Space hippies race to victory

By Jeff Petersen, The Observer November 17, 2011 09:11 pm
“Our hippies smell better than your hippies.”

Signs like this pop up when “College Gameday,” the ESPN-TV show that airs between 6 and 9 Saturday mornings, is filmed in either California or Oregon. And when football teams from the hairiest states in the nation play later that day.

Whether you are a sports fan or not, the show is worth a view.

Last Saturday the show was televised from Palo Alto, site of the Stanford-Oregon game that evening. The best sign in the forest of signs read, “Oregon is full of space hippies.”

The obscure reference comes from a “Star Trek: The Original Series” episode broadcast Feb. 21, 1969, in which the Enterprise is hijacked by a doctor and his fanatical space hippie followers.

Back to the present. Stanford football fans, as expected, dominated the dawn “College Gameday” gloom. Still, a few stalwart Duck fans held signs like “Stanford’s Luck runs out tonight,” in reference to Heisman Trophy-candidate quarterback Andrew Luck, or “Cut down the Tree” in reference to the goofy Cardinal mascot.

All kinds of signs sprouted, everything from duck soup and duck hunting to a charge that the Duck mascot cheats on his pushups. The mascot does a pushup for every point the Ducks score in a game, even if the point total exceeds 50.

That’s a lot of pushups.

There was also a fan waving the WSU Cougar flag. He shows up at every “Gameday,” whether the show airs from Baton Rouge or from the Field of Blue Dreams in Boise.

By the time the Stanford-Oregon game started at 5 that afternoon, excitement reigned.

Then the Ducks, known for their speed, slogged onto the field. Viewers were startled. The Ducks looked as if they were wearing concrete boots.

The bigger, more muscular and significantly slower Cardinal marched on too, digging up clumps of soggy turf.

Despite growing the grass to nearly ankle high down on The Farm in Palo Alto, despite a rainstorm that may have been amplified by additional field watering, the Ducks beat Stanford 53-30.

The win moves the home-state heroes up from No. 7 to No. 4 in the BCS standings, the position the previously unbeaten Cardinal held a week earlier.

BCS stands for Bowl Championship Series, or as some people say, Big Can of Stink.

The BCS poll determines which two teams play for the national championship. Many observers think the BCS should be replaced by a playoff, as is used in most smaller divisions of football, so a true national champion could be crowned.

Many observers believe this even if their team is playing in the BCS title game, as Oregon did last year.

As for the Stanford-Oregon game, one thing is clear: “Our Oregon hippies are faster than your California hippies.”

And if the Duck mascot cheats on his 53rd pushup, I can’t say I blame him.

Reach the author at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it