IT'S A TRAP. Coming off their shellackling of the shillelagh last week in Tempe (which produced this A+ Vine), the Devils travel to
Northern California Oregon to take on Mike Riley and his Beavers. My football coach used to say, "Never back an injured beaver into a corner." OK, I might be slightly paraphrasing, but the meaning holds true. OSU comes into this game with nothing to lose, against an Arizona State team with everything to lose. After seeing how Devils play when the outcome of the game is all but guaranteed, students and alumni alike should probably hold off on buying those National Championship tickets another week. Without further ado, let's get into it... And I promise there's no female genitalia-beaver jokes. That's a low hanging fruit guys; I'm better than that.
- Something's got to give. Arizona State hasn't won a game in Oregon since 2005, but Oregon State's last win at home versus a PAC-12 opponent came back in September of last year against a Colorado team that's been rebuilding since 1990, about four years before I existed.
- My frontrunner for "Quote of the Year" is OSU OC John Garrett telling his star quarterback "You're a freakin' Albatross Sean Mannion... use your reach." Just picturing Sean standing in front of a full length mirror after practice, wondering if he's as badly proportioned as Giannis Antetokounmpo, is laugh out loud funny.
- Besides Senior Sean, the two backs sharing time behind him are Terron Ward and Storm Woods who contribute to a running game that is 112th in the nation. Good news: that mark is better than rival Wazzu's running game which ranks dead last in the FBS. Bad news: the Cougars run the ball 24% of the time. Oregon State? 45%... at least, Mike Riley can say he tried?
- It would be fair to say the state of Oregon has an offensive line problem. Oregon State allows about 3 sacks per game, a mark that is the worst in the PAC-12. Do not adjust your monitor. Yes, Wazzu throws the ball (for those who can't do subtraction) 76% of the time and STILL allows less sacks than OSU. Sean Mannion might be having a down year, but it's hard to throw the ball on your back. Ask David Carr.
- Opponent Fun Fact: "In the early days of the institution, Oregon State University's athletic teams were known as the Aggies. When orange uniforms replaced the drab sweatshirt gray and tan jerseys, the teams were referred to as the Orangemen." Two questions here; 1: How was Orangemen ever a valid team nickname? I'm pretty sure, at some point in American history, we were intimidated by the possible existence of trans-species citrus-human mutants. 2: How were ZERO of these teams in Florida? Yes, because when I think of oranges, I think of Oregon and upstate New York.
- If you've come this far, maybe you're willing to come a little further. I was going to write a whole thing on Sean Mannion, but co-contributor Trace Travers already dominated that department. Rather than adding my two cents, toss Trace a well-deserved pageview instead.
- Other than wonderboy Mr. Mannion, CB Steven Nelson is the other Beaver with a good chance to play on Sundays. A projected mid-late round pick, expect Steven to get one of his biggest tests against BiletniStrong on Saturday night. Other draft prospect C Issac Seumalo has been out all season, recovering from setbacks caused by a broken foot. He is expected to receive a medical redshirt and hopefully be ready for 2015.
- Mike Riley might be checking the coaching classifieds come January. His Beaver team racks up the second most penalties in the nation, a metric attributed directly to coaching and discipline. If it makes Corvallis feel any better, CTG could be doing the same, looking to see if Florida or Michigan have hung the "Help Wanted" signs yet.
- In this episode of Arizona State uniforms, Sparky & Company will rock the all-white duds in Corvallis. In case AD Ray Anderson is reading (he's not), any chance we can do a "White-Out" in Tempe next year? In the September sun, I think everyone and their mom would prefer some crisp white tee's, over staving off heat stroke in all black everything. Plus, apparently there's a percentage of our student body too dumb to realize rocking full black face in 2014 is horribly offensive (one downside of a 80% acceptance rate). I think I speak for everyone when I say the "ASU Is Racist" headlines are getting old real quick.
- Last but not least, if you need a good laugh to brighten up your Friday, check out Sean Mannion's website SeanMannionTheQB.com. I pray this was his secret agent's idea, because creating a whole website developed to your accomplishments and tracking how much your mentioned on social media, when you're not even the best college quarterback in your state, might possibly be the lamest ego-trip ever. In good news for me, RyanMcGinnTheHypocriticalAmateurBlogger.com is still available. Someday. Someday.