I honestly don't know what to say about this game. I feel like Cal should win. OSU is really bad this season. However, as is their usual standard, they are improving as they head towards the Cal game. They are finally showing life and have won a few games after starting off horrifically slowly! So, great. Can we schedule these guys for September in the future? This is always disastrous each and every year.
But to find out more about how Oregon State is going to crush our dreams and hopes this year (not to mention end the career of one of our key players), we talked with SBNation site Building The Dam. Like us they are living in the shadow of their much more successful rival. Like us, Nike gives them weird look uniforms. But unlike us, they have nothing to play for. We've got a bowl game on the line. So, please please please please win. Please. Let's see why we won't after the jump. GO BEARS! Also, here are our answers to their questions.
1. In 2009 you ended Jahvid Best's career at Cal and in 2010 you ended Kevin Riley's career at Cal. Who is on your path of destruction this year?
Since you don't appear to have anyone capable of suffering a game ending injury if a shadow is cast upon them, I'd guess it would be Zach Maynard. He seems to roam around in places where DEs can lay into him.
2. Is anyone actually serious about wanting to fire Mike Riley?
It's still a minority, but yes, there are some, and that number is growing with each loss. Many more are calling for staff overhaul, mostly aimed at the coordinators. No one wants Riley to fail, but a growing number do not feel he is capable of and willing to do what they believe it will take to turn the program back around.
3. OSU is playing a ton of true freshmen. How bright is the future of these guys? Does anyone in particular stand out?
There are several that do appear headed for great careers. WR Brandin Cooks in particular looks like he has the tools to be a big time player. DE Dylan Wynn has had a good first year as well, and lots of people are excited about his future.
4. How well have James Rodgers and Joe Halahuni played after returning from their injuries? We Cal fans still have nightmares about Halahuni.
Both have played well. Rodgers hasn't regained quite all of his speed, but still has the vision, strength, and field awareness, which was the real strength of his game. Halahuni is as good as ever.
However, for whatever reason, at times the offense seems to forget about Rodgers and Halahuni. It's not clear if its one of the many play calling problems, or possibly on Mannion, who didn't have them available for his first reps as the starter, and doesn't automatically look for them as his best options. Rodgers can be hard to spot (just ask defenders). But Halahuni is hard to miss, so that's something that has been puzzling lots of Beaver observers.
5. Sean Mannion has been quite inconsistent (hey, that sounds familiar!). What does it take for him to put together a solid game? What tends to go wrong when he has a bad day?
Mannion needs good protection. When he can stand and survey the situation, he can carve up any secondary. But he doesn't always make good pre-snap reads, and he isn't mobile. Defenses that can show him a lot of looks (they don't have to be complicated, just numerous) and get some pressure coming directly at him can get sacks and force bad throws.
6. The OSU running game has been anemic. Why is this? Offensive line woes? Sub-par play from RBs?
A lack of line push has been a big problem. Injuries to both linemen and running backs has compounded the problem, but the Oregon St. offensive line just doesn't have the horses to run consistently at this level.
7. Who is the one player on offense we haven't heard of, but we will want to burn in effigy (because they've been killing us) at the end of the day? Same question for defense.
I'm not sure if you haven't heard of them or not, but I'll go back to Cooks on offense, and go with redshirt freshman DE Scott Crichton. Cooks is quick, and is becoming a dangerous weapon on both pass plays and the fly sweeps.
Crichton has already tied the school record for fumbles forced in a year. And he caused Andrew Luck to throw only his 5th. interception of the year.
8. What is it like having a nationally relevant rival, while you suffer through a less-than-stellar season. Um, because that's not something that we know about. *cough*.
It's part of what is frustrating Beaver fans the most, because despite some polar opposite differences, there really are a lot of similarities between the schools and towns. Those Ducks have proven that there aren't that many excuses for failure.
9. Who do you want to punch in the face?
Idiots in stadium and event security, management, and production who think they are in the customer abuse business, and not in the entertainment and hospitality business. College football is about the total game experience, yet there are those in the business who think people will put up with anything.
(You thought I'd say Pac-12 officials, but it appears they are already punch-drunk. While adding "concussion-like symptoms" couldn't make things any worse, it probably won't help either.)