Why can't OSU beat USC? Some say it's because of the Trojan's superior talent. Others will say it's because of better coaching. Even a few will say that they are USC and OSU is just Oregon State. But this is all why they play the games.
And I hope that more then a few Beaver faithful understand that this is a game that Oregon State can win and not with just dumb luck (but I'm sure that OSU will take as much luck as they can get in this one). Will the effort require a perfect game? Well, it wouldn't hurt but here is how I think OSU can beat the mighty Trojans.
1. Do not get caught up in the mystique and hype that is USC.
They are just another team that scores the same amount of points for a touchdown, field goal and safety and point after TD as OSU. Sure, Rey Maualuga and Mark Sanchez are talented (and they have both been arrested for some form of assault) but you have lined up with guys just as good as them before. And once you get past the glitz and the glamour that only a team in LA would possess you will just realize they are another team that starts the game off with the same amount of points as you.
2. Tackle. Good open field tackling.
Against Hawaii the Beavs showed that they can be a good tackling team that many have known the past two years. And while Stanford and Penn State had some good and great athletes that might have been better then what Hawaiipresented, a good tackle still beats a broken tackle. More then likely, broken tackles are just usually the results of a bad effort by the defensive player.
3. Oregon State will need to keep the home crowd into it.
Not only will ESPN be there to broadcast the Thursday Night College Football, I can't remember the last time the World Wide Leader in Sports was at Parker Stadium to bring the Beavers to the entire nation. This crowd wants to show the world that it is one of the best in the country and the Beaver football team could really use this to their advantage to rattle USC and keep OSU pumped through the game.
I feel like this one is so important. I remember the OSU/USC game in 2006 and that crowd was great. But this was helped tremendously by the Beavers making plays to keep the crowd into it and in the end I think this was a tremendous advantage.
4. Penetrate, Penetrate, Score, Score (my favorite Stanford student section cheer).
So I'll state the obvious but some things to note about OSU on both its lines.
Last year the OSU offensive line was just torn up by the Trojans. It's amazing the Sean Canfield was injured by the cheap shot artist Will Harris who plays safety instead one of the DL's who were hitting him all night long. This year they need to be nasty (hopefully with the return of Jeremy Perry) and protect their QB. If Lyle Moevao gets time to find his receivers the Beavers could score some points.
This year the OSU defensive line has taken i ts time to warm up but you saw some signs of improvement against the Rainbow Warriors. And I don't want to take away any credit from the Beavers for getting some penetration through theHawaii line but they need to prove that they can do it against one of the bests. USC coming into town is perfect timing for OSU's DL to show up.
5. Let LA buy into their hype.
Now wait a second. Didn't I just say that OSU needed to ignore the hype generated for the Trojans? Yes I did but have you been following the coverage of this Trojan team? They are the cats meow in LA and Bristol, Connecticut. Instead of KEZI and KOIN covering some practice before a big game, this team has ESPN and CNN providing viewers of recaps and a look ahead to the next game. After a while you start to believe you can do no wrong and you are all that and then some. Sometimes this can help you in a big game type scenario (Ohio States and Notre Dames) but when you head into bees nest with national expectations of a blow out it could turn into a long night. Don't forget everyone saw OSU get destroyed in State College. How could that team beat USC? Why are they even playing this game?
6. Could USC be overlooking the Beavers?
All the talk I've heard from USC has been about focusing on OSU. Mark Sanchez said right after the Ohio State game and on Game Day the following weekend that their thoughts are on OSU. I even mentioned it on yesterday's epic That Guy Sports CFB Journal when I wrote that Sanchez said his only worry was falling asleep against the Beavs. I tried to make it sound like if Ernie McCrackin in Kingpin was making one of his condescending comments towards the competition even if Sanchez was not intending to come off like that. But I still wonder how much USC respects OSU.
In practice they are using one of their shorter running backs to mimic Jacquizz Rodgers so they could get used to finding a smaller RB in traffic. If I were USC I would be concerned if their Quizz rip-off can plow over a defender when he meets him in the open field. I wonder if he has moves like Barry Sanders and can block like Tom Rathman. Because if he doesn't USC might not be ready once the real Quizz appears from behind that line.
And I would still like to call out Sanchez for focusing on not falling asleep against OSU. Does he really think that if he just shows up he's going to win? That if he just shows up for the game that this OSU team won't be able to hang with USC? I'm sure Pete Carroll and company will do everything to do in their power to get their team ready for one of the best defensive backfields in the conference and practice the silent counts for a loud Parker Stadium. But if USC just expects to do their thing and goes through the motions against the Beavs then its going to be a really tough game.
7. Join the Mountain West Conference.
Just kidding. But as much Pac-10 looks bad this year I think a lot has to do with playing a tough non-conference schedule. And many think the Mountain West (well, all except for That Guy Sports) is just like the WAC or the Sun Belt, but this conference should have its conference champ play in a BCS bowl game every year.
8. Just imagine OSU beating USC.
Last year before OSU played the #2 ranked Cal Bears in Berkeley, no one would give the Beavers a chance. But I did and I wrote about how I could see it happening (http://thatguysports.blogspot.com/2007/10/i-can-see-osu-upset.html). At the time I was living in San Francisco and heard all these Bear fans saying that OSU didn't have a chance against the Cal. Later that day OSU pulled off one of the greatest upsets of the season and Cal, which plummeted them in the polls, had their season spin out of control for a 7-6 season.
And of course there is what happened the last time the Beavers and Trojans met in Corvallis. It was somewhat similar to what is going on today.
In 2006, OSU was 4-3 and no one gave them a chance against the Men of Troy. That victory spring boarded OSU to a 10 win season and a lot of the confidence and swagger that we see with the program today. If OSU can somehow find a way to beat USC can you imagine how the rest of this season could end up? A conference championship? A Rose or BCS Bowl? How about the seasons after this one?
All you have to do is start seeing OSU beating USC on Thursday night.