16.Feb.2011 Can the Beavers Benefit from Duck’s National Surge?

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To believe that the Beavers could benefit from the Ducks surge to greatness is counter-intuitive, but that does not necessarily mean the idea is false.

First off, let me give you some back story as to why I am even thinking about this notion.

Since the National Title game, I've been reading posts from Beaver fans stating that the line has been drawn in the sand, and moving forward in the Pac-12 OSU will have no chance to compete against Oregon. My first instinct was to agree with them, but before committing that to print something triggered the memory of a summer day in 1992. It is interesting to consider why this memory came to mind, and it is equally interesting that it appeared at all. But that is another story all together. The memory in question is seemingly harmless: my best friend bought a guitar.

You're probably wondering, "what the heck does that have to do with the Beavers or Ducks?"

Touche, touche.

But, you see, I had a guitar first, before my best friend. It lay in the corner of my room for two years, but I didn't practice a lick until my friend bought a $100 Fender knock off and began to play it fairly well. Then, suddenly, I felt the pressure of time; the anxiety of being left behind; the humility of being worse than a peer. These forces combined to make me practice diligently, and within months I was the better player.

Maybe now you can see where I am going with this anecdote? The Ducks surge could be beneficial for similar reasons.

The Pink Floyd song "Time" sums up the anxiety and pressure of frittering opportunity with one profound verse:

And you run, and you run to catch up with the sun, but it's sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way, but you're older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death

Beaver players surely feel the dread of their numbered days. The natural tendency, as in my guitar analogy above, is to fight twice as hard so neither time nor peers pass you by. I argue we may see this happen, as it is human nature, and human nature has a way of rearing itself.

Further, Oregon State can use the Ducks national cache to their advantage in the following ways:

1. Market Oregon as the new California. In other words, the "hip" state to play in. The Ducks are doing this as we speak, and if the Beavers are wise they will follow the lead and ride their coattails. Before T. Boone Pickens made Oklahoma State relevant, they used this tactic on Oklahoma.

2. Speaking of riding coattails, if the talking heads are gloating about Oregon, they're one slip of the tongue away from mentioning Oregon State. It's hard to talk about one without mentioning the other. Beaver recruiters and media should use the fact that the national spotlight is focusing on the State as a whole. How do they do this? Well, every recruit knows about Oregon's high power running attack. OSU's staff should be able to land top defenders who want the challenge and opportunity of stopping said offense on a national stage in the Civil War. That challenge is a selling point.

3. Phil Knight knows the Civil War rivalry is good for the state of Oregon and his university. If Oregon gets too far ahead, the game not only loses meaning, but Oregon's body of work would weaken. Knight is an Oregonian first and foremost. For this reason, expect him to help OSU in some way if things get ugly.

In closing, the Ducks rise could spell the downfall of the Beavers as many have predicted. But it could–via the dread and anxiety of passing opportunity–force the Beavers to rise to the occasion or perhaps even above it. If creative, Oregon State could theoretically use the Duck's 15 minutes of fame to recruit an all-world defense.

Will they do so? History says no. The Beavers are not outside the box thinkers nor are they salesmen. To use my guitar analogy above, they'd simply let the instrument lie in the corner collecting dust. Opportunity knocks once again, but is anyone in Corvallis listening?

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  • osbeavs says:
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    Your last paragraph was spot on. My thoughts throughout the entire post. My only change would be that OSU is picking up the guitar except they can only play the C note. They refuse to play a power chord or even read a guitar tab of a famous song.

    Other notes: Good note about PK. If only Riley would challenge recruits to come to his university. The tactic of presenting a challenge is clearly not one that Riley/Staff use on recruits.

  • BeavGirl BeavGirl says:
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    I’m always a big fan of your philosophical posts and this is probably one of your best. i can actually take this one to heart because i sometimes give up/feign apathy if faced with failure.

    i wish the beavers would rise to the occasion and improve themselves. i doubt they will take advantage of the ducks’ fame; they just don’t have that kind of shrewdness going for them. i do think there is that potential for the beavs to become so frustrated that they will pick themselves up. the worst thing about all this is the beavs’ misdirected whining/anger about the ducks. stop whining and do something, amirite?

    • angry angry says:
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      Thanks, BG.

      You give up when faced with failure? I find that to be counter-intuitive and not human nature, but maybe I am wrong. After all, people do wind up in mental wards, homeless, etc. I suppose there is a breaking point where you mentally slide in that direction.

      My natural reaction is to fight like hell when I’m sliding. You bring up a good point that not everyone thinks this way, and some might give up.

      I’m not sure what to think of that. It’s hard to imagine an entire football team thinking that way…most players are proud and possess large egos. Coaches have the job of making sure players don’t slide and lose confidence. So, I think the reaction has to be to rise to the occasion, at least publicly; what the subconscious believes is another story. A sport’s psychologist would be able to help with that. Have I mentioned that before??

      • BeavGirl BeavGirl says:
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        “My natural reaction is to fight like hell when I’m sliding. You bring up a good point that not everyone thinks this way, and some might give up. ”

        two words: George Costanza.

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          Did any of you watch Jeopardy this week, where the two greatest Jeopardy champions competed against an IBM supercomputer? The humans started out smiling, confident, and aggressive. But as the competition proceeded, and the computer’s speed and knowledge advantages became clear, the human Jeopardy champions lost their confidence their aggressiveness, and any hope of beating the machine. By the end, the humans looked like beaten men — shoulders slumping, eyes downcast. From champions to losers — it was a remarkable transformation in a very short period of time.

          If the Beavers see the Ducks as an unbeatable machine, then it is indeed over for OSU. Perception will become reality.

          But I don’t believe Riley, his players, or OSU fans believe the Ducks are an unbeatable machine. We haven’t won recently, but we played the Ducks tough in two of the last three Civil War games. Yes, there is a growing talent gap between Oregon and OSU. But that gap is not totally overwhelming (yet). There is no reason (yet) to lose hope. If OSU gets to work soon in a serious way, and makes the necessary changes in its football program, OSU can compete with the Ducks (and anyone else). But that has to happen soon. And the changes have to be significant.

          Rivalry among friends (or, even more so, among siblings) can be a powerful motivator. When a friend or a sibling succeeds, it forces a person to take a hard look at himself or herself. “My friend/sibling was more or less in the same place as me, and has now risen to a higher level. Can I do that, too?”

          This is a long-winded way of saying that I agree with Angry’s post. I believe that the Ducks’ success will motivate OSU to try to do better. Oregon is not just another school — it’s our sibling school. Remember that comment by Cliff Harris about Oregon being the “big brother” and OSU the “little brother”? That comment was spot on. The Ducks are not an unbeatable machine. The Ducks are more like OSU’s big brother. Time for little brother to get serious, hit the gym, and start pumping some serious iron….

  • CastorNation says:
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    49% of us work hard, try to do more than our competition, we try to better ourselves. A lot of us are a couple paychecks from disaster, so we have an urgency in our lives. But for 51% of Americans they take more out than they put in. Entitlement. There is no incentive to better ones self. You have said it before “lifetime contract”. There is no urgency. “I’m not sure how this team is going to look”. Well then who is going to know that if the coach doesn’t. In making statements like that he is distancing himself from the team and what “they” accomplish. I really applaud how Riley tries to build men for theirs respective futures, but there is no urgency to win the big one and apparently beat WSU. Riley’s job is just as secure at 5 & 7 as he was at 9 & 4. If Riley was a year or two away from hitting the bricks, he might rethink his dedication to his DC and OC if he thought their ineptitude could cost him his job. In light of the Duck’s success Riley would be be very nervous about his future if not for “lifetime” contract.

    • blakesgotanewface says:
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      Self-preservation and competition might make for a better team, but they are cold and impure reasons for decision-making. The capitalist/competitive motive for running an enterprise does not sit well with me. If a coach doesn’t want to make his team the best out of a pure desire for greatness (rather than better-than-you-ness) and you don’t want to play guitar well out of desire to make good music (rather than better-than-your-best-friend-ness) than that speaks to a somewhat cruel motivation and a tainted and non-fulfilling end result.

      • blakesgotanewface says:
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        • angry angry says:
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          This post really hit a sore spot with you. You’re telling me you’re now altruistic? Good one! Hey, in that case give me some of your new-found money!

          Anyway, human nature is what it is. We are all pretty gross. “Get a helmet”…

      • angry angry says:
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        Blake, you are just getting chippy because you are the friend/guitar player in question. You know we battled back and forth over things for years, and it made us both better at what we do today. You also know the guitar anecdote is somewhat hyperbole to make a point–we both enjoy playing the instrument for its own sake (i.e. to make music). 90% of the time it’s probably not even a conscious decision, but an underlying feeling of falling behind. This is what peers do…you see it all the time in neighborhoods with the “keeping up with the Joneses” attitude. Even someone like Brady, who is about as average/normal a guy out there, would do this with our chicken shack friend when he was actually successful. What made Brady move on and get a job at Duke? Realizing he was falling behind his peers. Now he works at Duke.

        • blakesgotanewface says:
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          I was referring to fulfillment. Were you fulfilled with your guitar playing because you “beat” someone? Would a couch be fulfilled or even the fans, if all that was at stake was a job or money? I feel this way about the Yankees all the time, it’s not fulfilling because all that drives them is a profit motive. The 86 mets were the opposite, driven by commaraderie (sp?) and teamwork.

          Your point about me being altruistic all the sudden is true. I am not altruistic, but I aspire to be. This is why I am not fulfilled or happy, you’re basically making my point.

          • blakesgotanewface says:
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            Also, is brady happy? He’s the most miserable bitter person around. So is chicken shack.

        • angry angry says:
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          So you think a Yankee fan feels less satisfaction from a win than say…a Twins fan? Probably, since the Yankee fan probably feels some level of guilt/shame for the reason they are great. I think Duck fans feel a bit of shame knowing a lot of their success has to do with money and their uber-donor. It’s something they have to live down. It’s the subject of most Duck/Beaver bickering. On the flip side, Beaver fans are jealous of Phil Knight. Nobody really wins except the Machiavellian Duck fans, Knight, and the Media.

          As far as whether I felt fulfilled playing guitar. Yes. I felt proud that I raised my level of play to match my peers. But I felt better creating music out of nothing. The point of the analogy wasn’t to make it into a moral issue about merit in the purity of motivation. The point was to say that humans have a drive to keep up with their peers (i.e. their reference points) or surpass them, and I stand by that, believe it is fact, believe it is biological, and believe anyone can see the force in action with just some basic observational skills.

          • blakesgotanewface says:
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            I think the joy of watching the Yankees win is territorial and not ultimately fulfilling, the same way watching Game 6 was.

            Humans have a drive to keep up with their peers and it is biological, but we are out of the wilderness now, we live in a society (see: Costanza), and winning/losing a football game won’t make us starve to death as it would if we didn’t out-compete the next monkey for a banana 100,000 years ago. Non-essential activities (sports, art, et al) are much more enjoyable to watch and participate in if you remove the profit motive. Think about Green Acres vs. watching NFL.

          • blakesgotanewface says:
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            That was worded weird..I meant to say..Game 6 was very rewarding the competitiveness was altruistic and for the love of the game.

          • angry angry says:
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            You should probably register an account so you can edit your posts and not clog up the comment area. 😉

          • angry angry says:
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            Yeah but at Green Acres we played in the game. Of course that is more fun than watching others. That’s like saying watching porn is less fun than having sex. Hah.

            Mets Game 6 was better than anything the Yankees will ever do or have ever done. It’s not like the Mets were poor, though. Also, there are some Yankee fans (like I said, the Machiavellian ones) who don’t care that victory was purchased. Probably because you can make a case that victory can’t be bought entirely. Neither the Ducks nor Yankees win every year. Chemistry still matters. Some of the Yankee teams in the mid 90s were fun to watch. They became bad over time because they signed players with bad chemistry. Think Brosius at 3B (awesome) instead of ARod (selfish, hits meaningless HRs, etc). The past few Duck teams have had good chemistry. That might change with the influx of egos and success.

            One last thing: we’re all one bad break from going back into the wilderness. An illness, loss a job, etc and you could be homeless quickly. There’s an illusion that we’re civilized, but all of that is precarious and also relative. Sure, we are indoors and might not fight over a banana, but now the fight for resources is over paper representation of the banana that allows us to remain indoors.

          • blakesgotanewface says:
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            I’d rather watch a game at green acres than watch at the Meadowlands. I’d even rather watch a loss at Reser than a win at the Meadowlands because its at least the motivation is somewhat more pure…if not as much as green acres.

            I don’t agree with your last point…the point of civilization is to provide a safety net from being cast out into the wilderness…if you watch that chaplin clip i posted, he says something like “In this world there is room for everyone and the earth is rich and can provide for everyone.” The problem is, people always want more than they need and it causes misery for everyone else that can’t game the system.

          • angry angry says:
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            It’s strange you disagree with my last point since the reason you (and I) hoard money is out of a fear of one day being homeless (aka in the wilderness).

            The Chaplin clip is idealistic. It’s a luxury to think that way. It’s how people could begin to think only after they had a safety net large enough for themselves; only then could they seriously begin thinking about others. I just lost my job. I’m going to listen to Chaplin telling me I should spread the wealth so some guy I don’t know keeps his? Not likely.

            If your point is the rich should give money, well…yeah, that would be nice. They sort of do indirectly through jobs, public services, etc, but they take a lot of it back via tax breaks etc. That the rich hoard money just shows how strong the biological impulse and competition for resources is. What drives that is most likely a fear of losing it and going back into the wild, even among the rich. There is also status/the attraction of the best mate that comes from hoarding resources, so when you consider that you can see why they don’t want to give away excess wealth.

            This is getting off topic, tho.

          • blakesgotanewface says:
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            That’s because we aren’t willing to sacrifice the way altruistic people do. That’s why there are very few Ghandis and why they are so revered.

          • angry angry says:
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            Ghandi had a ton to gain by being seemingly altruistic. And he did just that. It’s hard to make a case that true altruism has ever existed. Probably impossible, actually.

          • blakesgotanewface says:
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            look at these Bertrand Russells and Ludwig Wittgensteins

  • sparkyd73 says:
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    Riley has accepted this challenge in the past – not necessarily capitalizing on it for recruiting purposes though. I believe that the Beavers are set up as a team to beat the Trojans. That is why they have had the success that they’ve had against them. The problem with setting up a team to play against one specific style is that it may not work against another style. And, our coaching staff does not seem to be able to change anything mid-game. I would not be surprised at all to see the Beavers finally gear up to stop the Ducks now that they are at the top of the heap, but then someone with the next offensive gameplan will make us look bad. It is a difficult position to be in when you are always chasing, never innovating.

  • G Joubert says:
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    “It is a difficult position to be in when you are always chasing, never innovating.”

    There’s a lot of wisdom in that. Very insightful. I’m not as hard on Riley and his staff as Angry is, but I will agree that when it comes to Riley there’s little in the way of innovation. Going for 2 against Missouri in the Sun Bowl, with time running out going for the win instead of the tie, is about as innovative as he gets. And that instance was tactical, not strategic. What we see with UO is a team with a profound strategic plan. I’m not sure what Riley’s strategic plan is.

  • ean says:
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    http://blog.oregonlive.com/behindbeaversbeat/2011/02/starting_thursdays_rundown.html

    lol… I wonder where Buker got the idea for this article. Good work Buker!

  • ean says:
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    I agree with the commenter above that says our team is set up to beat the Trojans. I think that we are shifting to build for the Ducks as evidenced by the amount of speed we are bringing in on the defensive side of the ball.

    I think the “riding the coattails” approach you mention above is a good idea and agree with what your saying. The danger in the Ducks success however is fan apathy. If we lose a few more CW’s and have a few more mediocre seasons I could see the fan base getting real apathetic to dull the pain. Similar to the Cubs or Clippers where losing and mediocrity are laughed at. “Oh another loss… such is life as a __________ fan”

  • Osubaby Osubaby says:
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    I feel the real issue is that we as fans see the Beavers as a team from an episode of Friday Night Lights. Meaning that because we deserve it and we are the underdog with the family oriented coach the writing will lead us to beat the superpower. But this isn’t tv and sitting on our laurles has done nothing for us. Riley is a good dude but I feel like he thinks by doing the right thing it will all be good in the end. I am religious and believe and think this but I feel football is a much different beast.

  • locusimperium says:
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    Girard calls this “mimetic desire”

    interesting stuff

    • angry angry says:
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      Calls what mimetic desire? The pronoun “this” can describe any of the thousands of nouns on this page.

      Also, what is mimetic desire?

  • locusimperium says:
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    Your guitar purchase/playing example sparked that thought.

    Mimetic desire is the influence that others have in our own desires:

    “Far from being autonomous, our desire for a certain object is always provoked by the desire of another person — the model — for this same object.” -wikipedia

    mimetic desire usually leads to feuds over the same things and unrest and hostility within a community and then a scapegoat mechanism that eases the tension. This is apparent in all sacrificial religious systems.

    I didn’t intend to bring in anthro here today, just an interesting observation from your post today.

  • SanDiegoBeav says:
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    I think the Beavs can definitely benefit from U of O’s surge. We just need a marketing department that has the skill and the desire to make it happen. If we base our image around the Giant Killers’ uniforms, it would make an immediate impact. It would resonate with people unlike “We are Orange,” “Let it Rage,” etc. I don’t even know what that is supposed to mean. People would automatically associate OSU and U of O together, not because of the similarities, but because of the drastic differences. It would be one state with two schools that are completely opposite from one another. It would be old school v. new school, flashy v. tough, trust fund baby with a silver spoon v. blue collar, etc. The Ducks have already done most of the marketing for us. They are known NATIONWIDE as the flashy, new-age, gadget school. We just need to stake out our identity. I think this is an angle that could definitely work for OSU. As of right now I don’t really know what our image is.

    Traditional can be cool, it just needs to be done the right way.

    And, we need this identity not just in Football, but in all sports. I have no idea why our major sports teams wear different styled uniforms, different logos, etc.

    • SanDiegoBeav says:
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      And yes, the keeping up with the Joneses mentality is human nature. This will only help OSU. It is like living in a crummy neighborhood. If your house looks like crap, oh well, so does everybody else’s. If you live in a nice neighborhood, you will sub-consciously make your house look better because you don’t want to look like the deadbeat on the street.

  • angry angry says:
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    This is a great point you made “The Ducks have already done most of the marketing for us.”

    Regarding uniforms and identity, see this post from 2009: http://angrybeavs.com/athletics/608

  • OS_Beaver says:
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    They should be able to. It should help get Phase 3 of Reser completed and filled with 55K fans.

  • OS_Beaver says:
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    I sure hope that when we win the Pac-12 North in football and host a CCG that I am not bumped out for the media and sponsors. I wonder how many will be? My seats are Section 225 so I hope I make the cut as I can’t wait to be at the first CCG we ever host.

  • UofDuck says:
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    A rising tide lifts all boats, so cast the lines and get ready to sail beavs

    Now this is a topic I can get into… Even-though I am pretty harmless, I was asked a few weeks ago why I bother trolling this site, my answer was mainly because you guys have great sense of humor – for the most part – and I like that Angry and his minion have slightly twisted minds which intrigues. But I decided I ought to lay low for a while because I hate trolls myself. Then Angry throws this worm out on a hook and I have to bite. Darn you Angry…

    One thing is for sure, if the media builds it, they will come. Meaning, the interest they are creating for the Dux nationwide will surely help to bring the Pac 12 teams big money when a new TV deal is negotiated. The very “Flashiness” that Phil created – which most of you despise – might end up being in part, the hand that feeds. I don’t mean that as stuck-up as it probably sounded. Truth is, some of the flashiness doesn’t sit well with some of us Dux either, but it’s really all a big game about a game and if flashiness is what recruits want – bingo, we have a winner.

    Anyway, some good news; You can still hate the Dux and reap some rewards from them. My squad tries and fails, then gets up and tries and succeeds with new marketing ideas. It creates love for our team from some, and hate for our team from others. We become somewhat polarizing. With it though comes media attention, as well as praise and criticism. You guys on the other hand are more middle ground. You don’t get as much national attention, but you don’t get some of the negativity either. However, if the dux bring in the bucks with crazy publicity, you benefit and you don’t build as much resentment along the way as we do. As for me, I kind of like the heat it brings, but it does get old at times too. Anyway, keep fighting the good fight beavs – I’ll do the same and we’ll meet soon enough on the CW battlefield – ye scallywags.

    • JackBeav says:
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      I always love the rising tide analogy. But those who use it forget that only a few people can afford boats. And those people are the same ones who can afford the nice houses on the hill with great views of the ocean. So all a rising tide really does is drown everyone out and provide the well-to-do a parking spot at their houses for their boats.

      Pure capitalism is not pure deregulation. In order for it to not become monopoly, third party intervention is necessary. If that intervention simply relocates the average or does the least possible to keep the average populace intact, the average populace becomes first apathetic then frustrated then rebellious.

      But that’s not even the case in our society now. What we have now, and have had for some 30 years, is a third party complicit in the flood. The average populace has really had no need for more than what they have, but the well-to-do have a compulsion to take all for themselves. I don’t know if I would call it a psychopathy, but an extreme compulsion coupled with cynical political games which pose common people against common people in order to reap what both have is a psychopath in my book. That some of the common people are so scared of other commoners is a sign that stupidity rules the day.

      Commoners align themselves with the psychotic, and they don’t even realize that the hot-button issues which they attack are all conditions of the psychopaths’ agenda. How many anti-illegal-alien activists know that they espouse the exact same ideal as Cesar Chavez? How many align themselves with the parties responsible for the illegal incursions–something a knowledgeable person like Chavez understood and successfully rebelled against? It’s no wonder people are called out for cultural insensitivity. They argue against something but attack the victims. Others who have argued successfully against the same thing but attacked the source instead are different from the new breed in culture/skin color only.

      What does this have to do with OSU vs. Nikegon?

      It’s all the same crap. Nikegon is floating along in their 100′ yacht, and the waters will be high enough soon for them to just park the thing in Beaverton during the week.

      Those of us in between find ourselves in two groups. One subscribes to blind faith and aggression toward diversity. They believe we pulled ourselves up by the boot straps, and our perpetual mediocrity is the best we’ve ever had. So in order to maintain that “bestness” they maintain their mediocre faith and aggression.

      Then there are those of us who question the mediocrity itself. We see the yacht ramming the levee, and we wonder why those with faith don’t join us in finding some torpedoes instead of just blindly and indirectly praising the yacht’s owner by aligning their thoughts with the status quo. We might miss and hit the levee, but we’ve been there before. It’s not like rebellion is risk free. But that risk is minimal because the yacht is SOOOO big. If we miss it, we deserve less than mediocrity.

      So when I hear yutzes talk about having faith, and liking the mish-mosh identity OSU has created with 90’s cartoon characters and ugly 70’s fonts, and thinking being Nike-preferred school is cool while Nike simply craps on us, and having aggression against their brethren simply because they see what the yutzes refuse to look at… I wonder when they’ll all come around.

      The next step in the natural progression of things should be the realization that taking a chance and failing will produce the same outcome as not taking a chance at all.

      If my odds for failure are 90% with the status quo and 30% with risk, I’m taking the risk every time. My call to arms will not make me out to be a Tory. But when the fighting begins, I will barrel over the Tories with impunity.

      Tea Party my ass! More like loyalists to the crown.

  • MudAndSticks MudAndSticks says:
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    Sports Illustrated writer blasts CR in his blog.

    And it sounds to me like CR puts a spin on it like the writer is attacking the players. LOL

    CR, if you believe that you’ve really got your head up your ass.

    Story: http://blog.oregonlive.com/behindbeaversbeat/2011/02/oregon_state_basketball_craig_3.html

    And the SI witer’s blog: http://georgedohrmann.com/blog

  • MudAndSticks MudAndSticks says:
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    Thank goodness NASCAR is in action, even if it isn’t 100% pure.

  • OS_Beaver says:
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    BeTheDean.com The year is 2021 and it is the 2nd year of an expanded Reser through Phase 4 which makes it a full double-decker bowl that seats 66,000. We just beat Oregon in the Civil War to claim our 2nd consecutive Pac-12 North championship. See what happens when you get bold, take a chance and have some faith in your fans DeCarolis? We start winning consistently and exciting results are possible! (This post in dedication to hoping BDC doesn’t slam the brakes on the fans intent to have Phase 3 of Raising Reser complete by 2016 at the very latest with the entire double-deck horseshoe that will take us to 55,000 screaming fans and be necessary to rival all the other aggressive moves in the Pac-12 by other ADs. The Beavers have to get ahead for once and not always be perceived as playing catchup. “Beavers..If you build it, they will come!!”

    • angry angry says:
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      The fan base is old and the gameday experience is lame. These need to be fixed before 55,000 will fill the stadium. Oregon has the state’s fringe fans because they’ve created and marketed an atmosphere (fun game day, loud, etc). Beavers just do enough to get by, but nothing that makes it worth going to the game rather than watching it on TV.

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