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The Dam Links 10/25/2013: Homecoming

Sean, Sean, Sean, of the Mannion, watch out for that Tree!

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

I don't blame you if you don't get that reference, but Brendan Fraser might take umbrage.

Unsurprisingly, vast armies of Oregon State fans have taken to their keyboards en masse to make sure Sean Mannion won his 4th Manning Award Player of the Week, and they were successful.

Want to vote for him for something else? You can vote for Sean for the Davey O'Brien Award, given annually to the nation's best QB. It takes fan votes into account during the early stages prior to determining semi-finalists, as well as for the finalist. Fan votes only count for 5% of the vote, though, so there's at least some legitimacy to the award. You can vote for him once a day if you are so inclined. Current standings are also available online.

The Pac-12 blog has predictions for this weekend's game (they split on the Beaver-Cardinal winner), Week 9 stories to watch, and provide some stats analysis between conference teams. Ted Miller also writes that the Beavers' defense has improved since Week One. After allowing 467 yards and 37 points per game in the first four games, they have only given up 349 and 19 the last three games. Considering most of the points by Cal and Colorado came in garbage time, that certainly shows a sign of improvement. While neither of those teams is particularly good, I don't know that they are any worse than Eastern Washington and San Diego State.

Each of the two main Pac-12 Blog writers has an additional piece about the game. Ted Miller talks about how this game is Brandin Cooks' chance to propel himself into the national spotlight. Kevin Gemmell also points out the importance of Stanford's defense playing as a team this weekend.

Also on the Pac-12 Blog, Jungkyu Lee takes an in depth look at Sean Mannion's stats, comparing them to both his own numbers from the last two years, as well as his contemporaries from this year. Stat I didn't know from that article: Mannion's 52 completions for longer than 15 yards leads the nation.

Oregon State hopes to learn from last year's loss at Stanford, a loss that, in all likelihood, cost the Beavers a Fiesta Bowl berth.

Kevin Hampton of the G-T takes a look at the Beavers' recent increase in the number of screen passes they use.

Stanford coach David Shaw is rather impressed with Brandin Cooks. Jon Wilner reports that Shaw is telling his team not to forget Utah, as several aspects of this weekend's game are very reminiscent of that one. SB Nation's Stanford affiliate, Rule of Tree, tries to figure out how to stop Cooks.

Ken Goe talks a little bit about the differences between Sean Mannion & Marcus Mariota, and points out that both QB's have done a great job of avoiding injury this year.

Connor Letourneau reports that, after a slow start, Scott Crichton is back to his normal dominating ways. Kevin Hampton also talks with Crichton.

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott defends the over-abundance of night games on this year's schedule. We understand it's all about money, Larry. Doesn't mean we have to like it.

Oregon State's official website has a game preview. Good stat from that article: Oregon State has scored a TD on 42.3% of its drives, seventh in the nation.

Athlon's weekly previews and predictions are always well done.

Bleacher Report has a preview of the game; that preview has Stanford winning by 18, the highest prediction I've seen on either side. Of course, this Bleacher Report preview has Oregon State winning a narrow one.

Is his weekly Upset Pick of the Week, Mark Schlabach picks the Beavers to win outright. He's 5-3 on the year in his upset picks, so that seems like a good sign.

Grantland picks the OSU-Stanford game as one of four games to watch this weekend in their Weekend Viewing Guide.

OSU will be hosting at least two recruits this weekend -- Kameron Schroeder, an offensive lineman from California who is already committed to Duke, and Jake Knight, an uncommitted tight end from Idaho who currently only has offers from Oregon State and Idaho.

Oregon State has a new recruiting strategy -- Tweet Film Tuesdays.

There is a free concert before the game on Saturday at the Truax Indoor Tailgate Center -- Kurt Van Meter (country artist and former OSU football player) will be performing. I know nothing about him other than his parents had great taste in first names.

The Beavers hired a new compliance official.

Our 2013 nemesis Eastern Washington is now 5-2 and tied for first in the Big Sky. They are currently ranked third in the FCS.

OSU baseball's last fall scrimmage is at 2pm Saturday (5.5 hours before the football game) at Goss Stadium; it is the last time you'll be able to see the team prior to next spring. In other baseball news, OSU's baseball recruiting class was ranked fifth in the country by Baseball America, the highest in the Pac-12.

The baseball team also promoted Pat Bailey to associate head coach. Congratulations to the Emergency Backup Pat.

Jacoby Ellsbury went 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored for the Red Sox in Wednesday's Game One of the World Series. In game two's loss, he went one for four.

If you have an ESPN Insider account, they offer a preview of OSU Men's Basketball. They predict the Beavers at ninth, ahead of Utah, USC, and Washington State. The Beavers' first exhibition game (against Corban College of Salem) is Tuesday night at 7pm. Tickets are discounted since this is an exhibition game.

Mens' soccer is heading on the road this weekend to take on Pac-12 foes UCLA and San Diego State. Womens' soccer hosts Cal and Stanford this weekend.

Womens' swimming hosts Stanford on Friday afternoon at the Osborn Aquatic Center in Corvallis.

Volleyball is in the bay area this weekend.

I neglected to include a link to the Illegal Participation podcast on Tuesday, and huge multiples of zero of you sent me scathing e-mails and tweets to complain. So here it is, a few days late.

This play happened a couple of years ago. It makes The Play look tame in comparison, although there's no band on the field. It would be amazing to see something like this in person.

In case you didn't get the reference from the intro, here you go. And if you did get it, but really need something stuck in your head for the next few days, here you go:

As always, vote in the poll below. And if you're at the game or Truax before the game on Saturday, I would encourage you to drop by the Fall Carnival on Prothro Field. If you're there, you should wander into the Pumpkin Carving Contest Booth and vote for whichever one you think is best. I would suggest this one, personally, but to each his own.

Go Beavs! May the force be with you!