This had better be a solid performance by the Beavers, or some serious new questions will arise. The Cougars have some weapons, but all recent evidence suggests they don't have enough to make a diffinitive difference, and justifies why much of their fan and media base have reached the point of trying to pretend their football team doesn't exist (someone else's words, not mine).
Oregon St. simply has to get Jacquizz Rodgers going, and run well against a Washington St. defense that is 119th. out of 120 FBS teams in run defense. With USC, a trip to Stanford, and Oregon still on the schedule, and needing two more wins to achieve the minimum standard for the season (read bowl trip), this game on Dad's day is a must win for Oregon St.
Otherwise, Wazzu won't be the only Northwest state college facing the reality of the end of the season not mattering.
In recent seasons, despite some serious failure to fires, Oregon St. has tended to respond when backed into a corner, even if the being in that corner is significantly of their own making. That's what this feels like. Football basics will come into play, ie run the ball, score the ball. Rush Jeff Tuel, watch some WSU drives stall. Win the special teams battle, win the field position battle. And the must win game came and went a while ago for the Pullman crew.
The line is Oregon St. by 23.5 points, a number Beavers coach Mike Riley declared to be "Crazy". I tend to agree, as do quite a few other, who all see the Beavers winning, but by a little less than that. Prediction: Oregon St. 34 Washington St. 17.
After the last-second loss to UCLA, the players should be pretty pumped up for this one. Hopefully we'll see the same team that beat California and Arizona, instead of the group that played against UW and UCLA. Beaver Nation will have a job as well on Saturday, making Reser loud and letting the players feed off of all the energy they provide.
Let's not kid ourselves, this Washington State team isn't very good. That's not to say that they aren't dangerous, every Pac-10 team is. But we should win this one easily if we are able to contain Quarterback Jeff Tuel. In every game the Cougars have competed in this season, Tuel has kept them in the game.
Turning the attention to the Beavers, it would be nice to see Jacquizz have a big game. He probably won't need one, but it would be nice to have some confidence in Quizz and our O-Line going into the USC game. In the end I would just like to see a win, however it may come. We just need to take care of business and then turn our attention to USC and bowl-eligibility. Prediction: Oregon State-28, Washington State-14
Going to be brutally honest, and probably a bit unfair to the team, but I am expecting nothing less than a statement game against WSU.
Yes I know a W is a W, and yes I know it is WSU, but with how things have gone this season, and what the Beavs have left on their schedule, I just personally expect nothing less than a game where the Beavs are in full control and make a statement that yes they can play with fire and be pissed off. Mistakes and sloppiness could happen in the game, but I want to see that as a result of being up like they were on Cal at halftime.
Elsewhere, Oregon should be covering their 20 point spread at Cal, despite the fact that the Ducks haven't won down there in 9 years, and have lost four of the last five meetings. Even the Bear's Berkeley magic, where they are winning by an average of just under 40 points per game, won't work against the video game (and that is said as a term of respect) that is the Ducks this year.
The bigger questions is what will Oregon coach Chip Kelly do about quarterback once the game is decided, and there is still time left. This week, I suspect Darron Thomas will play it out, preserving freshman Brian Bennett's redshirt until after the Duck's bye week. If Kelly can get some good work in the extra practice time, he may not feel getting garbage time snaps is that important in getting Bennett ready to make a difference in a game, should it come to that.
USC at Arizona is the competitive game of the week, and while the 'Cats are 4.5 point favorites, there is a lot of support for a Trojan win. Nick Foles, back at QB for Arizona, and without Matt Scott as a backup, now that he's hurt his wrist, vs. Matt Barkley, who has proven the most durable QB in the conference, as well as a pretty good one, is the key matchup. The 'Zonz Zoo is the first real hostile crowd USC will face, and Oregon St. fans are well aware that they are a force. I see SC making a statement though, which could have bowl consequences. Trojans take a close one.
Stanford is a 5.5 point favorite in Tempe, and this one won't have bowl consequences. Andrew Luck is looking like the pro he is projected to be, playing well, though his numbers don't always look that spectacular. His opponents don't seem to have a chance though, which is the mark of a quarterback that has full control of the situation. The Sun Devils have the speed to make the game interesting, but the Cardinal have the talent to put Arizona St. fan base out of their bowl game misery.