- Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:26 pm
Tomorrow I will drive to Eugene and see a football game that this entire state has been waiting 112 years to watch.
Tomorrow I will reflect upon every drunk, dreary, rain-soaked shitfest I sat through during all those Beaver games of the late '80s, when I was attending Oregon State and the school was mired smack in the middle of its 28 consecutive losing seasons.
Tomorrow I will thank every one of the many SEC fans I have met over the years—from Georgia to LSU to Auburn to 'Bama—who have helped me understand and appreciate what big-time college football is all about, when BOTH teams are good and a BSC bowl hangs in the balance.
But tomorrow, everyone in the country will understand why this game, this time, means more than the SEC or Big 12 Championships combined: because we've been waiting so much longer for it. And SEC fans—more than anyone—can appreciate the beauty of having the Trojans out of the picture, even if only for a year.
Tomorrow I will watch Quizz and Canfield each play their first game in Autzen Stadium. And nobody—no coach, no fan, perhaps not even either player—knows how these two will perform, especially with the hell of 60,000 Duck fans raining down from above. But don't kid yourself, talk defense and tactical scheming all you want, these two players, more than Masoli and LaGarret, will determine who wins this game.
Tomorrow, both schools have the opportunity to redeem themselves from what was undoubtedly the worst major college football game of all time: the 1983 Civil War, which was played on a rainy, muddy, crap-filled field and included eleven fumbles, five interceptions, and four missed field goals, ending in a 0-0 tie. It was the last Division I game to end in a scoreless tie, a scenario so pathetic that the NCAA instituted overtime to prevent it from ever happening again.
Tomorrow is a chance ("So you're saying there's a chance"), for almost unexplainable personal joy or sadness. There are very few things in life that a man can say he truly LOVES. His family, of course. His dog. But for me, the very happiest moments come in split-second increments: those first two turns in deep powder, a few seconds of kayaking the perfect wave, the backcast before taking a shot at an approaching permit. And the micro-minutes leading up to the kickoff of a big Beaver game.
There's no way to sugar-coat it: I could get my heart ripped out tomorrow. The Beavs are 10-point dogs, and will need everything they've got to win this game. I've been out here in Oregon for ten days now, and seen this game analyzed from every possible angle—in the daily paper, on the radio, and over beers with my buddies almost nightly. Yet all I know is this: in less than 24 hours, that kickoff is gonna come. Many Duck fans have already made their plans for Pasadena. University of Oregon has more money, more marketing, more glamour, more bullshit, more bandwagon. But as you all know, it is often heart that wins ball games. And if Mike Riley has proven capable of one thing, it is getting the absolute most out of overlooked players.
Oregon State will be ready.
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