The Almost Tragic History of Oregon State Sports

Kim Hastings FishWrap, FishWrap Archive

Now that there are only a couple of months left in which to humiliate Oregon State during the 2013/14 school year, I thought this would be a good time to see how the hapless Beavs got here.  I decided to try and look back to a time when there were respectable athletic endeavors occurring in the little hamlet of Corvallis.

I had to look quite a ways

I had to look quite a ways.

And really I never found much.  The history of Oregon State football reads like this: Bad, worse, awful, dreadful, worse, worse yet, Terry Baker, really bad, really REALLY bad, Joe Avezzano bad, still bad, scholar-athlete Chad Johnson, bad, worse, tantalizingly close to okay, yecchh and Sacramento State.

It's enough to make the angels weep.  Not Charlie's Angels, of course, but Corvallis angels

It’s enough to make the angels weep. Not Charlie’s Angels, of course, but Corvallis-class Angels.

Frankly it has been bad enough that a cottage industry of laughter has grown up around the school.  It started many years ago when comic strips grew out of the feeble nature of OSU sports.  I found a number of classic strips that address Oregon State’s football program, and their fans.

One such strip played off nicknames given to different units of good teams.  Many of you may remember the Fearsome Foursome, the Purple People Eaters, the Orange Crush and the Steel Curtain.  Well, Oregon State had a nickname for their defense as well.

But it didn't catch on in Corvallis.  Other cities in Oregon liked it quite a bit.

But it didn’t catch on in Corvallis. Other cities in Oregon liked it quite a bit.

One comic took in the overall essence of Oregon State sports.  Their hapless football team, their basketball team that plays bad teams down to their own level before tens of fans who got in free and their rickety stadium named after a salsa that figures 50/50 to give you more runs than Oregon State’s baseball team puts up in a week and a half. This strip became regionally popular but, interestingly enough, found a greater audience in Lane County than in Benton County.

Kind of says it in a phrase, doesn't it?

Kind of says it in a phrase, doesn’t it?

An honest OSU fan will admit that it’s been a pretty rough stretch for sports in Corvallis since, well, the dawning of time.  While it is true that some folks hope that things will get better, most are willing to put up with sports conversation only until the topic can be deflected to something Oregon State does well . . . as soon as something like that can be found. [Ed. note: Bah dda Bing!]The institution’s alumni club chairman, Zach Ack, once got frustrated enough that he penned a strip of his own.  This one detailed what it’s like to be a lifelong OSU fan.

Found!  One Honest Beaver!

Found! One Honest Beaver!

And it doesn’t look like its going to get any better.  Once in a while Oregon State lands a good player.  Jacquizz Rodgers was no LaMichael James, but he was pretty good. Derek Anderson was no Joey Harrington, but he was pretty good.  Sean Mannion was no Marcus Mariota, Bryan Bennett, Jake Rodrigues, Jeff Lockie or Morgan Mahalak, but he was pretty good.  But it doesn’t seem to matter.  I found a comic strip that details what a quality prospect on his way to Oregon State seems to represent.

Almost Biblical

Almost Biblical

But through it all, almost half (give or take a million) of the sports fans in the State of Oregon profess a greater liking for OSU than for UO.  As crazy as that sounds, it must be a fact, because Beaver fans say it is.  All we at International can say to that is, “Half the state may be Beaver fans, but then there is the . . .

Go Ducks

Go Ducks!

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