Crowds prove it: This state is ready
How was that for a sports weekend in Oregon? I mean, what I always hear is that this state isn't ready for big-time sports, that there are too many other things to do than be a spectator.
Yeah, tell me about it. On a Saturday made for biking, hiking, skating or any of those other 'ing' sports, an eye-popping total of 101,320 people showed up to watch Oregon, Oregon State and Portland State play football. And that doesn't even count the crowds at small-college games. Oh, and another 12,000 were at Columbia Edgewater for the LPGA Safeway Classic, a day after the tourney's biggest Friday crowd in memory.
Here's a look at the big weekend:
nÊSafeway Classic: The weather was nearly perfect for most of the tournament, and you add nothing but class when you etch Annika Sorenstam's name on your trophy. This is a first-class event that often is taken for granted in Portland. And, yes, I'd say that even if the Portland Tribune didn't sponsor the pro-am.
nÊDucks blow out Idaho: It doesn't take a genius to see what a mess college football has become because of the lack of a playoff. Oregon advances into the top 10 of the coaches' poll after a win over Idaho. Problem is, the Ducks did not play well against a team they shouldn't be playing in the first place. But you have to get some nonconference wins, and teams are reluctant to kiss their bowl hopes goodbye by playing a tough schedule.
But I don't think playing Idaho, or Portland State this weekend, does much in the long run to make you a good football team. I think it's possible that Washington State progressed more by losing at Ohio State than Oregon did by beating the Vandals. But in this world of polls instead of playoffs, what's the smart thing to do?
nÊBeavers explode: OK, the coaches still don't have the Beavers ranked in the top 25. Think that makes any sense? I can't see that it does. We'll learn a lot more about the Beavers this weekend when they meet Fresno State, which is good enough to finish fourth or fifth in the Pac-10. But that OSU show against UNLV was very impressive.
nÊVikings win in OT: The best performance by a running back in Oregon on Saturday? Not even close. Portland State's Ryan Fuqua, with his team trailing by a touchdown, carried 16 times on a 17-play drive for the tying score with six minutes to go. He accounted for all but eight yards on the 76-yard drive, carrying the ball 14 straight times when everyone in PGE Park knew he would be getting it. He's one tough hombre and was just about the lone highlight of a game that featured eight fumbles, four interceptions and 225 yards of penalties.
On a day when the Beavers and Ducks filled their stadiums, it was pretty impressive that the Viks managed to attract 10,012.