The Dam Links 10/18/2013:  California...

Ezra Shaw

...Dreamin'? Girls? Angels? Motor Speedway? Pizza Kitchen? I got nothin'.

Oregon State goes into Cal this weekend, trailing in the all time series 31-34. After WSU, that's the closest we've come to .500 in any series against a Pac-10 school. OSU has won 11 of the last 14, and has also won 5 straight games in Berkeley, the last loss coming in 1997. And although they have won five straight in Berkeley, they have not won five straight road games against Cal, though, as the 2011 loss came at AT&T Park in San Francisco, while Memorial Stadium was under repair. Last year's 62-14 Beaver win was the largest point differential in the series' history.

For the second weekend in a row, Oregon State plays at a divisional foe whose home stadium they haven't played in since 2009. That's an odd stat, which I realized from reading Oregon State's official game preview; there's lots of other useful info as well. Another morsel: last week's OSU-WSU matchup featured the top two passing offenses in the Pac-12. Oddly, this week's OSU-Cal matchup does too, since OSU's defense managed to knock WSU out of second.

Connor Letourneau has a really nice piece on the Beavers' pace kick holder, and the bond that he and Trevor Romaine share. As someone who watched the Seahawk game in person last week, I can attest to the importance of the holder in the kicking game. The last second field goal try at the end of the Eastern Washington game was so rushed that they didn't follow their normal routine.

Letourneau also talks to first down specialist Kevin Cummings.

Tired of late games? You're not the only one; Mike Riley is too. Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News breaks down the TV politics behind it all; Wilner believes Fox is the reason for the sudden spike in the number of night games this year. (There's more to it than that, though.)

Kirk Herbstreit is a Beaver believer.

Liffey Bear of California Golden Blogs does a fantastic job of breaking down Oregon State's offense. On CGB, Berkelium97 does a similar job analyzing how the Beavers make so many different plays look like a run. These articles are both highly recommended.

Sean Mannion won his third Manning Award Player of the Week this week. it should be noted that this is a fan-voted award, so it really boils down to whose fan-base's grass roots effort won out. Beaver fans seem to be well versed in voting for the Manning Award, which I keep inadvertently typing out as the Mannion Award.

The Pac-12 blog provides some storylines to keep an eye on this week in the Pac-12. They also offer up their predictions.

VegasInsider provides the spread on tomorrow's game. Ken Goe doesn't expect any problems for the Beavers in Berkeley.

Athlon provides a Pac-12 mid-season report, and predictions for the second half of the year. The Pac-12 blog has an Oregon State specific midseason report, and they provide a second half preview as well.

ESPN's Mark Schlabach releases his midseason All-America team. Mannion doesn't make it (no big surprise), but Brandin Cooks does.

You know how Oregon State was healthy for the WSU game? It didn't take long to catch the injury bug again; tight end Connor Hamlett is having his knee scoped, and will be out a minimum of 1-2 weeks. Fellow tight end Caleb Smith rolled his ankle Tuesday but was back at practice Wednesday.

ESPN's Heisman Watch poll is out for the week, and Sean Mannion is now tied for sixth with UCLA's Brett Hundley. Rick Neuheisel, Mike Yam, and Ronnie Lott also discuss Pac-12 Heisman candidates on the Pac-12 network -- Mariota is obviously the leading candidate from the conference, but Mannion and Hundley also get mentioned. Athlon Sports has Mannion tied for fifth in their poll.

Oregon State made Ivan Maisel's three-point stance on Wednesday.

I missed this last week, but it still seems relevant. ESPN's Ryan McGee puts Oregon State on a list of BCS Wrecking Balls -- a.k.a. teams that aren't good enough to make the BCS, but are good enough to disrupt it. These Wrecking Balls have nothing to do with Miley Cyrus, by the way.

Some of the inspiration for Oregon State's fly sweep was provided by Mark Speckman at Willamette University in Salem.

Basketball media day was yesterday, as Building the Dam reported; the official OSU website also has a report. The mens' basketball Pac-12 media poll was released in concert with that, and Oregon State is two spots higher than I figured they would be. The Gazette Times' Steve Gress was there as well, and has a report. The strength of the conference this year appears to be at the guard position, and OSU's Roberto Nelson is amongst those expected to stand out.

The mens' golf team finished 3rd in the Alaster MacKenzie Invitiational this week our of 16 teams; their 14 under 850 finished tied for the lowest three round score in school history. OSU's David Fink, who finished second amongst individuals, carded the third lowest score in OSU history by an individual, a 12-under-204.

Former Beaver and current Seahawk Brandon Browner had a 49 yard interception return in the Seahawks' Thursday's 34-22 win over the Cardinals. Pretty sure he tripped over his own feet trying to get into the end zone, and ended up going down at the 1 yard line. But I was a little drunk while watching the game, so I might have misinterpreted exactly what happened.

Every time OSU plays in Berkeley, I think of the 2007 game. And, specifically, this play:

Many Cal fans this of this play as the beginning of the downfall of their football program. While that may seem like hyperbole, it seems reasonably accurate to me. It may not have been the actual cause of the downfall, but it might have been the first sign of the impending dropoff.  Although, to be honest, this sequence was equally important to the outcome of the game:

Now, if only we could perform an upset that might begin the end of another #2 rated football program...hmmm...when might we have the chance to do that? Can you dig it?

As always, vote in the poll below. If I missed any links, leave 'em in the comments. And Go Beavs!

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