This season has been full of ups and downs for Head Coach Mike Riley and the Oregon State Beavers, but the team is in prime position to take the Pac-10 conference, and the nation by storm.
Oregon State opened the year with losses at Stanford and Penn State, and a heartbreaker to Utah on the road. Those three games represent the Beavers only three losses of the season, but OSU still has three extremely difficult games left on the schedule.
Coach Riley got the UCLA monkey off his back last week (he was 0-9 against the Bruins as a head coach and offensive coordinator), but there's not much time to celebrate that win. Jeff Tedford and the Cal Bears are in town this week, and the Beavs will have their hands full.
The Beavers have won four straight against Cal in Berkeley, but they've struggled in the last two meetings at Reser. "I wish this game was in Berkeley" was the Riley quote that Paul Buker used in today's Oregonian.
The Golden Bears are 4-2 in the Pac-10, with losses to Arizona and USC. Like the Beavers, they're also 6-3 on the season, with a road loss to Maryland in week three. Cal's sophomore running back Jahvid Best ranks fifth in the conference in rushing with just under 100 yards per game. The Bears seem to be in shambles at the quarterback position, and the Beavers will likely prepare for a combination of Kevin Riley and Nate Longshore.
With the 34-6 win over UCLA, the Beavers find themselves with a 6-3 record and a #23 ranking in the AP Poll. That ranking doesn't mean much right now, because frankly, the Beavers know what they need to do to stay ranked and get themselves into the desired bowl game.
The Beavers will play Cal at 12:30 p.m. Saturday on ABC.
Note: Now that the Beavers find themselves ranked in both the AP Poll and the Coaches Poll, you can peruse the rankings towards the bottom of the right hand sidebar. Have fun!