So he walked on at Oregon State. During his redshirt season, Smith dutifully ran the scout team, and the following spring he surprised everyone by earning the backup job behind incoming junior college All-America Terrance Bryant. That fall, something magical happened. With Oregon State down 21 points at Washington, Smith came on in relief and gunned a 90-yard touchdown pass. Then he completed an 80-yard pass for another touchdown. By the time it was over, Smith had passed for 469 yards in barely more than a half, and although the Beavers lost 35-34, the quarterback nobody wanted had won the job. And a scholarship.
Erickson admits that when he first met Smith, he thought he was an equipment manager. "He's not a real big guy," Erickson says, "but he's smart, he's accurate, and he probably understands the game better than anyone else in college football." Smith had a huge game against Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl—305 yards and three touchdowns—but he says last year's 23-13 triumph in Corvallis meant even more. "Notre Dame was great," he says, "but there was something special about beating your rival for part of the Pac-10 championship." What's more, Smith outplayed Harrington, who was intercepted five times and fumbled once. "I get physically ill when I think about last year," says Harrington, who concedes that he thinks about it every day.
Yet even Civil Wars have their moments of detente. In June, Harrington and Smith, the Princess and the Frog, rode together in the back of a Pontiac convertible, greeting 350,000 screaming Portlanders as the co-grand marshals of the Rose Festival Starlight Parade. They talked about family and school and golf—and the strangest thing happened. "It was a really fun deal," says Harrington. "Jonathan is a nice person, and it was good to see him outside the football atmosphere."
A pregnant pause follows. "Of course," says Harrington, "on December 1 that's out the window."