When Oregon took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter of the Civil War a couple weeks back, I was all prepared to write a column saying the Oregon State football should not accept a bowl berth even if they received an invitation.

My feeling was this season needed to end, and end on that Friday night in Autzen Stadium.

What good could come from playing another game after back-to-back embarrassing performances and with a five-game losing streak to boot.

It seemed like the right call early in the second quarter. The Beavers were coming off a 69-27 debacle against Washington six days earlier and they showed no signs of being able to compete with the Ducks.

A week before the UW game, coach Mike Riley said the team played like a middle school team at times against Arizona State.

And who could forget the Beavers opened the season with a humbling loss to FCS power Eastern Washington?

The fan base was so upset they wanted Riley fired, among others on the coaching staff.

So I figured if they went to a bowl game at 6-6 and lost it would be that much worse than turning down a bid and staying home.

Yes, coaches swear that the 15 extra bowl practices are huge for continuing to teach, especially the younger players, but who would really want to be out there?

But what transpired over the final three quarters of that Civil War game made me start to change my mind.

The Beavers showed again they have the ability to compete with a top team, nearly pulling off the upset before suffering a gut-wrenching 36-35 win as the Ducks scored in the closing minute.

They had also showed that ability against Stanford at home. And if not for a mistake or two here or there, they could have upset the Cardinal.

Even after the game, I still felt it had to be a good fit for the Beavers to accept a bowl bid.

So when they were invited to Hawaii Bowl on Sunday to take on Boise State, I thought it was a pretty darn good fit.

While it is spendy for fans to get to Hawaii these days, it’s a great destination.

Yes, it is true the Beavers are scheduled to play Hawaii there in September, but I still think many fans will be up to spend Christmas there.

And there is the added bonus of having the men’s basketball team in action at the same time.

The Beavers are taking part in the Diamond Head Classic, which begins Dec. 22 and lasts through the 25th.

Ironically, so does Boise State.

But playing in Hawaii is also important from a recruiting standpoint for the Beavers.

It’s no secret the Beavers have many ties to the area and it can only help to keep that pipeline alive and well.

Of course, they must play well on the field.

It won’t be an easy task against a Boise State team in transition after losing head coach Chris Petersen to Washington.

Lose, and the Beavers’ offseason is even longer knowing they finished with a losing record.

And the angry fan base will have more ammunition.

Win, and it takes away a bit of the sting of the final five-game stretch and could be a springboard into a better 2014 season.

Steve Gress is the sports editor for the Corvallis Gazette-Times. He can be reached at steve.gress@lee.net or twitter.com/stevegress19.

Steve Gress is the sports editor of the Corvallis Gazette-Times. He can be reached at steve.gress@lee.net.

Sports editor of the Corvallis Gazette-Times and Albany Democrat-Herald

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