After a bitterly disappointing loss to Stanford on Saturday, the Oregon State Beavers' dream season is in jeopardy, as the team entered the game on the verge of climbing into the top 10 in the BCS rankings.
Despite the ill-timed defeat, all may not be lost for the Beavers.
That's because with three games left on the schedule, Oregon State still has a chance at earning itself an invitation to a BCS bowl game, but it won't be easy.
Heading into next weekend, the team's last three opponents are California, Oregon and Nicholls State, and if running back Storm Woods and the Beavers can somehow win all three, they'll be marching towards a BCS bowl game appearance.
Obviously, the game against the Ducks will be the key for the Beavers, as an upset would more than make up for the loss to Stanford.
After the Stanford game, ESPN's Ted Miller pointed out what implications the result will have on both teams:
Oregon State will play host to California next weekend before concluding its season at home against Oregon. Both teams, obviously, still have a lot to play for, including a shot at the Rose Bowl.
The Beavers need a win over Oregon to get to the Rose Bowl, because anything less than a 10-2 record would leave Oregon State outside of the top 10 at season's end.
It's not out of the question that the Beavers could pull of the upset over Oregon, but they'll need to find some stability at quarterback to do so.
Heading into the game against Stanford, it appeared that Cody Vaz had cemented himself as the team's starting quarterback, but as the Associated Press' Antonio Gonzalez reported, Vaz was injured after being sacked late, and former starter Sean Mannion had to enter the game in relief:
Vaz fumbled while shifting the ball during a scramble and Josh Mauro recovered. After Ertz caught the go-ahead touchdown, Oregon State got the ball back and Debniak sacked Vaz on third down.
The quarterback left with an ankle injury, and Sean Mannion - the former starter - threw incomplete on fourth-and-16 from the Oregon State 37 with 1:52 left.
At this point, if Vaz is unable to play against California, the Beavers have to declare Mannion the starter for the remainder of the season, because the revolving door at the quarterback position isn't helping the Beavers' cause.
Mannion has struggled at times, but the team can't continue to change quarterbacks on a weekly basis if it has any hopes of taking down a national power like Oregon.
If Mannion can somehow lead Oregon State to an upset over Chip Kelly's boys, the Beavers will be dancing towards a BCS bowl, but they'll have to be much better than they were against No. 16 Stanford on Saturday.
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