Canzano: Oregon State's late heroics come too late for some
Beavers still flying under the radar.
It was 11:13 p.m. Pacific Time on Saturday night when Oregon State’s Jack Colletto took a snap, rumbled right, and threw himself into the end zone at Fresno State.
Oregon State won a wild game, 35-32.
The Beavers improved to 2-0. I filed a column on what was a great game and headed out after 1 a.m. local time. As I did, I wondered about who else might have stayed up to watch the game.
Matt Brown is a senior editor at The Athletic. He specializes in college-football coverage and lives in Pennsylvania. Brown was up after 2 a.m. EDT, editing stories as he typically is during college football season.
“Had the Oregon State and BYU games going side by side,” he told me.
Brown is one of 63 voters in the AP’s weekly Top-25 college football poll. He’s used to being lobbied and nitpicked over his ballot. I’m not here to do that. It’s a thankless job and I don’t envy it. But I noted that Brown happened to be one of only 16 voters who included the Beavers on his ballot — slotting OSU at No. 23.
On Sunday, when the weekly AP Poll was released, Oregon State was left out. It was another sobering reminder of the impact of geography and late kickoffs on national perception. The Beavers, with two nice victories in two weeks, didn’t receive enough points to register among the Top 25 teams.
Brett McMurphy, of the Action Network, was also up late that night. In the wee hours, he watched the end of Oregon State’s game from his home in Tampa, Fla. McMurphy told me on Monday that he was impressed by head coach Jonathan Smith’s decision to go for the win.
Said McMurphy, via text: “I’ve just always thought he’s one of the most underrated coaches in the nation and doesn’t get enough credit based on geography/time zone. Same goes for Oregon State. Very solid team.”
McMurphy ranked the Beavers at No. 25 and turned in his ballot. But Oregon State didn’t make the vast majority of ballots. The geographic breakdown on that front is an interesting study. Oregon State received votes in Oregon, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Wyoming and Nevada. It registered on a ballot cast from Nebraska, one from Louisiana, and another from Kansas. But outside of Brown and McMurphy, OSU only made two other ballots cast from the Eastern Time Zone.
Nathan Baird, who covers Ohio State for Cleveland.com placed the Beavers at No. 23 and Zach Klein of WSB-TV in Atlanta put the Beavers at No. 25. Beyond that, Smith’s team got shut out in the east.
Said McMurphy: “Oregon State handled Boise State and that was a tough spot, playing at Fresno State. Just ask the ACC teams that lost on the road at G5 opponents, or Notre Dame or Texas A&M.”
Why does it matter?
It mostly doesn’t at this point. But No. 7-ranked USC will visit Corvallis on Sept. 24. and I woke on Sunday wondering if ESPN’s College Game Day might consider showing up if both teams were undefeated and ranked in the Top 25. That kind of exposure would be incredibly valuable to the Beavers and Pac-12.
Instead, it was announced Monday that the USC-OSU game will kick off at 6:30 p.m. on the Pac-12 Network. I can’t be alone in wondering how in the world it was not selected by FOX or ESPN for an earlier, bigger kickoff window?
Answer: USC must appear a minimum of three times on the Pac-12 Networks this season. ESPN and FOX are keeping their options open later in the season when the Trojans may be chasing a playoff spot.
Rankings are naturally subjective. It may be that voters just weren’t impressed with the way Oregon State looked in beating Boise State and Fresno State. It’s possible the regional bias extends to those two programs, too. Maybe voters don’t respect them either? Or it may be that voters didn’t see Colletto’s do-or-die TD run while asleep at 2:13 a.m. ET on Sunday morning.
I’ll be curious to see if there’s a one-week lag in respect for the Beavers. They play Montana State this week in what should be a victory — right? — at a neutral site. Oregon State hasn’t started a season 3-0 since 2014.
A few other things…
• USC quarterback Caleb Williams started the football season as a 12-to-1 shot to win the Heisman. The book now has him at 3-to-1, just behind the favorite, CJ Stroud. The Ohio State quarterback is 5-to-2.
• Oregon hosts BYU on Saturday. It’s a huge test for Dan Lanning’s team. The Cougars were 5-0 last season against Pac-12 teams. I think the success of Oregon’s season hinges on its ability to handle BYU at home.
• I noted in a Sunday-morning column that Dan Lanning ought to take a victory lap and celebrate his first win as a head coach. I don’t care that it came against a Big Sky opponent, enjoy it. Life’s victories are often fleeting.
• Did you know Oregon State two-way star Jack Colletto has a clothing line? The “JACKHAMMER” brand even has a website, where you can shop. You can buy a hat, a sweatshirt or even a onesie for your newborn. I reached out to the operator of the site, Ryan, who told me, “Definitely an exciting couple weeks for Jack and the Beavs!”
In the 24 hours after Saturday's game, Colletto’s website had more than 3,000 visitors. That’s three times the previous 24-hour high for the site.
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