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SHERMAN'S MARCH TO THE SEA: OREGON STATE BEAVERS

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Oregon State is maybe a half a step up from Boise State in relevance.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Feeling rejuvenated after two razings in one day, my troops and I relieved the remnants of Boise of their entire supply of vodka and headed even further west, meeting up with the Oregon Trail. However, we encountered mishaps.

HOW WERE MY GUARDS INEPT ENOUGH TO ALLOW RUSTLERS TO "SNEAK OFF" WITH NINETEEN OXEN? I HOPE THEY DIE OF DYSENTERY.

Nevertheless I made my way through a land that is clearly trying to be a part of my glorious Midwestern region. Exactly one major city, with vast expanses of rural and/or uninhabited space, some of which produces cheese. Not only do they think they can do this, they also think they can college football.

I shall disclose a secret. If it must involve a team outside the Big Ten, I have always wanted the national title game to be a matchup between the Oregon State Beavers and the South Carolina Gamecocks. THINK OF THE HEADLINES. South Carolina getting tremendous penetration in the backfield. The smothering Beaver defense. What a delightful game that would be to cover.

YET ONLY ONCE HAVE YOU EVER EVEN COME CLOSE, OREGON STATE. I'VE WANTED YOU TO DELIVER AN EASY JOKE ALL THESE YEARS WITHOUT REALIZING THAT YOU ARE, IN FACT, THE EASY JOKE. YOU FOOLS. YOU BLEW IT. YOU BLEW IT ALL, BEAVERS; DAM YOU. GOD DAM YOU ALL TO HELL.

Your foolish fuckin' fashion faux-pas forms frowns from fancy fuckers such as I. I'm convinced this facemask thing started as an accident, and Nike just sold you on the botched prototype.

beaver facemask

Of course, I suppose you could be forgiven for trying to emulate Oregon by looking ridiculous, because you sure as hell can't emulate them in the category of winning football games. The "Civil War" rivalry has been pretty one-sided for the last 8 years. CORVALLIS MUST BE A CONFEDERATE STRONGHOLD BECAUSE THEY SURE DO LIKE TO LOSE THE CIVIL WAR. LET'S MAKE SURE AND BURN IT ALL TO THE GROUND. CAN I INTEREST YOU IN SOME OF MY NECKTIES?

So let's revisit the rich history of Oregon State football. Three Rose Bowl berths with the last being a 34-7 defeat at the hands of the Michigan Wolverines in 1965. How have things progressed in the last fifty or so years? YOU'RE STILL FOUR TOUCHDOWNS WORSE THAN MICHIGAN. The amazing thing about those three Rose Bowl seasons is that you lost a total of 8 games over those three seasons! This was back when the college football season was about 9-10 games long. The 2007 Illinois Fighting Illini path to the Rose Bowl is not a sustainable business model; only General Zook could pull that off.

After the sixties, Oregon State wandered about in the desert for decades. How far out into the wilderness did they roam? Enough that in the five-year stretch from 1979 to 1984, they won FEWER GAMES THAN NORTHWESTERN. My programs have achieved the highest of highs, but when they fail, they also do their best to be historic. Apparently the efforts of those Northwestern Wildcats were not enough, as their six wins dwarf the five won by the Beavers.

In 2000, Dennis Erickson led the Beavers to their only great season at 11-1. God and the NCAA only know how, but the glory was short-lived, as he'd leave two seasons later. Mike Riley would return and go on to be the winningest coach in Oregon State history...with a 58-63 conference record. Of course, after posting an incredible 14-34 record in the NFL, he had to work somewhere. Despite an 8-14 record over his first two years at Oregon State, they decided he was their savior after flunking out of the pros.

Mike Riley rode his bike out of town with a 7-game losing streak to Oregon having achieved his greatest success in a 4-loss season. He took this wealth of success to the Nebraska Cornhuskers, where he replaced a coach whose worst season had four losses. He proceeded to lose seven.

Though it's hardly any consolation to my Nebraska division, the Big Ten at least exchanged coaches when the coward Gary Andersen fled Madison to inherit a lovely 5-7 team headed for the basement of the PAC-12. Weird how your previous coach jumped into a higher-pressure situation to be replaced by a coach who couldn't handle the pressure of a Wisconsin program that practically runs itself. Can't handle the Big Ten? Go to Oregon State. IF YOU CAN GARY ANDERSEN THIS YEAR, DARRELL HAZELL MIGHT BE AVAILABLE. I HEAR TIM BECKMAN'S NOT DOING MUCH THESE DAYS.

Andersen took his constant bitching about the Midwest and Madison and admissions and recruiting to Corvallis, where he found much less pressure and life was so easy. Sure, he went 2-10 with no conference wins and a 35-7 pasting at the hands of Michigan, but hey, at least admissions standards are lower there, right Gary?

I THEREFORE LEAVE AN UPPER DECKER IN THE LAST REMAINING TOILET IN CORVALLIS, A TOWN WITH HALF THE POPULATION OF MICHIGAN STADIUM AND THE HOME OF A PERENNIAL BASEMENT-DWELLER IN THE CONFERENCE OF COMMUNISTS. YOUR WINNINGEST COACH JUST HAD ONE OF THE WORST SEASONS IN NEBRASKA'S HISTORY, AND COLLEGE FOOTBALL AS WE KNOW IT MIGHT END WITHOUT YOU EVER HAVING BEATEN OREGON AGAIN. NOW CLEAN UP THOSE TERRIBLE FACEMASKS.

Oregon State's next Big Ten matchup: September 1st of THIS YEAR at the home of the Minnesota Golden Gophers regiment. This game might briefly scare the Big Ten into thinking Mitch Leidner finally put it all together.

Sherman's Next Destination: Fresno, California