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The Dam Links 4/10/2014

Why does college baseball have so many more polls than football or basketball?

Stephen Dunn

142 days until kickoff vs. Portland State...

Work's been busy the last couple of weeks, and I'm way behind on the links. I'll skip the daily minutiae and aim for the bigger, less time-dependent stuff.

John Canzano analyzed a list of possible upcoming athletic department improvements at Oregon State.

Bob DeCarolis believes that football expectations now include a Rose Bowl. John Canzano talks to Mike Riley about such expectations.

Gina Mizell reports that the defensive line has a new leader: Dylan Wynn.

Pacific Takes is running a tournament to figure out the best coach in the Pac-12. The #8 vs #9 seed matchup is The Battle of the Two Mikes -- Riley vs. Leach. Voting goes through the end of the day Thursday, so head over there to vote for your favorite.

The Pac-12 blog's video mailbag includes a conversation on Pac-12 QB's who made the decision to come back for another year. First up: Sean Mannion. They believe that the biggest shoes to fill at Oregon State belong to Brandin Cooks. Finally, they take a look at the negative defensive plays (defensive plays that went for negative yardage) from last year, and how much of that production is coming back.

Every year, Athlon Sports ranks the Pac-12's coaches in order, from best to worst. This year, Mike Riley comes in at #4. Curiously, Mark Helfrich ranks second-to-last, ahead of only Cal's Sonny Dykes.

Mel Kiper's three round mock draft has Cooks in the first to the Jets at #18, and Scott Crichton in the third at #68 to join the Falcons. Xfinity Sports has Cooks going to #22 to the Eagles.

With Stefan Romero making the Mariners' opening day roster, there are three Beavers in the major leagues: Romero, Darwin Barney, and some guy named Jacoby Ellsbury.

The Barometer's Grady Garrett does not think fondly of Bob DeCarolis' decision to retain coach Robinson.

Justin Quinn of the Barometer spends a day with Roberto Nelson, and provides a look back at his career. Eric Moreland is nearing a decision on whether to go pro or not.

SB Nation's Jon Bois put together a fun article about complaints about officiating during the NCAA tournament, where he analyzed the amount of referee-directed ire across the SB Nation network between schools. It's has virtually nothing to do with Oregon State, but is still an entertaining read.

Andy outlined the Beavers' poll rankings earlier this week. Boyds' World has the Beavers at #7 overall in ISR, although their projected RPI ranking is #33, which is scary, considering that's the much more important number to the NCAA. To end up in the top eight at the end of the year, Boyd figures the Beavers need to win 22 of their last 23. That seems tough, but it's better than it was earlier this year, when he figured they couldn't get there at all. ESPN's Power Rankings puts the Beavers at #4.

Some of that computer ranking improvement probably has to do with the sudden emergence of the Washington Huskies. The Beavers already beat the Huskies once, and have three more games at home against the current Pac-12 leaders. The Seattle Times' Larry Stone points out that neither the Huskies nor the Ducks could have reached their improved quality of baseball without the success of one Pat Casey at Oregon State.

The Arizona Desert Swarm puts together a Pac-12 baseball power ranking each week, and this week has the Beavers holding steady at second.

Although the Beavers had a mildly disappointing 28th place finish at wrestling nationals, head coach Jim Zalesky was named Pac-12 Coach of the Year.

The gymnastics team need to finish in the top two at regionals to advance to nationals; they finished third in the six-team meet and will, for the second straight year, miss the national meet. Three individual Beavers -- Chelsea Tang, Madeline Gardiner and Kaytianna McMillan will compete at nationals as individuals. Tang and Gardiner will compete in the all around; McMillan will be only on the balance beam.

The softball team lost a series at Utah last weekend, but recovered from consecutive losses to win the Sunday finale. The Beavers (13-20, 3-7) now host the top ranked Oregon Ducks next weekend, starting on Saturday.

Highlights of the Beavers' 13-inning win over Stanford on Saturday, which consists mostly of double plays.

It's been too long since the last The Dam Links column, so the question below is a little off topic, but still relevant.

As always, if I missed anything, leave it in the comments.