News item: Oregon State Coach Gary Andersen walks away from $12 million in guaranteed salary.

Reaction: Yep, that’s how badly Andersen wanted out of Corvallis. The coach was willing to quit, mid-season, with four years left on his contract. He dumped Oregon State like Liz Taylor used to dump husbands: “Just get me out of this!” Some people are giving Andersen credit for not holding Oregon State hostage for the next four years. Others would call him a quitter for leaving a bad Beavers’ team, at its lowest point.  One thing is clear: Andersen has severely damaged his ability to to ever quit on a team again. He also walked out on Wisconsin after only one season, remember, and also (allegedly, not verified, scurrilous rumor) out of an Appleton Applebees without paying his bill.

Andersen also trashed his Oregon State assistant coaches, as revealed in texts to love-to-read columnist John Canzano of the the Oregonian:  Andersen (Sept. 20):“I hired the wrong (expletive) guys and are still working our way through a bunch of recruiting years that stunk!! It’s year three! If these (expletives) can’t get it right I will not just say fire them and start over!! That’s not the way to go about it. If I (expletive) it up that bad I will take the bullet and ride off into the sunset! I will stay old school!! I will not die doing this (expletive)!! Stay tuned!”

Which leads us, appropriately, to Washington State Coach Mike Leach’s quote of the week. He wasn’t referring to foul-mouthed  Gary Andersen, but this seems perfect for the occasion: “Like Huckleberry Finn said, ‘Some days I just have to swear to get a good taste in my mouth.'”

What was Mike Leach referring to? I’m still not sure. He dropped the Huck reference at his weekly press conference during a dissertation on why college football should adopt an NFL-type playoff.

One thing is for sure: Like Huck, you never know what’s coming out of Leach’s mouth.

Anyway, back on point: is it hard to win at Oregon State? Yes. Is it impossible? No. Mike Riley and Dennis Erickson proved that. Just consider Erickson’s marvelous 11-1 season in 2000, capped by 41-9 win over Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. Oregon State’s only loss that season was 33-30 at Washington. Did Erickson have to cheat to get that season? Maybe. Is cheating always a fair exchange for an 11-1 campaign, especially in a college town starving for attention? Probably. Mike Riley also went 10-4 at Oregon State in 2006 and had three other nine-win seasons.

Andersen flees Oregon State after going 7-23 in two-plus seasons. Actually, that two-plus was a big minus.


News item: The University of Florida is breaking out new uniforms for this week’s game against Texas A&M.

Reaction: This could be the school’s worst mistake since the Gators goofed and put a crocodile on the cover of their 2003 media guide. The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here.