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The Dam Links 10/22/2013: And Now for the Hard Part

We're #25! (again)

So, eight weeks and seven games removed from the opening kickoff of the season, Oregon State is exactly where it started -- #25 in the country. And although I expected to be 6-1, it didn't go exactly how I thought it would. And for the second year in row, Oregon State has a 6 game winning streak and heads into its 5th conference game at 4-0.

Whoa. Deja vu.

Speaking of deja vu, Sean Mannion is up for the Manning Award Player of the Week again; you can vote at that link, provided you have a Facebook account (and if you don't, I kind of envy you). Eight hours after the polling opened, Mannion has four times the vote of his nearest competitor. This award is starting to feel like every ESPN Pac-12 Blog poll involving an Oregon Duck.

As long as you're in the voting mood, you can vote for Scott Crichton for this week's Lott Impact Trophy Player of the Week award, as well.

Have I mentioned I hate fan based voting awards, because I think they are biased and twisted, but I vote for them and promote them anyway? The hypocrisy is strong in this one.

One curious quirk about the BCS rankings is that one computer (Jeff Sagarin's) ranking has OSU as the #6 team in the country, nine spots ahead of Stanford's. Hope he's right.

Oregon State's infographic from Saturday's game against Cal is worth a look.

CNNSI's Stuart Mandel lists out his reactions to the latest polls, and he suggests the Beavers are an underrated team in the polls, maybe the most underrated.

Vegas Insider has the line for next weekend's games, as they installed Stanford as a 6.5 point favorite over the Beavs, although it appears to have already been bet down to 5.

ESPN has a couple of experts who do Bowl Projections, and they basically agree with my assessment, that the most likely destinations for the Beavers are the Holiday or the Sun Bowl. ESPN's Pac-12 blog predicts OSU for the Sun Bowl. Jerry Palm of CBS Sports figures OSU to end up in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.

The Pac-12 blog also provides their weekly power rankings; I would expect OSU's position to change dramatically if they can pull out a win Saturday. They also take a look back at Week 8, as well as a look ahead at Week 9.

This just in: Mannion-to-Cooks is a winning combination. Mike Riley is looking ahead to Stanford, who he believes is the best team the Beavers have faced to date.

Ken Goe notes that next weekend is going to be a big one in the valley; both the Beavers' and Ducks' schedule is going to get a lot more difficult from here on out. He also thinks we should put a pause on the Mannion & Cooks for Heisman talk. I can't say I disagree with him; if Mannion throws for 420-4-0 and Cooks catches 15-200-2 this weekend, then I think you start up the propaganda machine. But at least one Heisman straw poll voter puts Mannion ahead of Mariota in his rankings. ranks Mannion as one of five players who still has a realistic shot at the Heisman Trophy. Not on this list? Johnny Manziel.

John Canzano has some words of caution -- the Beavers may be bowl eligible, but that doesn't mean much...yet.

Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune also has a few thoughts on the overall state of Oregon State football.

Lindsey Schnell takes a sneak peek at next week's opponent, the Stanford Cardinal.

Brad Edwards of ESPN answers some questions about the BCS in this video. Amongst them is "What's it going to take for Mannion, Cooks and the Beavers to get some respect?"

I feel I need trumpets for this next section, which keeps getting more impressive every week.

Stats Oregon State Players Lead the Country In:

Sean Mannion: Total Offense. Passing TD's. Passing Yards. Passing Yards Per Game. Points Responsible For. Points Responsible For Per Game.

Brandin Cooks: Receiving TD's. Receiving Yards. Receiving Yards Per Game. Receptions Per Game. Points Responsible for by a WR.

Steven Nelson: Interceptions. Rashaad Reynolds is only one behind Nelson, with four.

Team: Passing offense. Interceptions.

Some of the numbers are not just leading the nation, but ridiculous. Mannion is averaging 48 more passing yards per game than the next best QB, and 77 more than third place. His 29 passing TD's are six more than second place and nine more than third. Cooks has 152 more receiving yards than second place, and almost 22 more yards per game than second. He has 14 TD's (12 receiving, 2 rushing), which is 3 more than the next closest WR and more than any non-QB in the country except for Arizona State running back Marion Grice.

ESPN's Conference Power Rankings leave the Pac-12 as the #2 conference in the country, despite only having three teams in the major polls.

Non-OSU Football Stuff:

As you can tell from our picture above, OSU's pumpkin carving contest is going on, although it ends at midnight Tuesday. You can still enter (although it will be tough to make up the votes for it), although you can vote for any pumpkins you might want to. The top ten vote getters will take their pumpkins to the game Saturday and have them voted on by Beaver fans. It's one of those things you'll need a Facebook account for, by the way.

Jacquizz Rodgers had another low yardage, high scoring games with the Falcons, as he caught two TD passes from Matt Ryan in Sunday's win over Tampa Bay. Rushing-wise, he still only had 16 yards on 8 carries. The Falcons sorely miss Steven Jackson, who appears to be on schedule to be back this week.

Jordan Poyer was waived by the Eagles over the weekend, but was claimed by the Cleveland Browns.

OSU Basketball starts introducing its freshmen. First up: guard Hallice Cooke.

Mens' soccer fell to conference foe San Diego State Sunday, 1-0. The Beavers are now 0-4-1 in non-conference.

Womens' soccer won its last conference game against Wazzu! Yup, still more fun.

Volleyball remains winless in conference play.

Some sad news out of Seattle as legendary Husky coach Don James has passed away. He remains the only coach to lead a FBS Pacific Northwest school to a national championship.

The Athletic Department continues to do a great job of producing these behind the scenes videos for each game.

For your unrelated short today, let's acknowledge the last game before Halloween by paying tribute to someone who paid tribute in grand fashion to one of the best movies of my childhood. I wish I had the talent and time to pull something like this off. But considering I have neither, I will just continue to live vicariously through the skill of others.

As always, vote in the poll below, and let's root on the Beavs. I'll be plugging the Illegal Participation Podcast into this post once it is up Tuesday morning, so check back later if it's not up yet.