How many years is it going to take before OSU wins an out-of-conference game on the road? Better yet, how long is it going to take before they play a competitive game OOC game on the road? Other then Hawaii in 2006, which was at the end of the season, it seems like Mike Riley cannot get the troops off on the right foot to start the season.
But I am sick and tired of trying to explain why the Beavs cannot win a big game on the road to start the season. I'd rather focus on what I would say was one of the best college football road trips I've ever experienced (minus the 45-14 ass whooping).
It All Starts in Our Nation's Capital
Five of us took red eyes from the West Coast on Thursday night and met up at Dulles International Airport Friday morning. River and I travelled from Seattle, Seth and Greg from San Diego, and Brett from the LBC. Which brings us to our first pro of the trip.
Pro: This is a shout out to our friends Greg and Ethan (who showed up from NYC on Saturday morning) who are not even Oregon State alums but who rocked the orange and black in support of the Beavers. Even better, Greg is an Ohio State fan and Ethan Southern Cal. See folks, everybody loves a Beaver.
Our friend Jason who was in DC the night before picked us up at the airport in a rented minivan and started our road portion of the trip in style rocking five Beaver flags and an old glory. As far as we are concerned we set a record for most OSU flags on a single vehicle in the states of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
After a long drive winding through the Appalachian Mountains of SE Pennsylvania, which included stops at the Battle of Antietam and an unexpected side trip to the set of the film Deliverance, we arrive in Happy Valley. Which brings us to our first con of this trip.
Con: Purchasing Alcohol in the State of Pennsylvania.
I know that some states don't allow you to purchase liquor from regular supermarkets and such, but what state restricts you from purchasing beer at a "wine and spirits" store. Things like this make me miss BevMo in California.
After Bret and Greg spent an hour searching for beer for our Friday night prefunc, I symbolically started off the drinking in Happy Valley by shotgunning a 16 oz of Keystone. It hurt so good.
(it should be noted that the real reason I shotgunned this beer is because I lost a bet with the smartest guy in the car).
So after consuming a good amount of alcohol that might has well been bootlegged from West Virginia, we headed to our first stop of the night in State College at a bar called Rathskeller. Here we were greeted by our first group, of what will become many, very friendly Penn State fans.
Pro: Penn State Fans
It didn't matter where we went. We always ran into a ton of very friendly Penn State fans. The most frequent question of the weekend was "are you having a good time in State College?" After a while it got annoying having to tell everybody, "yes, we are having the time of our life (I'll tough on more of this later in the blog).
After a visit to down the road to the Sports Cafe, where we met more friendly Penn State fans which included the owner of the bar, we called it a night in preparation of what we were confidently predicting a very competitive football game. Other then the jackass who wasn't even going to the game the next day, most PSU fans agreed with us that it would be a "knock them out-drag them out" type game. Ohhh, were we all fooled.
The next day we would all eat crow with our inaccurate prediction. Who would have thought we could be so wrong after consuming 5-20 beers?
I set the alarm for 7:30am. We wake up at 9am.
It all starts off with a beer and some quick stories about how we haven't seen a good looking woman in State College.
Con: The lack of good looking women in State College, Pa. More on this later.
So we pack up the minivan and backpacks and head out to meet up with Seth's friends who have a tailgate spot at the south end zone of Beaver Stadium. We promptly arrive two hours before the actual owners of the spot even get into town, set our cooler of beer down in their parking spot and start slamming beers. Which brings us to our next pro.
Pro: Oregon State travelled really well to this game.
As soon as we started consuming mass amounts of alcohol, with the beer of choice being Yuengling (about a step above MGD), we noticed a lot of fans walking by wearing orange. We even had three old timers come over and hang out with us for a good half an hour and just BS about past OSU accomplishments as we fed them beers. My favorite comment from one of them was how the secret to him being married for 42 years is taking trips with his buddies to games like this one at PSU. Wise, very wise.
While we continued to wait for our friends to show (and bring the grills and food) the surrounding Penn State fans fed us with snacks that included buffalo wings, home made bologna (which we would call summer sausage on the West Coast), horseradish cheddar cheese (my favorite) and shots of Crown Royale. Let me just reiterate how nice all the Penn State fans were. It can't be said enough.
We even had a local camera crew, which I think was KEZI in Eugene (but the guy said channel 9 in Corvallis which I thought was ABC out of Eugene), there to capture the scene outside Beaver Stadium. The Penn State fans showed off their cowbell led "P-S-U" chant which River tried to usurp with a impromptu O-S-U overlay. This was my first indication that we were getting enough alcohol. But what really bothered me was this.
Con: If you have a tailgate and you make up a sign that says "Penn State: Tailgate Heaven" you better hang it up or not act like a total douche bag because the visiting fan are walking all over it. WE WERE DRUNK! ITS GOING TO HAPPEN!!!
Eventually our friends from Penn State showed up and soon after we all trickled into the stadium. We had polished off a considerable amount of beers (some more then others) and River and I had our backpacks on filled with everything but contraband. My backpack was smaller then Rivers and when I got to the gate they told me that they were not allowed but I could conceal it under my rain jacket. That wasn't the case with River.
Con: Security and bag checks.
Just a suggestion to the guys checking bags at all sporting events in America. If you search someones bag and their is absolutely nothing in it, you don't have to throw the guys bag in the trash. Shoot, we know you are taking it home with you anyways. Sure the guy could have followed the rules and not brought the bag but when you use an excuse like "9-11" and they guy is packing a rain jacket, Beaver flag and press guide, he's not a threat.
As my friend Milo said to the security guard at Bank One Ball Park, "how does it feel topping out at $9 bucks an hour?"
And yes Milo, it was totally BS the kicked us out of that game.
So the game starts and hopes are high for the Beavs. For all of you who watch, you don't need to be reminded of the horrible tackling, terrible third and long defense, and a punting game that makes me beg for Alexis Serna.
Not much to cheer about if you were an OSU fan which hurt because you wanted to come back home with a cracking voice from screaming throughout the entire game. But I would like to bring up some examples of unacceptable behavior for travelling fans. In my opinion, travelling fans are not only supporting their team but representing their university and state. And I am not judging because I had to learn the hard way with my own mistakes and embarrassment.
Here are some quick things to remember when you are visting an opposing team's stadium.
1. When you are the visitor remember to be polite and don't swear at the home team.
2. Don't make noise before the snap when your team has the ball. Shoot, this isn't even a travelling fan rule. This is common sense (Ok, I judged but I've never been this dumb)
3. When your down by two scores, its best you don't say anything to the opposing fans claiming your team is better.
4. If the home teams player goes down with an injury and you know he's faking it, don't call the player out, especially if you are not sitting with your fans (ok, no one did that this game. I did at Cal last year when Deshawn Jackson went down with his second fake injury to stall the clock. Hey, I was correct when I called the guy out but it was not the right thing to do. I am so glad we beat them last year).
5. It is ok to root as loud as you want for your team when they make a good play or if you are sitting in your specially set up team section, but other then a big play on offense or defense in which you cannot restrain yourself from cheering, you better just shut the hell up.
6. Don't puke. Security will kick you out even if you had a hot dog they would only sell at the Kwik-E Mart.
One thing OSU fans who were around before the Mike Riley era know what to do and that is drink off a loss. Sure, its not the "healthy" thing to do but it's what you do. My favorite comment to make to PSU fans was "I've just got my ass kicked real bad and I wondered if you could give me a cold one to help heal the bruises." I was offered more beer then I knew what to do with but I found a spot.
We ended up closing down the parking lot and were torn between drinking with a bunch of fans for the other team or heading to the Endzone. A fully nude strip club with a $20 cover charge but you had to drink beer in a separate area from the women. After reminiscing on the strip clubs in Portland we decided to take our chances with the PSU fans.
So we head back towards campus to grab a bite to eat and make the best out of a crappy ball game. As we were are walking down Beaver Street our group notices our first real good looking pair of girls since DC. Bret, who is single, runs up to the two ladies and says something like, "Hey, you should hang out with me and my friends back there" and the two turn around and see no one hanging out with Bret. They give him the cold shoulder and Bret soon figures out that our group had walked into a deli to grab a sandwich. You might of had to be there but it was classic.
The Final Night
After another meal of fine Pennsylvania nourishment (which usually included letter grade meat, hot sauce and a greasy piece of starch) we head back to where we started our drinking on Friday night, the Rathskeller. As soon as we walk into the bar the Penn State fans erupt in cheer and yell in jubilation "Beavers!" We humbly take a seat at the bar and all most of the fans proceed to give us a very friendly ribbing. Even a few non-Beaver fans who dislike Penn State consoled us and we all moved on.
Of course the TV in the bar was stuck on ESPN with Sports Center rolling and when the OSU/PSU highlights rolled up I pulled off my best Dark Helmet impersonation and said "no, no, go past this. In fact never show this again." At least our group had some highlights from the night.
While we were sitting down to start the night an OSU fan cam up to our table and made a face like he was going to say something, then he dropped his shoulders and walked away. We all laughed. Then he came back to our table and asked us how we were doing with picking up the ladies. Considering that 3 out of the 7 are either married or engaged to the most wonderful women in the world, we weren't making the best head way. Soon he started walked up to every piece of ass in the bar worth looking at and made a play like an asteroid was coming to destroy the earth. My favorite introduction he made to one of Penn State's finest when he asked "What's your name fine Stallion?" If he didn't do it in such a sarcastic manner he probably would have been slapped.
Later on we met this kid from the Bay Area who was dying to graduate from Penn State and get out of State College forever. Shoot, this kid was begging to go back to Corvallis after a trip for a seminar he took last year.
So this kid talks our ear off about the less then lovely women at State College and how their only redeemable quality was how well they kissed below the belt. But my favorite quote from this guy was when we were talking about women in California. Specifically he talked about San Louis Obispo and how Cal Poly-SLO was the only university in California which rejected his application, which included schools in the UC system. He talked about how many hot women their were at SLO and how every one of them were 10's. He followed that comment up with "even the men are even 10's there. Shoot, I'd even have sex with one of them."
We have a new saying about State College and I mean this in the least homosexual way possible.
State College, PA. Where the women are not pretty and the men are really friendly.
Later that night Bret started chatting it up with one of the cuter girls in the establishment. After each one of them chatting each other's ear off for a good half an hour, they went to the back room of the bar to listen to the local band play and grab another beer. This is when Bret finds that the lead singer of the band is her boyfriend and she has a kid.
But their is a happy ending to this story. She paid for Bret's pitcher of beer which he then shared with us.
So now all of us are in the back of the bar listening to this cover band play Guitar Hero's top 10 songs when this wasted Penn State fan kept coming up to us and asking "HOW WAS YOUR TRIP." Most of us would say "great." Then the guy asked us "WAS IT THE GREATEST ROAD TRIP OF YOUR LIFE?" You'd say "yeah" and he continue to ask you the same questions over and over again. He was wasted (and when I write his quotes in ALL CAPS its because he was screaming his ass off the entire time). Problem was we were really nice guys and couldn't bear to tell the guy to ef' off. We didn't lose this guy till the crowd lights turned on.
So we closed down the bar and called it a night. And it was a lot of fun. The next day wasn't that eventful except for a few hangovers and a hotel room that smelled like ass. And while some fans would say that the trip was a complete waste because OSU lost, I would like to disagree with all of them. The fans at Penn State were great and the crew I rolled with was legendary.
And I would like to suggest that we play next year in Miami against Florida International. At least the Beavs could beat them, I'd hope.