mike riley

Riley heads for Nebraska

The OSU coach takes over the Cornhuskers job after 14 seasons in Corvallis
Dec. 4, 2014

Nebraska has hired Mike Riley as its football coach, the school announced on Thursday.

Riley previously served as the head coach at Oregon State, where he led the Beavers to a 93-80 record and eight bowl appearances over 14 seasons. In 2014, Oregon State went 5-7 with a 2-7 mark in the Pac-12 conference.

The 61-year-old was named the Pac-10 coach of the year in 2008 after leading Oregon State to a 9-4 record. The Beavers’ win total has declined over the past three seasons -- from nine in 2012, to seven in 2013 to five this season.

“It is truly an honor to join the University of Nebraska family,” Riley said in a statement. “Though we love Corvallis and Oregon State, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to coach at one of the nation’s most storied football programs and I can’t wait to get started. My sincere thanks to Chancellor Perlman and Shawn Eichorst for their confidence in me and I look forward to becoming a part of the Nebraska family and building upon the great history and tradition.”

News of Riley leaving OSU hadn’t been updated to the school’s website Thursday.

Other names floated as potential candidates for the Nebraska job included Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost, Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman and Minnesota coach Jerry Kill.

Notice of Riley’s hire comes less than a week after Nebraska announced it had dismissed Bo Pelini following seven seasons. Nebraska, which joined the Big Ten from the Big 12 in 2011, has gone 9-3 this season.

OSU's million-to-one shot

The Beavers get a rare chance for historic glory Saturday against Oregon
Nov. 26, 2014 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

Corvallis is plenty off the beaten path in the college football world, so it's hard for the Oregon State football team to get a lot of publicity. But, that won't be true Saturday, so it's as big an opportunity to make an impact in front of the nation's fans and incoming recruits as the program is going to get.

The Beavers get to play in-state rival Oregon at home and on national television with the Ducks needing only win by any margin to continue their path toward the College Football Playoffs.

Oregon State, meanwhile, is playing for its football life - especially its seniors. The Beavers have five wins and need a sixth to become bowl. So a win Saturday extends the season by a month. And, a sixth win qualifies coach Mike Riley for a bonus of more than $1.5 million as it would add another year onto his contract for winning six games.

Riley has never seemed like someone motivated by money (and his contract already runs through 2021), but the game is being played at Reser Stadium, and being on national TV with the win moving his team to a bowl game, it might just be what his staff needs to produce what would be one of its biggest upsets.

There's plenty of elements in place for Saturday, too.

First, it's at home. The Beavers just seem to be a different animal at home. Almost all of their big wins are at Reser these days, starting with USC. OSU hasn't beaten USC in Los Angeles since 1964, but it's owned the team in the past decade at Reser, regardless of the Trojans' rankings.

Two weeks ago, the Beavers beat No. 7 Arizona State at Reser, 35-27.

Saturday is the final home game for seniors, led by quarterback Sean Mannion.

Second, the Ducks are ranked No. 2, and have beaten the Beavers six straight times - so they should win. The betting line is by nearly three touchdowns, too. This is one of the best elements an underdog has available - surprise, even if the Ducks publicly say they're fully ready. In Oregon's lone loss - to Arizona on its home field, it was rated a 23-point favorite.

And, Oregon has shown it's available for a big loss, too. At Utah, the Ducks were on their way to being down 14-0 when fate intervened in the form of a historic "Not Top 10" play. Even then, the game was 30-27 in the second half.

Third, it's on ABC. If there's a way to pump up a group of seemingly overmatched football players, just put some cameras in their faces and tell them every play they make has the potential to be a national headline.

Oregon is already in the Pac-12 Conference Championship Game, so it realistically only needs to win by one point, which it did last year, 36-35 at Autzen Stadium. That's going to be in player's heads throughout the game.

Oregon Stat's best chance is a dominating start, especially on defense. And, it's performed well on defense. Against ASU, the defense gave up only 20 points as one of the Sun Devils' scores was on a fumble return.

Saturday's game looks like a blowout on paper - for Oregon fans, and maybe the world. But, it's one of the biggest wins the Beavers can ever have, one the program will celebrate for decades, and that opportunity doesn't come along very often.

OSU's big game opportunity

Wed, 11/26/2014 - 6:30am
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Corvallis is plenty off the beaten path in the college football world, so it's hard for the Oregon State football team to get a lot of publicity. But, that won't be true Saturday, so it's as big an opportunity to make an impact in front of the nation's fans and incoming recruits as the program is going to get.

The Beavers get to play in-state rival Oregon at home and on national television with the Ducks needing only win by any margin to continue their path toward the College Football Playoffs.

Oregon State, meanwhile, is playing for its football life - especially its seniors. The Beavers have five wins and need a sixth to become bowl. So a win Saturday extends the season by a month. And, a sixth win qualifies coach Mike Riley for a $1 million bonus.

Riley has never seemed like someone motivated by money, but the game is being played at Reser Stadium, and being on national TV with the win moving his team to a bowl game, it might just be what the program needs to score what would be one of its biggest upsets.

There's plenty of elements to a big win in place for Saturday.

First, it's at home. The Beavers just seem to be a different animal at home. Almost all of their big wins are at Reser these days, starting with USC. OSU hasn't beaten USC in Los Angeles since 1964, but it's owned the team in the past decade at Reser, regardless of the Trojans' rankings.

Two weeks ago, the Beavers beat No. 7 Arizona State at Reser, 35-27.

Saturday is the final home game for seniors, led by quarterback Sean Mannion.

Second, the Ducks are ranked No. 2, and have beaten the Beavers six straight times - so they should win. The betting line is by nearly three touchdowns, too. This is one of the best elements an underdog has available - surprise, even if the Ducks publicly say they're fully ready. In Oregon's lone loss - to Arizona on its home field, it was rated a 23-point favorite.

And, Oregon has shown it's available for a big loss, too. At Utah, the Ducks were on their way to being down 14-0 when fate intervened in the form of a historic "Not Top 10" play. Even then, the game was 30-27 in the second half.

Third, it's on ABC. If there's a way to pump up a group of seemingly overmatched football players, just put some cameras in their faces and tell them every play they make has the potential to be a national headline.

Oregon is already in the Pac-12 Conference Championship Game, so it realistically only needs to win by one point, which it did last year, 36-35 at Autzen Stadium. That's going to be in player's heads throughout the game.

Oregon Stat's best chance is a dominating start, especially on defense. And, it's performed well on defense. Against ASU, the defense gave up only 20 points as one of the Sun Devils' scores was on a fumble return.

Saturday's game looks like a blowout on paper - for Oregon fans, and maybe the world. But, it's one of the biggest wins the Beavers can ever have, one the program will celebrate for decades, and that opportunity doesn't come along very often.

 

 

 

 

 

What's a Beaver to do?

OSU's football future is a key topic for Sportsland, Oregon No. 23
Nov. 10, 2014

With another upset dodged by the Oregon football program in Utah, the Ducks are assured of a spot in the Pac-12 Conference title game.

Again - finally.

Oregon won the inaugural title game, and played for the national championship in 2011, but got sideswiped the past two seasons by Stanford. No such problems this season. So, coach Mark Helfrich has guided the team back to where the program's supporters expect it to be.

And, Oregon State? The Beavers lost their fourth-straight game Saturday to Washington State, which started a freshman quarterback. With the loss, the Beavers are in need of two wins in their last three games - starting with No. 7 Arizona State on Saturday - to reach a bowl game. With the program stuck on six wins being a prosperous season, the future of the OSU program is a key topic for Sportsland, Oregon host Cliff Pfenning, and guest commentator Earl Frederick.

Does OSU need to look in another direction for its head coaching position? Or can coach Mike Riley raise the program from mediocrity as he did in the late 90s?

It's all recorded at Blitz Pearl in Northwest Portland.

 

College football is the answer

Federal employees await a push from the real source of power
Oct. 1, 2013 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

So, if you were like me, you learned a lot about the federal government at 9 p.m. Monday night, Pacific time. That's when the federal government shut down.

My reaction was simple - what's that actually mean?

Will traffic lights still work? They will because they're managed by local governments.

Will schools still open their doors? Yes - local governments.

Will cable still operate? Yes - it's a private business.

The mail? Yes, still there because it's a business, too.

So, what's gonna happen to me?

Will I get a break from photo radar? No way.

Well, that's when the scrolling info on the bottom of my television informed me of the big ticket items:

National parks will be closed. That sucks, but it doesn't affect my daily life.

NASA will shut down. Again, bad news, but we already lost the Space Shuttle and our little guy on Mars doesn't need daily updates, so not a big issue.

Federal employees, many of whom manage the tax system, won't get paid.

And, retirement checks won't get mailed out - there's a big item for older citizens, which I'm not.

I'm basically not affected, other than to wonder if I still have to pay taxes for a government that's not officially working.

Of course I do, because Congress is still getting paid.

And, the military is still operating on foreign soil.

What really happened Monday night is the U.S. just looked stupid to the rest of the world. That's nothing against older Americans and people who operate the government - some of whom I know, but most of America isn't directly affected by the federal government.

Our Congress doesn't even care enough about the nation to pass a budget - a long-term budget, too - to keep itself operating.

Stupid.

Even the nations that have filed for bankruptcy have to be looking over to North America with distain.

That's when it hit me it's time for college football to step up and make the federal budget really important, because what's bad for America is bad for college football.

Yes, college football is the answer to the federal government. And, head coaches are in charge of their programs, so they should step up and make a statement for Americans.

Here's a challenge to the college football coaches of America to step aside on Saturday, or Thursday in the case of Texas, Iowa State, UCLA, Utah, Western Kentucky and Louisiana-Monroe.

Just don't coach, something that will challenge team captains and every player on the roster. Assistants should still work, although they should donate their pay to a non-profit, but the head coach, then every player, should just agree to stop.

How fast would Congress work to pass a budget? Tuesday night might happen, or Wednesday ... Thursday morning at the latest. Texas is playing, and Iowa State wants its chance to hammer the Longhorns just like BYU.

It's not just football, by the way, but college football, which is the most important part of virtually every state in the union. That's why college football head coaches are the highest paid public employee in every state but Alaska.

Pro football is a business, which is why it can shut down and the U.S. still goes about its business. Same thing with Major League Baseball, the NBA, the NHL. They can all cancel an entire season and still not affect daily life. But, not college football.

Hotels will suffer. Gas stations will suffer. Beer sales will suffer.

If college football were to stop, even for one week, every member of Congress would get voted out of office, even the people who will eventually be on the winning side because there isn't a winning side when the government stops paying itself and looks stupid to the world. Citizens might even hold Congress captive on Capitol Hill, letting members leave only when they agree to have "I stopped college football" tattoed on their foreheads.

College football head coaches are the real source of power in America, and this is their opportunity to showcase that fact on behalf of every American.

Again, here's the challenge to college football head coaches, make that statement for America:

"Congress, get back to work and pass a budget, or there will be pain. Real pain."

OSU takes care of another road test

Beavers tame BYU with back-up Cody Vaz at QB and a solid defensive effort
Oct. 13, 2012

Led by a stellar performance from junior Cody Vaz, the Oregon State Beavers not only beat Brigham Young on its home field, it continued moving up in the national rankings with a 42-24 victory Saturday.

Vaz, making his first start, guided the Beavers to a touchdown on their opening poessions and went on to throw for 332 yards and three touchdowns, which earned him the Pac-12 Player of the Week award and even a spot on the ESPN poll for "Impact Player of the Week."

OSU (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12) moved up to No. 8 heading in the national coaches' poll into a home game with Utah Saturday night. The Beavers are No. 10 in the first BCS Poll.

 

TIME FOR "WE ARE OREGON STATE" TO START FILMING

Oct. 10, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

It was bound to happen, happen to OSU and Beaver Nation.

Injuries. Or just one injury.

Sean Mannion. He certainly has not been the most instrumental player in OSU's four-game win streak to open the season, but he's been close.

With Mannion leading the offense at quarterback, the Beavers have done just enough to beat four good teams - three who were either in the Top 25 or had gotten votes that week. Just enough is four wins by a combined 26 points - less than a touchdown per game, and last week's 19-6 win accounted for half that total.

The OSU defense has been the center of the team's rise from preseason obscurity to No. 10 in the nation. Mannion's exit with a knee injury for an unspecified time has cast junior Cody Vaz, who's been on the field for games, but never as THE center of the offense, into a role he wasn't expected to fill this season. So, now, a surprising season that's gotten a school record for attendance at a home game, and dreams of facing Oregon at home in the Civil War for the right to play USC (we all expect that) for the right to play in the Rose Bowl - or better, rests on the offense doing just enough with Vaz at QB.

Just enough has been seven points or less in two of the four wins. That's what the Beavers need to focus on this week as they head for BYU, which is 4-2 with all of the wins at home. The Cougars have scored 21 points or better in four of their games, including three wins.

BYU can put points on a scoreboard. But, the nation will be watching for how many points the Beavers don't allow, and the Cougars also haven't scored a lot. They've scored just six points in a game twice, including last week's 6-3 win over Utah State.

With the untested Vaz at QB, the Beavers will be looking to their ground game to pound out some points, but that's been an issue all season. The team's passing game has been it's core with Mannion throwing for an average of 340 yards per game. Rushing? That's 135 yards per game - 3.1 per carry, and four TDs.

If ever there were a time to break out Markus Wheaton as an older version of Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas, this would be the week.

Without having seen Vaz play even one play, it's hard to assess what his impact on a game will be, but that might be what Beaver fans could look for Saturday - that Vaz doesn't need to be a big part of the game because the other parts of the Beavers work so well together - especially on defense.

If OSU clamps down on the Cougars, especially early, there's room to take another step forward into the Top 10 heading into a road game at Washington.

 

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