One of the most telling bits of information on Monday’s Fiesta Bowl, at least as far as Oregon State is concerned, was written the other day by Blaine Newnham in the Seattle Times. Newnham wrote: “Oregon State began the college football season with a two-point win over Eastern Washington. The Beavers enter their final game a three-point favorite over Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl.”
Newnham also pointed out that, while Notre Dame never played Oregon State, there was an agreement between the Beavers and Knute Rockne for a game in the ‘30s. That, of course, was wiped out when Rockne died in the plane crash.
Oregon State and Notre Dame shared two opponents, and results in those games shed little additional evidence toward the outcome Monday. Oregon State beat USC, 31-21, and Stanford, 38-6. Both games were in Corvallis. Notre Dame beat Stanford in South Bend, 20-14, and USC in the Coliseum, 38-21.
Much discussion here centers on whether Oregon State will be in awe of Notre Dame and play tight. One Beaver player not likely to feel that is backup tailback Patrick McCall, who played at Michigan in 1997-98 before transferring to Corvallis. The Wolverines were 1-1 against the Irish those years, and McCall recalled the massive hoopla around those games. “It’s wild,” he said.
An indication that the Beavers are anything but tight came from Oregon State quarterback Jonathan Smith Saturday morning, when he said, only half joking, “We’re itching to play. We’ve been here [practicing in Scottsdale] too long, and we are starting to shoot off our mouths too much.”