Welcome back to the second installment of the West’s Best Bets, this week we are traveling down the I-5 through the weirdest city in America en route to Corvallis, Oregon – the home of Oregon State University and their beloved Beavers.
I am just going to say it, Portland and the state of Oregon is weird. I remember growing up in the 70’s and seeing full-serve versus self-serve gas stations but I found out that it was illegal to pump your own gas…and they literally go berserk if you touch a gas pump. I had heard all of the stories that Portland was strange and I moved quickly through the hippy Mecca on my way to my happy place -a college town with keg stands, $2 PBR’s and frolicking co-eds.
This week’s competition begins in the small-ish town of Corvallis located a couple miles west of the interstate and is the home to Oregon State University, a sprawling 400-acre campus located in the southwest portion of the city that is situated in the middle of the Willamette Valley which is equidistant to the coastline on the west and the Cascade mountain range on the east. The judging begins…
- Football – Bowl Record of 10-5 with a Rose Bowl record of 1-2 and five Conference Championships.
- Men’s Basketball – 16 tournament appearances, six Sweet Sixteens and two Final Fours. 20 regular season Championships and a CBI Championship in 2009.
- Baseball – 13 Tournament appearances, four College World Series appearances and back to back Championships in 2006 and 2007 along with 22 regular season Conference Championships.
- National Championships in Wrestling and Men’s Cross Country.
With the exception of the incredible back to back Championships in baseball, the teams of OSU haven’t done much in the past couple decades, for this I award Oregon State University 20 out of a possible 30 points.
I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of beautiful women on campus. It must be the whole global and environmental awareness of Oregon that brings out the “hotties in hoodies” in Corvallis. It is no surprise that two Playboy Playmates of the Year have come from Oregon State including Jodi Ann Peterson in 2000 and Sara Jean Underwood in 2007 – 22 out of 25 possible points.
Local Bars & Pubs
For a town with some 50,000 residents and a student population of roughly half of that, Corvallis and Oregon State has a great number of local hangouts and breweries including national favorites Deschutes Brewery, Widmer Brothers, Rogue & Full Sail Brewing Company within 100 miles in any direction – 17 out of 20 possible points.
Corvallis has a strange temperature thing going on, it is most always overcast, but the rain doesn’t fall as much as it does up in Washington. About an hour drive to the beach or coastline, because it isn’t too “beachy” – remember “The Goonies?” At an elevation of only 235 feet above sea level, the temperature rarely gets into the 90’s in the summer but does average 5 inches of snowfall annually – 8 out of 15 possible points.
The State of Oregon’s largest public research university and is one of only two universities in the country to have Land, Sea, Sun & Space Grant designations. The school ranks #4 among sustainable universities for using renewable energy. They rank #1 nationally in five separate programs. The incoming GPA in 2012 was 3.53 and they have a presence in all 36 counties in Oregon – 7 out of 10 possible points.
FINAL GRADE 74%
Leaving Corvallis with a smile on my face, I head back to the I-5 and head an hour south to Eugene and the University of Oregon. For as big as Oregon is, coming in as the 9th largest state in the Union, the population is concentrated along the interstate with 80% within 20 miles on the 110 mile stretch from Portland to Eugene. The city of Eugene is the 2nd most populous city in the state and is the birthplace of Nike, which has since moved to Beaverton in the metro Portland area.
- Football – 1 National Championship appearance, Bowl Record of 10-15 with six Rose Bowl appearances, winning two and 10 Conference Championships.
- Men’s Basketball – 10 tournament appearances, four Sweet Sixteens, one Final Four and one National Championship in 1939 as well as a CBI Championship in 2011. They have four regular season Championships and two Conference Tournament Championships.
- Baseball – 4 Tournament appearances and one College World Series appearance.
- 19 total National Championships including Cross Country and Track & Field for the Men & Women.
The University of Oregon football team is currently ranked the #2 team in the country and has been a force to be reckoned with since 2000. Prior to that, the only thing that UO was famous for was their track teams. Rose Bowl appearances and a National Championship in Basketball in the 30’s and 40’s but a long 60 year stretch where nothing happened of note- for this I award the University of Oregon 20 out of a possible 30 points.
I have been in love with the University of Oregon cheerleaders for quite some time now. How would I hear of UO cheerleaders in the desert you may ask? Arizona State football player Aaron Pflugrad has a twin sister, Amanda who was a UO cheerleader and current Fox Sports mega-babe. I could go on for days about the lovely ladies in Eugene but I have to stop myself– 24 out of 25 possible points.
Local Bars & Pubs
The Eugene-Springfield metro area has over 300,000 residents and a student population of approximately 25,000 students. UO students will not have a problem finding a great place to sit back and watch the game with a bunch of friends and brews or even fancy it up a bit with a higher class of restaurants and brewpubs. As mentioned before there are several breweries statewide yet Eugene has many of their very own including Ninkasi Brewing Company, Steelhead Brewing Company & Oakshire Brewing – 18 out of 20 possible points.
Surrounded by forest land to the south, east & west you would expect Eugene to be a winter haven. Yet, at an elevation of only 426 feet above sea level, the temperature rarely gets into the 90’s in the summer and has less rain and snow than Corvallis to the north which is basically in flat, farming land. The city center of Eugene has an urban heat island due to the asphalt which rises the temps a little as well – 8 out of 15 possible points.
The University of Oregon offers nearly 300 academic programs with more than 25 research centers and institutes statewide including locations in Portland, on the coast in Charleston and atop Pine Mountain. The incoming GPA in 2012 was 3.59 and a median class size of only 19 students for the hands on personal experience. Former students include Nike founders Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman, the CEO’s of Columbia Sportswear, Palm, Inc. and Gucci as well as the Principal Owner of the Golden State Warriors and the General Manager of the New Orleans Saints – 7 out of 10 possible points.
FINAL GRADE 77%
This was a lot closer than I thought it was going to with the University of Oregon taking the slim victory of Oregon State University. The breweries and the women really do justice for the state of Oregon or at least that 110 mile stretch from Portland to Eugene. If you are environmentally conscious and looking for a little bit of weirdness in your college, city and lifestyle, you can’t do much better than the two state universities, but ultimately, UO emerges the victor based on my criteria.