It was a bittersweet end to the decade for OSU. We lost badly in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas (horrible bowl game name btw), and we lost two straight Civil War games with Rose Bowl implications, the second of which sent the Ducks to Pasadena (at least they lost right?). The end of the decade was a disappointment, however let's not forget where we came from.
In the 1970s the Beavers went 27-83 with only one winning season (1970) as Dee Andros' career in Corvallis came to a close and we saw the ill-fated regime of Craig Fertig carry us through the rest of the decade.
The '80s proved even more futile as the newly appointed HC Joe Avezzano began his regime and the decade with an 0-11 season. Avezzano wouldn't last long and would eventually be replaced by Dave Kragthorpe who would get us through the end of the decade. All in all the Beavs went 22-85-4 with no winning seasons.
The beginning of '90s transitioned seamlessly from the '80s as the losses just kept on coming, though the end of the decade would see a beacon of hope with the program beginning to rise under Mike Riley, and continuing their ascension under Dennis Erickson. The decade record was 29-81-1 with one winning season (our first since 1970) in 1999.
Collectively it was an abysmal three decades with a cumulative record of 78-249-5, and a bowl record of 0-2.
Now to the good stuff, the decade where we were actually successful. The 2000s started off with a bang. Dennis Erickson led the Beavers to an 11-1 record, a Pac-10 Co-Championship, and a Fiesta Bowl trouncing of Notre Dame.
While the next year was a colossal disappointment with a 5-6 record in 2001, we recovered in Erickson's final year as our HC with an 8-5 record and a loss in the Insight Bowl. 2003 saw Mike Riley continued with the winning ways with an 8-5 record and a victory in the Las Vegas Bowl (now the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas). Then 2004 was another winning year, although it was another year in the middle of the Pac-10. The Beavers went 7-5 with a victory in the Insight Bowl against Notre Dame.
The year 2005 would prove to be the low point in Mike Riley's second time around as the HC in Corvallis. The team went 5-6 and many fans (including your humble narrator) called for him to be fired. His tenure continued and 2006 would prove to be his most successful year despite a 2-3 start and continued calls for his job. The Beavs finished third in the Pac-10 with a 10-4 record (Riley's only 10 win season to date). OSU would conclude the year with thrilling victory over Missouri 39-38.
Then 2007 would prove to be another strong year despite another slow 2-3 start as OSU went 9-4 and finished third in the Pac-10 but had to settle for an appearance in the Emerald Bowl against Maryland, a game they would win 21-14.
The year 2008 looked like a disaster as OSU started 0-2 after losses to Stanford and Penn St. After a home win against Hawaii, OSU faced off against No. 1 USC. On this Thursday night clash on ESPN, the rest of the country would meet a small freshman running back named Jacquizz Rodgers. The Beavers won but again found themselves at 2-3 five games into the season. They would win all of their games leading up to the Civil War. With the Rose Bowl on the line for OSU, the Beavs came out and... well... I'm guessing we all know how that one ended. The Beavers would head to the Sun Bowl and win a 3-0 game against Pitt in which both teams were depleted by injuries. Oregon State would finish 9-4 and tied for second in the Pac-10
2009 got of to a good start with a 2-0 record, but after losing to the eventual Big East champs in Cincinnati and to Arizona at home the Beavs fell to a 2-2 record. They managed to avoid a 2-3 start for a forth consecutive year, and came into the Civil War game with winner takes the Pac-10 stakes. I already went over the end of this season at the outset of this article, but the Beavs would finish 8-5, tied for second in the Pac-10.
It was a hell of a time to be a Beaver fan as the Beavs went 80-45 on the decade with four consecutive top 3 finishes in the Pac-10 to end the decade. We also got to see fantastic athletes grace the field at Reser Stadium during that time. Players and such as: Chad Ochocinco, TJ Houshmandzadeh, Johnathon Smith, Ken Simonton, Steven Jackson, DeLawrence Grant, Richard Siegler, Mitch Meeuwsen, Dennis Weathersby, Mike Hass, Matt Moore, Yvenson Bernard, Derrick Doggett, Alexis Serna, Jeremy Perry, Sammie Stroughter, Roy Scheuning, Andy Levitre, Sean Canfield, Lyle Moevao, Stephen Paea, Victor Butler, Slade Norris, Sabby Piscitelli, Al Afalava, Jacquizz and James Rodgers, Keaton Kristick, and others.
The end of the decade left a bad taste in our mouth, but collectively the bad moments were few when compared to the great memories I have of the past 10 years of rooting for Oregon State football.
PS How many people can find my "A Clockwork Orange" reference?