The Oregon State Beavers were supposed to host Nicholls State to start the season, but Hurricane Isaac had other plans. The absence of a primer game didn't hurt their early performance, though, and will now allow them to enter bowl season on a positive note.
Sean Mannion had a difficult conclusion to Pac-12 play, throwing four interceptions against the Oregon Ducks. He is welcoming the opportunity to end the regular season on a high note.
We have another opponent and we don't have time to pout and feel sorry for ourselves. Nicholls State is going to come in here and try to beat us, and we have to prepare accordingly.
I think it will be a good thing because I know everyone is hurting about this one, especially the seniors.
Oregon State (8-3, 6-3 Pac-12) is toeing the line about needing to prepare for Nicholls State, but the Colonels (1-9, 0-7 Southland) were a bad FCS team in 2012. Their only win on the season was against Evangel, an NAIA school.
They simply can't stay close to a ranked FBS program.
Following are the particulars needed for this game.
When: Saturday, Dec. 1 at 2:30 p.m. ET
Where: Reser Stadium, Corvallis, Ore.
Watch: Pac-12 Network
Live Stream: Pac-12 Video
This game isn't expected to be close and the oddsmakers recognize the inability to protect themselves on this matchup.
None of the major lines are carrying this contest.
Nicholls State (via CBS Sports as of Wednesday, Nov. 28 at 11:00 p.m.)
No injuries reported
Oregon State (via USA Today as of Wednesday, Nov. 28 at 11:00 p.m.)
Brandin Cooks, WR, Probable (Knee)
Markus Wheaton, WR, Probable (Quadricep)
Jordan Poyer, CB, Probable (Hamstring)
Cody Vaz, QB, Probable (Ankle); Vaz is available but not expected to start
Peter Ashton, S, Questionable (Hip)
Tyler Anderson, FB, Questionable (Knee)
Josh Williams, LB, Out (Suspension)
The Beavers have nothing to gain in this matchup. They're already in line to receive the No. 4 seed from the Pac-12 for bowl game placement.
A loss would be a huge blow to Oregon State's rankings, but might not have much meaning otherwise. However, the Alamo Bowl would likely be more inclined to take UCLA over a team that lost to Nicholls State.
Keys for Nicholls State Victory
The Colonels have no potential to win this game. The matchup is so lopsided that Oregon State's athletic department had considered cancelling the game because of the damage it would do to their strength of schedule and BCS placement.
The Beavers also had a plan to cancel the contest if they made Friday's Pac-12 Championship Game.
Neither of these items ended up being material following the loss to Stanford.
Keys for Oregon State Victory
The Beavers need to prepare and show up ready to play for this game, but they would win this game simply by showing up and playing base sets without game-planning.
The real key for the Beavers in this game is getting a final feel for who their quarterback will be in their bowl game. They will be playing in either the Alamo Bowl or Holiday Bowl, depending on the outcome of the championship game and a decision from the Alamo Bowl on taking the Beavers or the loser of the Pac-12 title match.
Manion, a sophomore, lost the starting duties after an injury and sluggish play in their first loss on the season. He took the job back after junior Cody Vaz was injured against Stanford.
Both of these players could get some time under center, but Mike Riley may opt to rest Vaz so he is healthy later in December.
Calling this game lopsided would still be an understatement. The Beavers will roll against an outmanned Nicholls State squad.
The Colonels can consider getting into the end zone a moral victory and about the only victory they'll have in Corvallis.
Storm Woods needs 232 rushing yards to reach 1,000 on the season. It will be interesting to see how much of a dent Riley attempts to make on that figure.
Predicted Score: Oregon State 73, Nicholls State 7
Darin Pike is a writer for Bleacher Report's Breaking News Team and a Featured Columnist covering the NFL and the Seattle Seahawks.