I stared in disbelief back on February 11, 1990 when an undefeated, undefeatable Tyson, the most feared heavyweight champion in the history of boxing, was beaten in Tokyo by journeyman heavyweight James “Buster” Douglas, knocking Tyson out in the 10th round. And I’m pretty sure that Notre Dame fans shared that same sense of disbelief when the Beavers destroyed Notre Dame in the 2001 Fiesta Bowl.
So I always felt a small sense of amusement when a Duck fan I knew began derisively referring to the Beavers as “Buster Douglas U”. I know what he meant by it: That the Beavers were a one-hit-wonder and would never be heard again after that one shining moment.
It’s funny though, because I never took offense to it. To me, the analogy meant something different – that Oregon State isn’t always going to be great but at any given moment in time, with the right motivation and the right opportunity and maybe a little lightening in a bottle, the Beavers could be truly great – when nobody in the world expects them to be.
Five weeks in, I’ve come to the conclusion that the 2013 Oregon State Beavers are Buster Douglas U.
I KNOW THAT that might be an insult to some – but not to me. There is a sports idiom often thrown around – “a puncher’s chance” -- and it was cast out there this week by BF.C poster Beaverbill in describing the 2013 Oregon State Beavers.
Used properly, it essentially means that although the odds are stacked against an individual, they have a skillset that always gives them a chance to pull off a big upset. But to use the term just a tad more broadly, it means that a fighter or player or team may be outclassed and a clear underdog, but a dangerous one who can still pull off an upset or two or three.
Douglas had a puncher’s chance against Tyson because he had a 12-inch reach advantage, a powerful jab and for that fight, an indomitable will to win.
The 2013 Oregon State Beavers have a puncher’s chance against just about any opponent on their schedule. They don’t have a strong running game or a smothering defense, but what they do have is an offense than can flat-out score points led by a quarterback who is the national leader in total offense. They have an opportunistic defense that is ranked in the top 20 for sacks and one that features a defensive back leading the nation in interceptions (junior cornerback Steven Nelson has four picks).
WHEN YOU CAN score points in bunches and grab pick-sixes, you’ll always have that puncher’s chance -- nobody can count you out of any game. Not even games where they are down by nine points with less than 3 minutes to play, as San Diego State knows all too well.
The train isn’t off the tracks, but it’s wobbling and you can see the grass out of both windows. But you can’t stop watching, not even for a minute.
Because even when defeat seems inevitable, the impossible might still happen. It’s riveting, it’s maddening, it’s frustrating. And to get a little Riley on you, ‘Gosh dang it, it’s FUN.’ What more can you really ask for? I LOVE THESE BEAVERS.
And I think you should too. I’m not really sure if I had an ephiphany after the SDSU win or whether I’m getting soft in my old age, but man… I haven’t had this much fun watching Oregon State football games since BF.C founder DNorz drank a whole bottle of Southern Comfort and spent a whole game yelling at me to GET EXCITED in between chants of ‘Cheat, Cheat, Never Beat’ every time a penalty was called on the opposing team.
After the bye week is over, I’m going to invite him and another BF.C poster, TheToe, over to watch the game at my house, and when they get there, I will have a bottle of Southern Comfort with a big bow on it sitting on my coffee table, and text a picture of myself wearing my newly minted BUSTER DOUGLAS U to my Duck fan buddy.
And don’t think that I won’t be breaking out the whole Buster Douglas/Mike Tyson analogy again around Civil War time -- even as wild-eyed BF.C poster Sarg1 will be waving his hands about, looking remarkably like Al Pacino in Serpico .
I know nothing lasts forever, but gosh am I going to miss Lane Kiffin, the Pac12’s reigning King of Unintentional Comedy. Hang tough, CLK, there’s bound to be another Pac-12 job opening not too long down the road. Please keep us in mind.