The 15th-ranked Beavers of Oregon State are ready for battle with the No. 5 Oregon Ducks. They may call this the Civil War, but there is nothing civil about the rivalry.
Oregon had its national championship hopes put on life support last week with an overtime loss to Stanford. The Cardinal took Oregon State down the week prior, effectively ending the Beavers' hopes for a Pac-12 Championship.
Both teams have plenty to play for in this game. There are still BCS and major bowl considerations for both teams.
Following is an overview of the contest and what's at stake.
When: Saturday, Nov. 24 at 3 p.m. ET
Where:.Reser Stadium, Corvallis, Ore.
Watch: Pac-12 Network
Listen: Free Football Radio; 1580 KGAL, Eugene; 750 KXTG Portland; 1340 KLOO Corvalis
Live Stream: Pac-12 Video
Spread: Oregon -9 (odds via Bovada and OddsShark)
After holding a three-touchdown edge over Stanford last week, the Ducks aren't even a touchdown and field-goal favorite against the Beavers.
Those favoring Oregon have to love this spread.
Beaver fans will want to consider the moneyline. It pays out +290 for a straight-up win.
Obviously I think more of the Beaver defense than the oddsmakers do. Some models are predicting a 100-point total output on the day.
This rivalry can easily turn into a defensive struggle or offensive showdown at any point. I'm favoring a physical game that keeps teams out of the end zone for most of the day.
Injury Report (via USA Today as of Wednesday, Nov. 21)
Wade Keliikipi, DT Questionable (Undisclosed)
Keloni Kamalani, LB, Out (arm)
Avery Patterson, CB, Out for Season (Knee)
Cody Vaz, QB, Questionable (Ankle)
Grant Enger, G, Questionable (Ankle)
Josh Williams, LB, Out (Suspension)
Oregon State (8-2, 6-2) isn't in the thick of consideration for a BCS game. That could possibly change with a win over the Ducks, but it isn't likely.
Oregon (10-1, 7-1) is still alive for a BCS game. A Duck win combined with a Stanford loss to UCLA means Oregon would host the Bruins for the Pac-12 Championship Game and a trip to the Rose Bowl.
There is also a small chance that Oregon could advance to the BCS Championship Game, but that would require the Trojans of USC to beat Notre Dame.
Keys for Oregon Victory
Kenjon Barner needs to find his game. He was untouchable earlier in the season against lesser opponents, but the the Beavers defense should represent a challenge.
Oregon State is second behind Stanford in the Pac-12 for rush defense.
The Ducks had a season-low 405 yards last week against Stanford. The biggest issue was going just 4-of-17 on third-down attempts.
Barner orchestrating a ground attack is the best way for the team to string together first downs. If the Ducks keep the chains moving then they will eventually spring a long play and score.
Keys for Oregon State Victory
The Beavers simply can't afford to make mistakes. That's a tall order against the Ducks.
Turnovers will hurt Oregon State. The team can't afford to lose scoring opportunities or allow easy opportunities for Oregon.
The Beavers have been the best in the Pac-12 at controlling the ball, turning it over just 14 times this season. That needs to continue.
Big plays have been a big part of Oregon's offense. The Beavers need to keep plays in front of them and make Oregon earn everything.
This game will be difficult for Oregon State to win, but the home crowd will help.
This is a bit of a stretch, but Stanford followed a blueprint others had tried to use to beat Oregon. The Cardinal just had the front seven to make it happen.
While the Beaver defense isn't quite as good as Stanford's, its front is athletic enough to limit Barner.
Oregon fans won't like the prediction, but I don't buy that "they'll come back with more fire because of the loss" analysis. This team knew Stanford would be tough and had to enter that game giving its all.
I've also heard the "Oregon State lost to Washington. How good can they be?" assertion. Keep in mind that the Huskies also beat Stanford.
If anything, both teams know Oregon can be beaten. It will be a war.
Predicted Score: Oregon State 23, Oregon 21
Darin Pike is a writer for Bleacher Report's Breaking News Team and a Featured Columnist covering the NFL and the Seattle Seahawks.
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