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Did we pass the WSU karma to Oregon State?
Written by EC Rules   
Saturday, 03 April 2010 09:43

I’m betting most of you aren't freaks like me so you haven't really kept track of what's going on around the Pac-10 as Spring practice is in full swing. In truth, I've only glanced occasionally at what other teams are up to these days. Gone are the days when we were so good that I would watch the activity of our Pac-10 friends because the loss of a tight end at SC or the bum knee of a running back at Oregon could give us the edge on the race for a Pac-10 title or better bowl. I can't wait for those days again.


Nevertheless, I did take notice of what is going on over at Oregon State. They are probably the team I hate the most in the Pac-10 right now. Mostly because they are most similar to us. We recruit head-to-head with them more than anyone. They take players from Washington State while we are down and they develop players the way that Paul Wulff talks about developing players in Pullman. Some say that we should like them because they are similar to us. I don't subscribe to that. College football is a highly competitive field and the teams most like us are the ones taking the players we need to fit our program, taking the TV time slots on Saturday's from us, taking advertising and donor dollars from our budget. Make no mistake, football success is a mutually exclusive endeavor. The failure of our closest competitors increases the likelihood of WSU's success….and it's about time WSU caught some breaks not only in Pullman but in places like Boise and Corvallis. Those teams slipping up just a bit will help us as well along the way to rebuilding the team.


So, how are things looking so far in Corvallis this Spring? Let's take a look:


Honestly, if you replace Washington State with Oregon State in some of the more recent articles about their team it would read eerily similar to what has been going on in Pullman the past two years.


Injuries? Check.

Just this week their starting left tackle went down with a knee injury. Likely out the rest of the Spring. He was a 13 game starter as a freshman last year. They are already missing one starting guard to injury. They lost one starter to graduation so 3/5 of the line is out of commission from last year. Sound familiar?


Inexperience? Check.

They are one of two teams in the Pac-10 replacing their starting QB. Last year, the Beaver QB was first team All Pac-10. This year they are starting fresh for the first time in three years. WSU has been a revolving door at QB the past two seasons so we can definitely relate. Let's hope they have experience the same growing pains that we have had to endure. The top two tacklers on defense are gone as well and being replaced by a guy that is sitting out Spring with a blown Achilles and a group of role players or redshirts. Their secondary and dline will be a strength but linebacker is now down 2/3 of their starters from last year and the replacements come with many question marks.


Bizarre departures? Check.

The OSU defense has lost two starting defenders to really random scenarios. David Pa'aluhi was their starting middle linebacker and was second on the team in tackles last season. He decided to quit and join the military. Starting defensive end Matt LaGrone bolted as well recently. He decided to quit and move back to Reno to be with his wife and two kids. Yeah, two starters gone for the military and to be back home with his wife and two kids. Random.


None of this is to suggest that we have somehow leapfrogged Oregon State over the course of one Spring. When I look at these things I always think of this crazy VP that I used to work with at my company. The guy was mostly a waste of space but he did have one fantastic nugget of knowledge that I still carry around. I was in the midst of launching a product that would drive hundreds of millions of dollars for the company and I was running him through the plans and I articulated a bit of frustration with another group that had been notoriously difficult. He sat back and said with large groups or complex relationships things are never going to be perfect. Instead, you should measure whether things are getting better or worse because in all forms of competition things never stay exactly the same. So, if things are never the same then your situation is either getting better or worse. He said you really need to ask yourself if your situation is improving or regressing because it's surely doing one of those two things. I'd never really thought of things that way and it occurred to me that you can look at all dynamic relationships in the same fashion. 


If I take that statement and look at Oregon State and WSU, it's pretty easy to see that Oregon State's situation seems to be regressing while we are improving. Now, is that combination enough to allow us to catch-up this season? I guess we get to find out this Fall but as a WSU fan it's good to see that not only are we improving but also our competition is stumbling a bit.

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Comments (23)
1 Monday, 05 April 2010 11:32
The Situation
I wasn't too sure about the whole article but I guess it's pretty quiet with WSU athletics so I can understand why you'd get interested in what else is going on elsewhere in the Pac-10 but I really like how you brought it altogether at the end. Taking things in that context really does make any kind of relationship a totally new situation when taking from that view point! Wise words
OSU regressing?
2 Saturday, 10 April 2010 10:47
Jay Vinson
You couldn't possibly be viewing things with crimson-colored glasses, could you? If you think the Beavers are regressing, take a closer look. The left tackle who went down had minor arthroscopic surgery and expects to be full strength before August. The top two playmakers in the league, the Rodgers brothers, are back, as well as seven defensive starters, eight offensive starters, the kicker and the punter. Early pre-season poll has the Beavers at #20 ... the Cougs at ... well, best not go there, huh. The Cougs, by default, have to be improving. Could they have been any worse in 2009? Thank God for Portland State.
Wow, talk about wishful thinking....
3 Saturday, 10 April 2010 12:07
With all due respect, to somehow infer that the Beavs are regressing due to the loss of two defensive starters, the lack of Spring Ball for two OL's and breaking in a new QB, is really, really reaching for a hope or dream that just isn't there. You fail to mention that OSU only lost 12 Seniors to graduation from last year and is returning 70+ players who played meaningful minutes last season. Inexperienced? Hardly. I don't know how much better the Cougs will be this year, but it won't come at the expense of Oregon State.
4 Saturday, 10 April 2010 13:05
While I understand your frustration of losing (we had been there for so long), the talent level between these two programs are astronomical at this point. As mentioned above, the Rodgers Brothers are very, very talented individuals and can carry this team a long ways. Yes, we lose Canfield, but our projected starter (Katz) has been in the system for two years now (this will be his third) and he's taken live snaps in games. All Katz has to do is be average for the Beavs for this team to successfully compete. If the kid is above average, watch out. The unknown factor is injuries in the fall, which can decimate any team.
5 Saturday, 10 April 2010 19:07
Myke Rylee
You are a certified dip$hit.
taking the TV time slots on Saturday's from us
6 Saturday, 10 April 2010 20:25
NW guy
It's comments like these that really blow your mind. FSN is what we got, and they do a pretty awful job. Toss in a few ABC/ESPN games, but you gotta win a few to get there. What we all need is a Pac 10 tv network so that all games are on every single week.
Wishing ill on others to make yourself feel better? Pathetic.
7 Sunday, 11 April 2010 10:08
Karma's a bitch, isn't it? Mike Price delighted in pouring it on when the Beavers were awful (a favor OSU has never returned, mind you) and you're hating it now that things have turned. So you term "bizarre" the decisions by one player to rejoin his wife and child and another to defend our country? Well, your right to publish stupidity is among the freedom's he'll defend. So, you're welcome.
I was wondering
8 Sunday, 11 April 2010 10:48
EC Rules
.....when Beaver fanboys were going to find this article and start spewing silliness. I love the apparently prevailing belief among Beaver fan is that they won't take a step back from last year. They won eight games last year. This year they are replacing an All Pac-10 QB, their top two tacklers, and they play on the road at TCU and Boise State. Then they get Louisville at home. Yet, that is apparently the recipe for nine wins next season. Then you add in the fact that they've had two starters leave in bizarre fashion....yes, bizarre....because it's not typical for a college football player to have a wife and two kids in a different city and opt to give up school/football to move back to them. It's not typical for a college player to opt for the military over a full-ride football scholarship. Don't try to paint this as some sort of family or military thing. It's simply unusual attrition. Even a person with basic reading comprehension understood that. Then you add in unfortunate injuries that are keeping key linemen out of Spring practice and you start to see an accumulation of things and none are really positive. The point of the article wasn't to state that WSU had somehow magically passed the Beavers. It was simply meant to hit on the fact that WSU needs to catch breaks within our program (progression) and catch breaks with our competitors (regression). Addressing the comment on TV. Think about it for a second.....please. Yes, Oregon State takes TV time slots. We have a crappy deal that doesn't put all Pac-10 games on TV. So, the nature of Oregon State being good makes it far more likely that they will be pulled for TV before us. Again, read the paragraph. It's illustrating why you are our nearest competitor and why you're success siphons it away from us in many instances. It's not rocket science. I get why this article would annoy a Beaver fanboy.....more often than not the truth hurts the most.
9 Sunday, 11 April 2010 11:07
My impression of your column was that it wasn't so much about Karma as it was about green eyed jealousy and envy of how the Beavs have had success in the last decade and the Cougs haven't. I suggest you would be better trying to fire up your fan base than attempt to see how many Beavers would respond to your screed. As for all the reasons why the Beavs can't possibly win 8 or 9 games this season you left out one big one. That is our propensity to start the season slowly and not round into Shape until November. But you know what, we still won 8 games and were playing for the trip to the Rose Bowl anyway in the last game of the regular season. Son of a gun. Oh yeah, one other suggestion I would make that may help you gain a larger and more generous donor fan base and win more games is to improve your stadium. It worked for us.
10 Sunday, 11 April 2010 11:21
The whole article was about the need for both firing up our fanbase while having a program like OSU regress to the mean. Doesn't seem like a difficult concept to grasp or that controversial really.
Watch out for this kid
11 Sunday, 11 April 2010 12:13
Peter Lalich QB from Virginia and a UVA transfer, he had some legal trouble at UVA but the kid can sling the football. He was an elite 11 QB can has the size and arm to be a real stud, while katz is the front runner for the QB job if lalich ever gets a chance i doubt Katz gets his job back. I'm a East Coast guy and have seen him in person and the kid has the skills, if he keeps his head on he could be the best QB in the Pac-10 period, and yes even better then Locker and Barkely just watch and see.
Maybe a Stretch EC
12 Sunday, 11 April 2010 12:46
Lake Oswego Coug
Living in the world of webbed feet and flat tails, I often get subjected to more information than I really want on the two Oregon programs. I do expect significant improvement from the Cougs this year, but I'm not sure if we will see three wins. It's that time of the year and hope springs eternal. I am personally more encouraged by the Moos hire than almost anything currently going on with the football team. He may be able to spark the donor base and get the next phase of the stadium upgrade done as bobm suggests. He did well at UO. Where I disagree with you EC is that from down here, I don't see OSU taking much of a step back. Maybe in win loss record, because they have a tougher non conference schedule, but not in ability. Riley does a wonderful job at evaluating talent, and it looks to me like the young guys they have coming in are far better than what he has had to work with in the past. The team speed on defense looks to be much improved. I could see Oregon taking a step back this year with the mess that place has become. That program is like a leaning tower with a bad foundation. Just wonder if it's a matter of time the whole thing tips over. Duck QB loss is far greater than the Beav QB loss in my mind. Anyway, go Cougs, and as a current resident of Oregon I can muster up a go Beavs too. Unlike you EC I will pull for OSU when they are not playing us. Although I understand your theory about them slipping being good for us, I don't totally agree with it. I don't think OSU would be as good as they are now, if Oregon hadn't improved. We are far better served doing what it takes to improve on our own rather than worry about what anyone else is doing. Another angle is if OSU and WSU both had been down the past ten years, instead of Pac10 expansion talk, we would be hearing a lot of replace OSU and WSU with fill in the blank talk. When we have some degree of football strength in the Northwest (even if it's in Oregon) the SC's and UCLA's can't complain too much about making the trip up here to pound on us for little financial incentive.
Now this is good....
13 Sunday, 11 April 2010 21:56
EC Rules
....thanks LO Coug. You're offering up the very reasonable counter argument regarding competition. The rising tide of competition lifts all boats school of thought versus you're failure will likely lead to my success school of thought. Both are very valid lines of thinking and plenty of examples exist to support both. You cite the Oregon schools which is great. I could cite any of the dominant mid-major's (Gonzaga/Boise State) that have elevated themselves. I will just say this. You would be very hard pressed in to go back through the entire history of the Pac-10 and find a scenario where all four Northwest schools are achieving at a high level at the same time. Part of it is market dynamics and the fact that the odds are slim given the competition from the southern Pac-10 schools.....but just as big is the fact that we have the most distributed population base to split up among four schools and the weaker recruiting base in comparison to California and Arizona. In other words, I agree that competition is good. We just aren't competitive quite yet and the large majority of change in that has to come from us.....but it doesn't hurt to have a little bit come from our foes.
Angry Beavers Relax!
14 Monday, 12 April 2010 06:31
First off, this is a COUG site so our view is of course looking through crimson-colored glasses. If you want Beavie-love then go to your own site. That would be great. EC Rules, your article was logical and well-written. And I would add that Mike Riley has fast moved up to one of my most hated coaches in the Pac-10 along with Teford. Both are known to be grade-A poachers, specifically of Coug talent. In general, I subscribe to the "rising tide helps all" in life, football, etc. But with OSU I also believe that them regressing helps the Cougs out since the Cougs recruit similar players. As for the Beavie have had a nice little run and will have a solid year upcoming. Just not to what you are expecting due to losses on your end and a tougher schedule overall. Accept the logic and move along.
Hatin' Mike Riley????
15 Monday, 12 April 2010 08:10
Dave in Portland
Iceman, really you hate Riley? Why? Cause he is probably the best coach in the league? Because he develops talent and recruits good players? Here is a piece of advice, your team would be better if 1/2 of them were not on parole. Seems like sour grapes, Riley is a great coach and a tough competitor, but really has never done anything to give offense to WSU. If you are talking about a late TD between 2 second stringers, (one a walk-on) get a life. I see another 8 win season for the Beavs, feel free to disagree, I will however put a big W after the WSU game, IN INK. Honestly I haven't seen such a inept team as WSU 09' since the 1980's in Corvallis. The Cougs were embarrassing and pathetic to watch.
Not concernced about the Beavers
16 Monday, 12 April 2010 10:44
Having been exposed to far to much info about the Beavers than I care to ingest I'll simply say your theory doesn't hold water based on recent history. You're claim is, due to some key losses the Beavers will go backwards. Fortunately for the Beavs and unfortunately for the Cougs the Beavers have suffered larger attrition rates the past 3-4 seasons and managed quite well. Losing a starting DE and MLB is a set back no doubt about it, but it's not out of the realm of business as usual for Mike Riley and I would be surprised if the Beavers don't put together one of the top defenses in the conference this year. The other losses you mention don't even look to be losses by season start. Minor injuries that should be healed in fall camp. I'll give you replacing the starting QB is somewhat of a wild card and until a some games are under the belt we can't really say how that will go. Luck(Stanford) and Foles (sp Arizona) showed last year a rookie can get the job done in the PAC-10 given the proper supporting cast. Katz or Lalich will have some impressive supporting cast members come next fall. WR James Rodgers, RB Jacquizz Rodgers, TE Joe Halahuni, and Wheaton, Bishop, Nichols, and ?, sharing time at the other receive positions. The O-line was green last year, this year they've got some experience, improved skills, increased weight and strength and the injuries should all be healed by kickoff. I hope the Cougs find success this year, but I wouldn't hold my breath expecting the Beavers under Mike Riley to regress one bit at all.
Misery seeks company.
17 Monday, 12 April 2010 16:11
EC, you keep saying the Beavers are your "nearest competition." Assuming you don't mean that geographically, how do you figure? The Beavers have won 8,9, 10 games the last several seasons and haven't had a losing season since, what, 2005? And prior to that, you'd have to go back to 2001. In recent years, OSU has had the second most-successful in-conference record, second only to USC. What, is it the land-grant thing? The fact that we both have an insufferable in-state rival? Your closests competition is UW. Geographically and athletically. The Washington Schools in this millennium have been what the Oregon schools were in the 1980's: the next best thing to a bye. The overtime Apple Cup that sent the dawgs to an 0-12 season was this decade's equivalent of the 1983 "Toilet Bowl" Civil War, which ended in a 0-0 tie. And the bad news is, they're coming back. Fast. After UW? Maybe Arizona? But what was the score when you played them last year? Another 50-point blow-out? Those shellackings should tell you something. Your Cougars aren't even beginning to be competitive. You have a MAJOR talent gap. You're not in the same zip code as "the corner," much less turning it. The athletes you DO have seem to save their best fight for Fraternity Row. Look, I know what it's like when your team is so far down, the gutter is a step up. But really, your "article," is like celebrating a touchdown when you're down 55-7 (something a coug would know). Misery seeks company, I get that. You'd like to think that someone, somewhere is as bad as your Cougars. Your closest rival? You recently hired their head coach. How's that workin' for ya?
Easy Jaydub
18 Monday, 12 April 2010 17:48
"The Washington Schools in this millennium have been what the Oregon schools were in the 1980's: the next best thing to a bye." Let's not forget the 2001, 2002, and 2003 WSU teams that each finished in the top 10 in the country (something OSU has never done in 3 consecutive years), went to a Rose Bowl, and beat number 5 Texas in the Holiday Bowl. I don't like living in the past and there is no doubt that the last 2 years have been horrific for the Cougs. But a blanket statement like yours is patently false. On that note, I haven't read a single thing from anyone, including EC, that says OSU is our closest competition. All he said is, "The failure of our closest competitors increases the likelihood of WSU's success…" in the context of any team in the region. I think he just chose to analyze what's going on at OSU because the Beavs are similar to WSU in terms of being a land grant school, in a small town, without huge financial resources like our in state rivals. No one is claiming that the Cougs are as good as the Beavs at this time, simply that there are some questions marks in Corvallis that could be beneficial to WSU. Nothing more, nothing less. If you read the article, there isn't much celebrating going on. It's just observation. You're beginning to sound like the Oregon fan that I presume we both dislike that has such an inflated view of their program that they feel like they should be in the National Championship conversation every year. You probably don't want to do that.
19 Monday, 12 April 2010 19:43
But really, when a Cougar fan roots for the rest of the conference to come down to their level so it will be easier for them to close the gap, that's pretty short-sighted, isn't it? Right now, the best thing the Cougs have going for them is that they play in a premier conference. If the Pac-10 is diminished, how is that good for the Cougars? It's the easy way, but not the right way, to improve in the conference. The better way? It starts with the right coach. The next step is a major commitment from fans. They need to write checks. Finally it takes time. It's a thin line between 4-7 and 7-4, but it takes patience from fans and maturity on the roster to make the difference. Arizona did it. OSU did it. Cal did it. UW is doing it. And all of them did it without reducing themselves to hoping that the conference would come DOWN to their level.
Instead of rooting for the competition to come down...
20 Monday, 12 April 2010 19:53
Why not root for the Cougars to come up in a strong conference? Every team has its ups and downs, however rooting for another's failure is the cheap and easy way. Unless, of course, it's Oregon. Lots of teams have come back from oblivion, OSU probably the most prominent among them. Northwestern. Kansas State. Arizona. Cal. UW is doing so as we speak. The common ingredients were the right coach, a commitment from the University, raising the giving expectations among fans and patience. Perhaps rather than "hating" OSU, Wazzu should look at what has happened there as a template for how to rebuild things in Pullman. While it can be argued that the Cougs are as bad as OSU ever was, the Beavers essentially lost an entire generation but managed to come back. It takes time and hard work. Rooting for a lower bar or a weaker competitor is the chicken-sh1t way to go.
It bears repeating.... Apparently.
21 Monday, 12 April 2010 19:55
Sorry for the double post.
You can root for all facets
22 Monday, 12 April 2010 21:21
Including OSU losing players and getting pulled back to the pack. The Cougs have no where to go but up...obviously. So why not root for other schools to be worse? If you don't think the same thing then you are playing to the crowds with your answer. Be honest. Your Beavies were atrocious in the 90's....29 wins. That incudes Riley for two years and the first year of Erickson. The Cougs in that same time frame....50 wins. Now for the 2000's....Beavs, 80 wins. Cougs, 57. My point? All this is cyclical and it will all turn around. But don't think for a moment that when the Cougs are back I will be jumping on a Beavie board talking smack about the lack of compeition and such. Just simmer down and go back to enjoying your nice little football run. Because it will turn fast.
One thing
23 Friday, 16 April 2010 12:49
beavs will keep dominating
One thing the beavs have that the cougs dont, talent. Oh and depth. Yes we lost some guys to odd departures, yet we have guys who are capable of playing. and the injury to philipp, yeah its not that serious, they are just sitting him for the spring as a precaution. Have fun while you guys win 1 maybe 2 games. While we make another attempt for the rose bowl

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