02.Dec.2009 War for the Roses

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Now that we’ve covered the numbers, let’s discuss reality: the unexpected happens.

I remember growing up a New York Met fan. It was 1988. The Mets had won 15 straight against the Dodgers during the regular season. Then came the NL playoffs. Needless to reminisce (it still hurts), the Dodgers handled the Mets easily and eliminated them from the playoffs. How? Orel Hershiser. One man took over the game, the series, and the season.What’s the point of this anecdote? Fans and media alike enjoy predictions. If the prediction is right, it makes the prognosticator feel special, superior, important. I do it sometimes to arrouse discussion. Predictions are based on numbers, “what if” scenarios, and what “should” happen, but what should happen rarely does. Not just in sports. Look around.

  • My gut tells me the Oregon Ducks should win 38-17.
  • My gut tells me Chip Kelly is another in a lineage of alpha-male-uber-aggressive-coach-on-steroids that seems to be riddling the pac-10, which means the Beavers won’t have to stop the Ducks for 3 downs, but many times for 4.
  • My gut tells me Canfield isn’t ready for this stage and will throw at least one heart-breaking interception.
  • My gut thinks the Duck’s confidence is founded in talent, and the belief that their scheme can’t be stopped is a belief that makes them doubly dangerous.

The funny thing is my gut told me the same things about the New York Mets in 1988.

And for the life of me I can’t shake this clandestine yet burgeoning feeling that a magical, historical script is in the process of being written, and the penultimate (the Civil War) in this particular story is more important than the prize (Rose Bowl). That’s what makes this story fascinating. It simply can’t be a blowout; legendary scripts don’t end that way.

Now, let me relay another anecdote: one of my best friends, let’s call him “Brady”, has practically never lost at basketball despite being a mere 5’8. If you had never seen him play, you’d pick him last to join your squad, and even if you witnessed his game, you’d see his short, stocky frame and simply assume he was losing until the bell tolled and he was left smiling. Brady had some talent–he was a deadly outside shooter-but mostly he won with heart. He simply wanted it more than you did; he took advantage of every opportunity presented to him; and in the end, the sum of those parts raised him above his natural ability. How? By refining every part of his game, from the mental to the physical to intangibles like his competitive desire.

As far as Thursday night, I don’t know what’s going to happen. My gut says 38-17, Ducks. But my heart says this Beaver team has a little bit of Brady in them. As fans, we can only hope to have a fair shot and let our players decide the outcome. We cross our collective fingers that there are no injuries, good officiating, fair bounces, and good sportsmanship. And in the end we can only hope that on this aforementioned (somewhat utopian) level playing field, the team that combines talent with heart wins the game. If that happens, something will smell rotten in the state of Pewgene.

The pick: pick ’em.

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  • JackBeav says:
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    I get a pick’em too.

    Here are some more numbers:

    OSU and UO are almost identical in red zone efficiency. We have 37 TD’s–19/18 run/pass–and 11 FG’s in 50 drives. They have 34 TD’s–27/7–and 10 FG’s in 46.

    We have scored 6 TD’s–4/2–and 7 FG’s from outside the red zone. They have scored 14 TD’s–5/9–and 4 FG’s from outside the zone. They’ve also scored 5 TD’s on ST/D–Purdue (2), Utah and UCLA (2).

    We have allowed 26 TD’s–12/14–and 3 FG’s in 33 red zone defenses. Not a great average, but not terrible considering the total amount.

    They have allowed 24 TD’s–14/10–and 6 FG’s in 40 defenses. That’s nine less points in seven more drives. Of their 10 red zone stops, UCLA was stopped twice on downs, USC was picked to end the game, UW threw an INT, Utah mismanaged the clock in the first half, four were missed FG’s and the biggie was UA’s fumble into the end zone.

    We have alowed one ST TD, and they’ve given up two defensive scores. We have also held our opponents to 100 less offensive plays over the course of the season (about 800 to 700).

    What does all this tell us? Well, it says that UO relies heavily on the big play. We know they can take what’s given and score on a solid drive like they did against Arizona at the end of the game. But they choose not to in favor of hitting home runs, and the Beavs have given up a couple. But the Beavs hold the opposition to punts more often than does UO… by an average of one per game. We also punt once less per game, and only 8 of our 44 punts have an attempted return attached (vs. 28 of their 56). We average .73 turnovers per game to their 1.73. And we both average just over 7 penalties a game, but they average 8 yards more per game.

    So, in the end it just depends. We make less mistakes than do they, and we have to continue on that path. We make more sustained drives against a defense who allows a lot of sustained drives. This means we will be in Duck territory all day against a defense who is less opportune in the red zone than they are lucky to be playing against mistake ridden offenses–or desperate in a couple cases.

    They play the percentages against a defense who occasionally breaks down. But they make mistakes and they take chances, which should lead to less scoring possessions than their defense will give up. And their punting game is ready to give up a big play or two. If they can get to the red zone, they can probably score. They can probably score another from a distance.

    It comes down to whether we take FG’s instead of TD’s with the opportunities we’ll be given. If we score TD’s we blow them out. If we kick FG’s we need a ST or defensive TD to win.

    My gut tells me the game tracks identical to the game at USC. We trade scores, but our FG’s and their TD’s in the first half are the difference. Hope tells me something magical happens like a PR or a pick-six to win the game, but that’s hope for you.

    My head tells me that we smack them early and often. 17-0 to end the 1st… 27-16 at half… 41-19 at 3… and 44-33 to end the game.

    After all, I’m a Dodgers fan, and I could see their ’88 post-season run coming.:)

  • OS_Beaver says:
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    Vote Quizz for Heisman:
    http://promo.espn.go.com/espn/contests/theheismanvote/2009/

    (Type Jacquizz Rodgers in the empty box)

  • Diggs says:
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    Nice writeup Angry. This last post was a fun one to read in my opinion, and not just because there was some beaver positives in there, good read, good read. To be honest I can’t read any more stats, numbers, comparisons or much else. I’m fried, nervous, anxious, and probably a little blood-thirsty. With the Duck fans I am surrounded by at work for 8 hours a day, handing out full bouquets of roses, I am ready for Thursday to get here already!

    May we soon drink in delight, and not for any other reason.

    Go Beavs.

    • angrybeaver says:
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      Thanks.

      I’m with you.

      I’m not only burnt out on numbers, but all the rehashed quotes floating around in the media as well. How many times can you read Chip Kelly saying he treats every game like the Super Bowl. Barf.

  • angrybeaver says:
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    Riley was on Colin Cowherd this morning, by the way:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espnradio/player?id=4704067

  • Quatre says:
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    Good stuff as usual, but I’ve got the Ducks by 12.

  • JackBeav says:
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    I’ve heard enough about the lack of a ‘power’ running game presented by the Beavs. I’ve lived down here in Duck country for years, and this is the first year since Jackson that I can confidently say that our RB can run over their defensive line. I couldn’t even say it then, since I knew what kind of a QB DA was, and I knew they would key on SJ.

    I want badly to see Quizz run one off left tackle and put Rowe on his butt on his way to the end zone.

    • angrybeaver says:
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      I read that as “put a rose in his butt”

      Not sure where my mind is…

      • Diggs says:
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        lol. Well as long as Quizz is runnin’ into the end zone, I say, shove those roses where the sun don’t shine!

      • Beavgirl says:
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        haha i read it that way too. where’s freud when we need him

  • paulscpa says:
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    You know we are not talking enough about the Beavers running game in this. The ducks have the best rushing offense in the conference so their own defense does not have to face their offense. Also, they blow most teams out so many times they face a large number of rushes in a game. So how is it that their rush defense is only number 5 in the conference. You would think it should be in the top two. I really think they may be soft in their and we can beat them at their own game. Remember a few years back when we beat Cal in Berkely where Yvenson Bernards basically took the game over at the beginning of the second half. I can see Quizz doing that in the second quarter and that making all of our other “stuff” more successful. The first quarter will be very vanilla I think from the offensive end to try and let the kids settle in to the situation. But the second quarter may be where Riley lets the Quizz show take hold.

    • paulscpa says:
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      Sorry, I meant to say the ducks defense does “not” face a large number of rushes in a game.

    • angrybeaver says:
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      I think the Beavers rushing attack vs the Ducks run D is a wildcard in this game. The Ducks have yet to face Quiz so there’s no history to even take a guess. Also, James Rodgers acts a bit like a Masoli for us. Granted, we don’t have a QB who runs for 70 yards, but we do have a WR who could. People seem to forget about that. It’s why after a lot of thought I put this game as a pick ’em.

  • Beavker Beavker says:
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    There’s a lot to think about, but I’m hopeful. They may be underdogs, but that’s why they play the game. Hopefully they substantiate that saying Thursday night, and again on Jan 1st in the Grand Daddy of them all!

  • JackBeav says:
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    Off topic…

    Did I read a previous entry in which you were critical of OSU as an academic institution due to a wholly subjective–and now we know payola–US News & World Report ranking?

    I’ve looked at the studies available, and I see that OSU is as highly regarded a public research university as can be. We rank in the top ten worldwide when considering science research, and our programs in conservation biology, nuclear, chemical or environmental engineering, chemistry, forestry, oceanography (graduate), teaching, kinesiology, pharmacy, zoology, botany and agricultural economics are among the most prestigious degrees offered anywhere.

    All these statistics were compiled through peer review studies other than the one used by USN&WR. And now that we know that their peer review structure makes the BCS look like the most unbiased not for profit organization ever constructed, we can go back to those silly Carnegie rankings and worldwide peer recognitions to rank our school.

    There are other degrees which at one time were as prestigious but fell to the wayside with lack of funding. Veterinary sciences comes to mind, but I think a recent upgrade to those facilities will once again bring that program back to national recognition.

    Granted, an education is only what an individual makes of it, and if one wants a liberal arts or soft science education, then they can probably find another institution which also has a nationally recognized library–or just a book store nearby.

    Third tier my ass!

    • angrybeaver says:
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      I’m not sure why you’re bringing that up in this post instead of here:

      http://angrybeavers.wordpress.com/category/academics/

      There’s a search function on the side of the blog that allows you to search by topic. “Academics” is one of them. I did cover all the points you bring up.

    • Kenny says:
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      Well said! I’m sick and tired of being told (by Duck fans, no less) that my Oregon State education is 2nd rate. First of all, all schools in the Pac10, Oregon included, present a great mix of academic and athletic situations. No other major conference in the country has as highly regarded public institutions as the Pac10. UCLA, Cal, and UW are all regarded as top level universities. Oregon State and Washingon State are scientifically as good as any. A lot of the rankings go into how much money is poured into the program and the number of students in said program. To me, education speaks for itself when the graduates go on and make something of themselves.

      Oregon State has the perfect mix or education, athletics, party, college town atmosphere. In my opinion, its the perfect place to get your all around LIFE degree. At schools like Cal, the students spend so much time studying they rarely have time for themselves. I have had some of the best times of my life at Oregon State, and am completely saddened that it is coming to end in a couple of months. But no doubt will I be as prepared as I possibly could have been for the real world.

      To quote Toby Keith- Here’s to the nights I’ll never remember, with friends I’ll never forget

      • JackBeav says:
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        Please note that I am not putting down any other school in praising my own. Those who do so are most likely in need of an education and least likely to get one because of their biases. The data alluded to in my post below only speaks to the football programs at those schools and nothing else.

    • JackBeav says:
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      Good to know. I thought you had written something, and I was looking for a distraction so as to not chew off my fingernails before tomorrow night. Yours is definitely not the blog entry that ticked me off. To the contrary, you do address many of the same issues. I would contend any ranking that has us below third in the conference when it comes to scientific education, and I realize that you are only pointing to research subsidies as a gauge. You are also correct to point out that being lower is not a slight by any means considering the Pac 10. But you also point to another problem… perception.

      I’m interested to know what intelligence a recruit uses when his or her only source would be one of subjective advertising. I certainly don’t begrudge anyone who wishes to attend Stanford, Cal or Notre Dame for what they offer in terms of possibilities for combined athletic and academic achievement. And, as I’ve said, education is a burden borne of the individual. But it seems unlikely that any football recruit who wishes to attend Cal, USC, Oregon and especially Arizona have any real eye toward academics. I make an exception for half of Cal’s recruits since half eventually do graduate.

      I found it laughable that Notre Dame would pride themselves in their graduation rate among football players then turn around and consult Bob Stoops for anything. His record is worse than his brother’s record. And I say worse because Mike has at least brought his school’s rate up to be equal to Bob’s–not a great feat… not even good.

      So where do we go from here? There are intelligent recruits who do see the care an institution such as Stanford or Notre Dame have for their scholar athletes, and they rightly choose those schools over all others. We’re not there yet, but we’re a lot closer than we were even five years ago. I think the consistent push to give these scholar athletes the best chance at a successful post-education life does the most to increase the school’s perception as a quality institution.

      Frankly, I don’t know how someone can get a full ride to college and not graduate. Other than the ethical dilemma of taking thousands of dollars worth of resources from an institution, there are many of us who had to work two or three part time jobs just to pay for our noodle ramen dinners and not be in as much debt as we could have been otherwise. And I was a valedictorian in high school.

      But we’ll save that discussion for another time.

      • angrybeaver says:
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        Where did you see graduation rates for DI football programs? That would be interesting to look at.

      • JackBeav says:
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        It kind of pisses me off that I make mistakes like I do sometimes. I unjustly gave Mike Stoops credit for something he did not do by confusing ASU with UA in my mind. Here’s the site I refer to for quick reference.
        http://stanford.scout.com/2/748689.html
        Note that there’s a price to be paid for football excellence… except at OSU. I’d say that’s a start, and I expect our numbers to be better when the 2009 analysis is released.

        • JackBeav says:
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          Check that… I meant to say the 2010 Analysis (2009 calendar year).

  • Beavker Beavker says:
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    To get back to the tedious, minutia and wonkish breakdown of the two teams, I’d like to add:

    The Ducks can Suck It!

    I’m getting pumped and nervous. I might have to slide one of my son’s diapers in my jeans for work tomorrow! I don’t even live in Oregon at this time, or even on the West Coast, and I’m getting the jitters!

    • JackBeav says:
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      Here’s a fun trivia question… and not too hard…

      When was the last Civil War played somewhere not named after a Beav?

      • angrybeaver says:
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        1952?

        • angrybeaver says:
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          Or was it 1957? Hayward wasn’t a Beav, right?

        • JackBeav says:
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          You’re on the right track. But think about when Autzen was built. In all the civil war hype it was mentioned when Riley was talking about his own personal memories of the game.

          • angrybeaver says:
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            1966? I have no idea why I said ’57. But it’s gotta be at Hayward field, right?

          • JackBeav says:
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            1966 was the Beavs’ third Civil War win in a row–out of 8. It was at Parker. The year before–1965–was at Hayward. I’m not sure, but I think Hayward was a Princeton grad. For all intents and purposes he was a Duck though.

            In the article highlighting Riley’s respect for the tradition and importance of the Civil War–and Kelly’s ‘it might as well be Purdue’ attitude–Riley spoke fondly of seeing that particular game… his first Civil War memory.

  • Paulscpa says:
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    Watching the 04 game on Comcast (surprised they are showing the blowout of the duckies) and notice Jay’s crew is handling the game. Please tell me that does not mean their rotation is up to call the game tomorrow. Please please please tell me it ain’t so angry. Please.

  • Beavgirl says:
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    top notch writing here. love all the literary references 😉

    Also this is going to be a heartbreaking game if there ever was one. Good thing I bought a bottle of red today. go beavs.

    • Beavgirl says:
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      **ok so that sounded more pessimistic than i meant it to be. I’m confident the beavs will win. but i’ve stocked up on booze just in case anything bad happens**

    • angrybeaver says:
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      Oh Beavgirl.

      For whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee, Duckies.

  • angrybeaver says:
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    I just read in Ted Miller’s blog that the Beavers are 120th (that is, last) in the country in red zone TDs allowed. Ouch.

  • angrybeaver says:
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    Wow, the defense looks as bad as last year.

  • Anonymous says:
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    Penalties are killing them…again.

    • angrybeaver says:
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      And running routes a yard short of the first down/end zone.

  • angrybeaver says:
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    Love the turnovers and all but you’re not going to win getting fgs. That fumble had to turn into a TD. Would have been a great time for the “wild beaver” (ugh). Conservative play calls suggest nerves kicking. Beavs need to play like they have nothing to lose.

  • Xcalifguy says:
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    Yes…they gotta play loose! And that’s the story of the first half. Penalties, not taking advantage of turnovers, yet still eek out a 2pt lead. They’re gonna have to step it up in 2nd half.

    • angrybeaver says:
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      Yeah, winning the turnover battle, getting handed points, and only up 2 is scary.

      I have to say, these refs have done a fantastic job so far. I haven’t had a complaint with a single call.

      • Beavker Beavker says:
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        Did you see why the Beav (Sorry wasn’t sure who it was) couldn’t get that last fumble near the end of the half by the Duckies on the kickoff? A Duck had a hold of his arm. He couldn’t get to the ball. If the guy isn’t holding his outstretched arm, it’s a dead heat for that recovery…

        I do think they missed the PI on that Duck though…his arm was around his waist…seen less called.

        Otherwise, take the 2nd half kick and ram it in!

        • angrybeaver says:
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          It’s not a penalty to hold a guy’s arm on a fumble.

  • angrybeaver says:
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    Also, great to know Canny is not phased. This was a big worry. At least we’ll have a poised QB down the stretch.

  • Xcalifguy says:
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    How many procedure calls now? Another FG…this ain’t gonna get it done.

    • angrybeaver says:
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      One point game, but it feels like this game is over at the start of the 4th, doesn’t it?

  • Xcalifguy says:
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    Well, it’s very unfortunate. The D couldn’t hold it. I was worried about this since day 1, and it happened more or less as expected. Tackling was really not very good, OSU let them break too many, and way too many 3’s instead of 7’s. Oh well….

  • Beavgirl says:
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    and i’m drunk

  • OSBeavs says:
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    Since this was a “rebuilding” year we shouldn’t have been here to begin with but I will say this we have ONE single factor between us and actually winning a Pac-10 title. His name is Mark Banker and he has to go, final. I used to like him but I have grown such a deep hatred for the man that CANNOT stop the spread. Every game we lose is against a team that runs a spread (or so it seems). Winning a rivalry is one of the most important things for me and our rival runs a spread, we HAVE to stop it.

    FIRE MARK BANKER! FIRE MARK BANKER!

    • angrybeaver says:
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      The only problem I have with Banker is that his CBs don’t look for the ball. Otherwise he’s fine. Whoever we hypothetically replace him with would also have no success stopping the spread. The only way to stop the spread is to have Masoli graduate and hope the next QB is not as savvy at it.

      • Diggs says:
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        You said it. I can’t stand the fact they don’t look for the ball. I did notice a time last night (not sure the player) but he made a good look for the ball and subsequently got a hand on it to break up what I believe would have been a big catch.

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