HONOLULU, HAWAII — Things run on their own time in paradise, so is it really that big of a deal that the Oregon State team plane, full of players, coaches, administrators and a variety of family members, showed up two hours late?
Based on the wide smile stretched across OSU coach Mike Riley's face when he walked off the bus and into the Waikiki Sheraton, it didn't matter a bit.
The Beavers arrived in Hawaii Thursday around 4:30 local time — two hours later than planned — but there was no practice Friday, so they weren't technically late for anything. About 240 people made the journey for the Hawaii Bowl, where OSU will take on the Boise State Broncos at 5 p.m. PST on Dec. 24.
This is a bare-bones version of a bowl trip: There are no cheerleaders and no band, and there are limited alumni association events planned (and no travel packages offered) because Oregon State is trying to do this on a budget. The Beavers are expected to use 1,300 tickets of their 2,000 allotment, but they've only sold 300.
"We're working our way through it," said athletic director Bob De Carolis, who had told The Oregonian a couple weeks ago that the Beavers would have to "get creative" to pay for a bowl trip.
"We're still working to balance the budget," De Carolis said Thursday. "It's a moving target."
Hawaii is an expensive vacation for anyone, and because of the short turnaround, ticket prices were astronomical. Most players families can't make the trip, which senior cornerback Rashaad Reynolds says is disappointing. But if the payoff is a week in the sunshine, Reynolds said he'll put up with it.
"What matters is that this is a good bowl game for our kids," De Carolis said. "(Boise State) is no slouch; it's a great program and it'll be a big challenge."
This is the first trip of the year that OSU couldn't send all its gear ahead in its equipment truck, so finding a plane big enough for the Beavers travel party — and then making sure all the gear was placed correctly so the weight was evenly distributed — proved to be tough, and more expensive than usual. Typically Oregon State flies out of Eugene, but that airport couldn't provide enough food for the entire travel party, which meant the Beavers had to bus to PDX first. Then they were delayed for almost two hours as a mechanical issue was resolved.
Riley said the Beavers pretty much had the run of their part of the airport, so the delay wasn't too bad. Once they were in flight, everything "went smoothly." Coaches' families made the trip, too, which meant the 767 they flew on was full of little kids.
"I think it was the loudest trip we've ever had," Riley laughed.
All-American receiver Brandin Cooks, who has literally been all over the country the past couple weeks picking up awards, laughed when he heard Riley's comment adding, "tell me about it!"
Cooks' first priority once the Beavers dropped off their bags?
"Man, I'm ready to go lay down and take a nap," he said.
Hey, it might be paradise, but you've still got to sleep.