The Dam Links 7/17/2013

Steve Dykes

Surprise -- more watch lists! ESPN looks at OSU's QB battle, Baseball America recruits, a brief look at Eastern Washington, and more

45 days until kickoff vs. Eastern Washington...

In case you missed this in the comments of Monday's The Dam Links, the Portland Tribune's Kerry Eggers did a great piece on Jess Lewis. Once a star wrestler and football player for the Beavers, Oregon State's head groundskeeper, Jess Lewis, is retiring after 21 years. The article talks about the good and the bad, and it's a far cry from your typical "retirement fluff piece" article. Highly recommended.

It's certainly not too early to start talking about football. I was trying to find a season preview of some sort on Eastern Washington, the Beavers' first opponent. This is the best option I found. Although it's a couple of months out of date, there's still some good information there. Eastern Washington may be an FCS school, but they're a good FCS school, and hopefully the Beavers have learned not to overlook lower division schools because of those who must not be named. It's probably worth noting that they did put up a fight against Washington State last year, so they're not necessarily intimidated by Pac-12 schools. Historically, Oregon State has played Eastern Washington just twice, despite the relative proximity of the two schools. One of those wins was a squeaker, 21-19, that I remember lamenting as a terrible performance and indicative that the team was going to revert to their old ways. Seeing as how that was the first game of the 2000 season, I think it's safe to say that not all of my knee-jerk predictions are accurate. Who knew?

ESPN's College Football Live examines key position battles in the west in this video, including Oregon State's QB position. The segment on the Beavers starts about 4:20. They make an interesting observation that Vaz's 4th quarter QB rating was almost 50 points higher than that of Mannion. Not sure how much that matters, and I remember Vaz not looking particularly good against either Stanford or Texas in the 4th quarter, but that's what the numbers say. And statistics never lie.

Don't worry, the watch lists aren't over. The Lombardi Trophy is given to the best lineman in the country, offensive or defensive. Scott Crichton and Isaac Seumalo both made the Lombardi watch list. Brandin Cooks could be the second Beaver to win the Biletnikoff Award.

Oregon State safety Steven Christian is a nominee for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team. This is an off the field award, recognizing college athletes for their volunteer efforts. Steven has been very generous donating his time to community service efforts such as tutoring math at OSU, working with the Boys & Girls Club of Corvallis, and being a part of the OSU Adventure Leadership Institute's effort to help develop curriculum to engage student athletes. While technically it's yet another preseason watch list, I find this one a little more noteworthy.

Michael Conforto had a heck of a day for the USA Collegiate Baseball Team on Tuesday. He's now batting .348 and leads the team with 3 home runs in 46 at bats.

Steve Gress of the Gazette-Times takes a look back at the strong start to OSU's 2012 football season.

Baseball America lists the college teams that were winners at the signing deadline. As you might suspect, Oregon State is ranked very highly on that list. In addition to Wetzler and Schultz coming back, prize recruits Chandler Eden and Trevor Morrison also passed up the potential of big signing bonuses to don the orange and black. Notably, Chandler Eden pitched a complete game no-hitter with 13 strikeouts in high school. The game was only 7 innings, which takes a little shine off the no-hitter, but makes that 13 strikeout number even more impressive.

Amongst the non-revenue/olympic sports, OSU senior gymnast Kelsi Blalock gets interviewed by Lindsay Schnell. She received an additional year of eligibility due to some injury hardships, and is looking forward to competing again next year. She and boyfriend Jace Fry apparently spend considerable time arguing about who is the better athlete, and find themselves competing at almost everything they do. Winner gets bragging rights. Second place is a set of steak knives.

We're going back a week for the poll, back to this link. Poll readers clearly liked the Beavers' odds to the win the Pac-12 at 12:1 over just the Pac-12 North at 5:1, or the whole shebang at 125:1. So we're going to revisit a different set of odds, and go game by game. The first two games (EWU, Hawaii) aren't listed, so we're going to break the remaining ten games into two halves, the "Easy" half, where the Beavers are favored in all five games, and the "Hard" half, where they are favored in just two. I'm really surprised by the lines of a couple of those early games, where I'd be more likely to put money on the other side.

Your non-Beaver minute or less video of the day:

That's all for today. If you have more links, leave them in the comments.

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