Since last weekend, the Sporting News has ranked and reviewed three of Oregon State's key opponents this season.
UCLA, ranked 44, was their pick as "the most improved team in the Pac-10." Rick Neuheisel's Bruins, in SN's estimation, is poised to make the biggest jump of all PAC-10 teams, from their 8th. place finish last season. The Bruins will be in town on Halloween, and how scary Reser will be will probably be one of the defining moments with regard to both teams' post season hopes.
Monday, the Cincinatti Bearcats came in 46 in the countdown. The defending Big East champions, who will be in Corvallis Sept. 19th., return one of the better QBs coming back anywhere in , but have to almost completely reload the defense, and a lot of the offense as well. Previously, SN columnist Matt Hayes put Bearcat coach Brian Kelly #5 on his list of top 5 coaches, a list that not surprisingly also contains USC's Pete Carroll. See page 25 of the July 14th. edition of Sporting News Today.
Last Saturday, Dennis Erickson's Arizona State Sun Devils, who will host the Beavers on Oct. 3, was placed 48th. on the SN list. With an early schedule that should see the Devils be at least 2-1 when Oregon State comes to town, the game could be one of the most pivital on the PAC-10 schedule, as ASU could reasonably expect to go 6-1, or 7-0 with an upset win at Georgia, before the toughest part of the season rolls around if they can cook the Beavers.