As Oregon State quitely goes through the first of two bye weeks, and the first week of classes on the Corvallis campus, the silence has been significant.
Other than the news at the beginning of the week that quarterback Jake Luton will not only be ok, he might even be back later in the season, there’s been no news. After the Beavers’ atrocious 1-3 start that’s that good only through sheer luck, and after 3 massive blowouts, a bye week is the time one might expect to see something changed, as there is extra time to actually work on whatever changes are made to something that flat isn’t working.
Not that there are all that many options for a college football team; you can’t pick up players off the waiver wire.
But a program wallowing along at a 4-21 clip against FBS competition since the arrival of head coach Gary Andersen, and doing it with ever fewer paying customers watching, you would think would not only try something different, they would make sure everyone knows about it.
Perhaps the plan is to ride this disaster through the next 3 games, and then use the second bye break to take some action.
Why I can’t imagine, given that in all likelihood it that record against FBS teams will be 4-24, even though 2 of the 3 games will be at Reser.
The most interesting game of the coming weekend will be the rematch in Boulder of last year’s Pac-12 Championship game between Washington and Colorado, both of whom are undefeated at this point. The Huskies and Buffs also happen to be the next 2 teams that come into Reser.
Ordinarily, the chance to scout a game between 2 upcoming opponents would be a chance to identify where your team has a chance to take an advantage, possibly a game winning one. At this point, its probably only useful to bettors trying to discern if Oregon State has any chance to cover the spread.
And that spread will be spacious next week against Washington. However, its hard to see how it won’t be big enough, given the run of blowouts the Beavers have suffered to the Huskies the last 4 years, and the fact that not only is this year’s Washington team likely at least as good if not better than last year’s National Championship playoff team, and clearly better than the ones previous, this may be the worst Oregon State team during the run, especially now that the offense is without its quarterback, complimenting in all the wrong ways the depleted turnstile of a defense.
There are more question marks about the Buffs, though maybe not about their defense, which was supposed to be the most questionable area of the Colorado team after substantial graduation losses. But the Beavers, who were much healthier at the time, were trampled by the Buffs last year. It was one of the worse matchups of the season for Oregon State, and all signs so far suggest the same problems will occur again.
And forget about the middle game of the next 3; its a road game, which Andersen has only managed to be even competitive in once with Oregon State, and its in the LA Coliseum, where the Beavers haven’t won since 1960.
I didn’t expect anything like what broke today, where Nebraska fired AD Shawn Eichorst specifically because of failures to win at football and basketball, something the Husker investors find less tolerable than the locals.
But some evidence of acknowledgement of the problems, and some move, be it a shuffling of assistant coaching assignments or a defensive scheme change, would at least signal to a shrinking Oregon State customer and investor base that the fact that all is not well is not only understood, its also understood that something has to change.
And please, lets don’t have another return of Mike Riley after his departure from Nebraska that seems to be only a matter of time, which has already been mentioned multiple times, be that change!
The area narrative is that Oregon State can’t afford to buy out Andersen. But the combination of bad football and the unwillingness or inability to do anything about it is costing the program a 7 figure sum each home game (note the empty seats above, in good weather in a day game the Beavers were winning) vs. what a competent and competitive program would produce.
We’ll see what a quality team from not far away does for attendance, but a night game that’s likely to be effectively be over by halftime isn’t likely to hold many of whatever the turnout is.
And the longer it is before we see evidence of change, the longer it will be before any progress on the modernization of the old side of the stadium can even be considered. And that’s got to get done before anything can be done about a replacement for out-moded Gill Coliseum. And the longer these projects are on hold, the more money the program will never see. Which prolongs all the departments problems.
Some semblance of a sense of urgency would seem to have been in order.
(Photo by Andy Wooldridge)