Posted 10/03/2008 at 03:53 AM
Seven days ago, I thought Oregon State head coach Mike Riley was a stud. Nevermind his disastrous tenure running the show for the San Diego Chargers. Nevermind his barely-better-than-average 49-40 career record at the collegiate level.
This time last week, Riley led the Beavers to a shocking upset over top-ranked USC as 25-point underdogs. Dude was a genius. Brilliant. Terrific.
My oh my, how things can change in the span of seven days.
On Thursday Oct. 3 of 2008, Riley made an ass of himself. He made a joke of the coaching profession. He made anybody with a clue about the game of football pause and say, "How does a guy that dumb make so much cash?"
Unreal. Inexplicable. Unexcusable.
Riley didn't just make one idiotic mistake that cost his team -- one that I've grown extremely fond of in the past seven days, one that I applaud for cashing an underdog ticket for me in the game I'm currently referencing, one that I'll root for the rest of the season, one that has a player named Jacquizz Rodgers whose performance last Thursday will NEVER be forgotten as long as I live.
No, not at all. Riley didn't just fumble the ball once -- he coughed it up twice.
Yep, on two separate occasions, once in the first half and another time early in the third quarter, Riley inexplicably opted to go for two. Twice his team failed. And at the end of the night, his team lost a gut-wrencher in overtime.
If Riley just goes 1-for-2 in making the no-brainer decision to just kick the PAT, his team wins. His team improves to 3-2 and most likely jumps into the Top 20 and has all sorts of aspirations that are realistic for the rest of the season.
But none of that is reality right now.
And that falls on Riley. All of it. Every single bit of pain and frustration felt by everyone in the Oregon St. program falls at Riley's feet. I hope he had a miserable flight back to Corvallis, the scene of so much joy and happiness last week that should've/would've/could've carried over to now.
Why such a rip job on Riley from yours truly? I simply despise ignorance, especially when it impacts other people that deserve better.
Oregon State beat USC fair and square last week. The Beavers just lined up and knocked the Trojans in the mouth. And at the end of 60 minutes, they had more points on the scoreboard.
Same exact thing at Utah (except for the eventual outcome). Oregon St. deserved to win. The Beavers were the better team. But for some reason -- some insane, without-a-clue-at-all-whatsoever reason -- Riley felt like he needed to go for two at a point in the game when he didn't have to -- twice!
Here's the thing with two-point conversions: Unless you're involved in a big-time defensive struggle or down by 24 (and multiples of eight beyond that), there's never -- NEVER, EVER, EVER -- a reason to go for two in the first half. And really, there's never a reason to do it early-or-mid third quarter.
You want to go for two late in the third quarter? Ok, I'll let that slide, especially if you have a lot of confidence in your defense. But in the first half? With more than 10 minutes left in the third quarter?
Seriously, it's simply not acceptable. It's something I would've been critical of back when I was in the first grade.
Again, I cashed in with Oregon St. tonight. The Beavers won me some money. I'm a University of Florida grad. I have no connection(s) to the Pac-10 in any way whatsoever. The fact that OSU lost outright didn't impact me in any way.
But again, I hate ignorance. I detest when someone makes mental mistakes that hurt other people. And make no mistake, there were some aching tickers on the flight home from Utah to Corvallis.
I hope Mike Riley gets some sleep tonight. It'll make up for the sleepless nights his players endure because of his incompetence.