But its where we will find out if there is enough left in the Beavers’ tank to still be in the hunt for some more wins in the suddenly softer November run, against a Stanford team that struggles offensively as much as Oregon State, a UCLA team that seems to be playing to get their coach fired, an Arizona team that has about run out of players, and an Oregon team that has no defense.

As better than 5 touchdown road dogs to the Huskies, a team that the Beavers have been completely uncompetitive against the last 3 trys (and all 3 of those OSU teams were better than this one, while all 3 of those UW teams were no where near as good as the current one), looks like a mis-match, the kind of game opponents always try to schedule for Homecoming, which this week is on Montlake.

And the Huskies are rested and tuned up, while the Beavers are bruised and beat up, after a street fight against Utah.

A competitive for a while outing, and a game played to the end, will indicate progress. If the worst passing offense in the Pac-12 regresses further, and the Huskies run wild, then the last 2 weeks’ successes might really have been more a product of unusual and unrepeatable circumstances.

For the sake of everything Oregon State, but primarily for some good kids who haven’t quit, I’m hoping its the former.

I’m also interested to take a good look, albeit one from the top of Husky Stadium, which is higher than any point on the OSU campus, at just how good the Huskies might be.

A lot of Beaver fans, the newer and younger ones, and all of the players, have never seen what life can be like when the Purple Reign gets rolling. But some of us that saw Don James come and go also saw some Husky teams that made life in the region rough, and made anything Oregon (and Duck fans) have done in the last decade look entirely manageable by comparison.

Washington could be over-stated and over-rated, though with Chris Petersen running the show, I doubt it.

Oregon State could be ripe for collapse, though if Gary Anderson is really eventually going to be the answer, that shouldn’t happen either. Indeed, this is one of those situations where coaching needs to make a difference. A positive one, and a big one. Oregon State appears to have lost everything they had gained relative to Washington, and that’s a regression that can’t be allowed to continue, much less degrade even further.

What’s happened the last 3 weeks in the Pac-12 have in many cases, not been what anyone saw coming, and not just with the Beavers. If that trend continues, there will be more things to see today we’ve not seen lately.

It’s enough to make one actually want to tackle Husky game day traffic, and put up with Washington’s inflated prices, and stupid freezer bag policy, just to see first hand where all this is headed. After all, the biggest upset in conference history did come here, by the Beavers, at the Huskies’ expense.

It’s game day. And as the OSU marching band, who was told not to show up in Seattle, chanted, “Kill The Huskies!”

(Photo by Andy Wooldridge)

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