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The Dam Links 12/4/2013: Let's Go Bowling?

We'll start today's The Dam Links by analyzing OSU's depressing bowl possibilities, focusing more on the "if" than the "where."

Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

73 days until first pitch...

Remember the good old days of six weeks ago, when I wrote this overly optimistic article? It seemed so unlikely at the time that the Beavers would miss a bowl that the only reason I included it in the article was because covering all possible outcomes would let me include the national championship game as a remote possibility. I didn't list "No Bowl" in the semi-realistic options in the poll at the bottom, or even any other option below the New Mexico Bowl. Oh, I was so young and foolish then.

Here's what I wrote in regards to not going bowling at all:

So how do we get there? Lose out, finish 6-6, and look bad doing so. Finish behind every team not named Cal and Colorado, and up to two more. The Pac-12 cannibalizes itself enough that they only get one BCS berth, meaning only seven teams are guaranteed spots, and at least seven Pac-12 teams are bowl eligible. Enough 7-5 teams from other conferences are eligible that the 6-6 teams get pushed out, or Oregon State is less desirable for the bowls with openings than the other 6-6 teams. Again, very unlikely, but not impossible.

Lose out, finish 6-6? Check.

Look bad doing so? 69-27. Check.

Finish behind every team not named Cal and Colorado, and up to two more? Just one more (Utah). Check.

The Pac-12 cannibalizes itself? Check.

Enough 7-5 teams are eligible to push out 6-6 teams? Check.

Oregon State is less desirable for bowls with openings than the other 6-6 teams? Check.

I outlined the scenario perfectly, I just assumed it as unlikely because I didn't count on everything going wrong between then and now.

There's a lot of speculation as to where OSU might end up. And some of them clearly have more educated opinions than others.

OregonLive has compiled four different people providing four different bowl destinations for Oregon State. First, a number of projections (including Mark Schlabach's and that of ESPN's Pac-12 blog) have the Poinsettia Bowl as being an open slot where the Beavers might land, but that doesn't seem to be the case. While Army was guaranteed a spot there if they were bowl eligible, the Poinsettia appears to have a secondary agreement with the MAC; this is confirmed on the Poinsettia Bowl's website, so I think it's pretty reliable information. There are plenty of MAC eligible teams; Oregon State is not going to San Diego.

CNNSI's Stewart Mandel, who doesn't think the Beavers will go bowling at all, offers a pretty good reasoning as to why:

Finally, we finished with 77 bowl eligible-teams for 70 spots. The teams that will be left out hail from primarily from the non-AQ leagues, but barring some back-room deals, one of these four 6-6 AQ teams -- Washington State, Oregon State, Pittsburgh and Syracuse -- will stay home, too. I went with the Beavers, who ended the year with five straight losses.

Washington State, who hasn't been to a bowl game in 10 years, will assuredly be selected before Oregon State, despite the head-to-head win for the simple reason that their fan base will be excited to go to any bowl. In fact, I believe they'll be selected ahead of 7-5 Arizona, because the bowl who will be up at that point (New Mexico Bowl) had the Wildcats last year. That will push Arizona into the at-large pool, but since all 7-5 at large bowl teams have to be selected ahead of 6-6 at large bowl teams, regardless of conference, they'll be taken ahead of the Beavers.

That would leave OSU competing with Pittsburgh and Syracuse (maybe UNC) for that last at large berth. The bowls most likely to have openings are in Birmingham, Dallas, Detroit and St. Petersburg, none of which bodes well for the Beavs (maybe Dallas) as far as fanbase proximity in comparison with the other schools.

One thing Mandel is projecting, however, is a Rutgers win over South Florida this weekend, which is important. Rutgers is currently 5-6, and there are currently only 4 bowl eligible teams from the AAC, which has six tie-ins. SMU is also in a similar state, and they play at conference leader Central Florida, so they are less likely to win. However, if neither Rutgers nor SMU wins, that opens up another slot in a bowl, which would likely be filled by Oregon State. So, if you want Oregon State to go bowling, root for South Florida and Central Florida this weekend. (South Alabama could also achieve bowl eligibility this weekend with a win, but they aren't getting selected over the Beavs, so that's a moot point).

You might also root for Oregon to get a BCS at large berth, as that would likely leave the New Mexico Bowl with a choice between Arizona and Oregon State. They *might* select Oregon State over Arizona (technically, they are even in the conference standings), since the Wildcats were there last year, but I doubt it; 6-6 teams on 5 game losing streaks don't move the proverbial meter very much. However, the Pac-12 might encourage the New Mexico Bowl to take the Beavers, if it came to that, because they know that 7-5 Arizona is guaranteed a bowl game if they don't go to Albuquerque, whereas the Beavers are not. So, if Oregon State increasing their chances of a bowl game is more important to you than Oregon missing a BCS game, you should root for the following teams to lose: Northern Illinois, Baylor, Michigan State, Oklahoma.

TL;DR* version:

If you want the Beavers to go to a bowl game, root for, in order of importance: South Florida, Central Florida, Bowling Green, Texas, Ohio State.

Categories Oregon State players lead the country in:

Brandin Cooks: Receiving Yards. Receiving Yards Per Game.

That's it. Short list, huh? And those numbers aren't even safe if Fresno State's Derek Carr and Davante Adams blow up in this weekend's Mountain West championship game. Of course, if Mannion & Cooks played in the Mountain West, that might have a pretty good effect on their stats, too.

Other Beaver News:

The Pac-12 blog provides its weekly Power Rankings. Oregon State at #9 seems reasonable.

ESPN's Pac-12 rankings determine definitively and inarguably that the Pac-12 is the second best conference.

John Canzano made a video talking about all things football in the state of Oregon.

After the basketball team lost at DePaul, they're trying to get their game back on track.

While the OSU women didn't get a win last weekend, they should feel better about themselves. They lost two competitive games at the Junkanoo Jam in the Bahamas by a total of eight points to Florida and #14 Penn State.


Volleyball did it! They beat Jay John's futility record, completing an 0-20 conference season. One bright spot: freshman Lila Toner made the conference All-Freshman team.

Gymnastics gets started this Friday with the Orange & Black exhibition. Admission is free, and autographs will be available after the show. I wish we had a "Dirty Old Man" regular contributor that we could poke fun at here.

The wrestling team lost a home match to highly ranked Minnesota over the weekend.

This Thursday night, there's a very special guest host for Sports Center -- Ron Burgundy. A preview:

The post-Civil War edition of the Illegal Participation podcast is online.

If you haven't voted for Brandin Cooks for the Biletnikoff Award, here's your reminder in the form of a helpful link. The good news is, after a week or two, he's well ahead in the fan votes and likely to remain that way. Let's just hope the actual voters agree with him.

*TL;DR = Too Long; Didn't Read