Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Life of Riley

Note: This is the 2nd part of a multi-post look at the current state of Oregon State football. Part 1 is here, Part 3 is here, and Part 4 is here.

Let's examine Mike Riley's coaching record while at Oregon State.

First stint:
I think that the only thing about Riley's first stint that needs to be discussed is contained in these highlights of his final game:

More than anything, this victory gave the program a pulse heading into the offseason, which hadn't happened in Corvallis in a long time.

Second Stint:
Let's take a game by game look at the Riley's second era at Oregon State.
2003 Season
  • Sacramento State (W 40-7) - A good win over a D-1AA opponent
  • Fresno State (L 16-14) - I would rank this game as a "Broken Axel Game" according to Bill Simmon's 13 Levels of Losing.
  • New Mexico State (W 28-16), Boise State (W 26-14), Arizona State (W 45-17), California (W 35-21) - A good stretch of games. We were honestly thinking that this team could go to the Rose Bowl at this point. That is until....
  • Washington (L 38-17) - I am still amazed how flat OSU game out for this game. I would have thought that the team would have been more excited for a game on TBS (and to see what Craig Sager was going to wear)
  • Washington State (L 36-30) - Just another painful loss.
  • Arizona (W 52-23), Stanford (W 43-3) - Good wins against the two worst teams in the league
  • Oregon (L 34-20)
  • USC (L 52-28) - Of all the loses, this one is only one that I don't feel that OSU had superior talent.
  • New Mexico (W 55-14) - Most dominating performance of the year
In short, I am convinced that if Dennis Erickson had stuck around for this year, the only regular season game that OSU would have lost would have been against USC.

2004 Season
  • LSU (L 22-21) - This is probably a Guillotine Game
  • Boise State (L 53-34)
  • New Mexico (W 17-7)
  • Arizona State (L 27-14) - The Friday after this game I found Mike Parker, the voice of the Beavers, broadcasting from the OSU Quad and I wondered why OSU can't seem to play a complete game of football. I also deemed OSU "The best 1st quarter team in the nation"
  • California (L 49-7) - The outcome of this game was decided after the first quarter
  • Washington (W 29-14), Washington State (W 38-19), Arizona (W 28-14) - Once again Riley is beating up on the crappy teams of the Pac-10
  • USC (L 28-20) - Key play of the game was Reggie Bush returning a punt for a TD
  • Stanford (W 24-19)
  • Oregon (W 50-21) - This win was doubly sweet because it prevented the Ducks from going bowling
  • Notre Dame (W 38-21) - OSU runs its record against Notre Dame to a sterling 2-0
2005 Season
  • Portland State (W 41-14) - A good win to open the re-vamped Stadium
  • Boise State (W 30-27)
  • Louisville (L 63-27) - Ouch
  • Arizona State (L 42-24)
  • Washington State (W 42-24)
  • California (W 23-20)
  • UCLA (L 51-28) - This game is where the walls of this season start to fall off
  • Arizona (L 29-27) - Turning the ball over 5 times in opponent's territory (including one when you are in range for a go ahead field goal) isn't going to win you many games. Also Matt Moore later said that he didn't know that OSU needed merely a field goal.
  • Washington (W 18-10)
  • Stanford (L 20-17) - Just a crappy game
  • Oregon (L 56-14)
So in the 3 full years that Mike Riley has been at Oregon State in the second go-around, there has been 2 bowls games, and one season that has not. Are Beaver fans who are calling for his ouster based on that one year being a bit hasty? Perhaps, but I think that they remember how good it felt to have a football team that mattered, and because OSU football didn't matter for so long, they are fearful that the program will quickly regress to its former state.

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