The 2010 Oregon State University Beavers will face a tough line-up and will have to find a way to stop some of the best offenses, and stifle some of the best defenses in the country.
New faces and familiar places will combine to make an exciting 2010 campaign in the Pac-10. Fans and analysts alike may be surprised with how this Power Conference unfolds.
These slides are the entire 2010 OSU schedule with game-by-game analysis and predictions, beginning with the season opener at TCU on September 4th.
All game times are PST.
TCU finished the 2009 season by reaching the Fiesta Bowl against the Boise State Broncos.
The Horned Frogs finished ranked no. 6 in both major polls (AP & USA Today) and had an excellent recruiting class during the offseason.
This battle-tested program is on the reemergence scene having played on one of the biggest stages in major college football. They are ranked #4 in the preseason BCS and #3 in the preseason AP and USA Today polls.
Perhaps the only weak spot for TCU will be its defense, primarily in the front lines as they lost a lineman and linebacker to the NFL draft.
If Oregon State stands any chance of pulling off an early-season BCS buster, they will have to block effectively while providing holes for Heisman hopeful Jacquizz Rodgers and time for their young QB Ryan Katz.
On the other side of the ball, the Beavers defense will have to play close pass coverage all four quarters, as TCU's QB, Andy Dalton, threw for over 2,500 yards last season while collecting 23 TDs.
I think this game has the possibility to be close, but TCU appears to be the more established program in this contest. The Beavers will be well-represented in the National spotlight as this game will be carried by ESPN. However, they will likely drop this contest.
TCU 38, OSU 27
The Louisville Cardinals football program has been in decline recently, but is still on the major scene in college football.
Six of Louisville's seven conference opponents made bowl appearances last season, so don't read too far into their overall 4-8 record last season. That being said, they did finish with a conference record of 1-6 and did not look overly impressive at season's end.
The Beavers stand a pretty good chance of coming away with a victory in this one. OSU will be coming off a bye week following their bout with the TCU Horned Frogs. They will have had extra time to prepare for the Cardinals and should have a better idea of what offensive formations work well and which ones don't.
The recruiting classes are similar for OSU and Louisville, meaning with Oregon State having a better squad last season, it stands to reason a repeat may be in order for 2010.
In the end, I believe Oregon State's powerful and effective running game, led by the Rodgers brothers, will prevail in this match-up.
OSU 45, Louisville 14.
The Broncos will be returning 23 of the 24 starters that played in the Fiesta Bowl in 2009, which includes quarterback and Heisman candidate Kellen Moore. Boise State is ranked in the top five in just about every post-spring, preseason poll, and the Beavs will have their hands full on the blue turf.
This game is sure to be televised, which is the main reason why the gametime has yet to be set. Oregon State must show up to play, as once again they are the benefactors of a possible BCS laden schedule of opponents.
Brock Huard, former NFL QB and current ESPN analyst is picking the Broncos to win a National Championship in 2010. The Broncos will open their season at Virginia Tech, which will give us a chance to see how well the blue and orange handles the pressure of early-season testing.
Oregon State is no stranger to Boise State, having faced them several times over the last decade. OSU head coach Mike Riley has come very close to figuring out the Broncos but has been unsuccessful in recent efforts.
Boise State is ranked #6 in every major poll prediction, and expect the Beavs to have their hands full with this one.
Boise State 38, Oregon State 24
Oregon State owes a lot to current Arizona State head coach and former OSU head coach Dennis Erickson.
Erickson helped put Oregon State Football on the map while getting help from players like Chad Ochocinco (then Chad Johnson) and T.J. Houshmandzadeh.
However, his Arizona State Sun Devils have been in major decline over the past few seasons. Michigan QB transfer Steven Threet may add a small spark to the Sun Devil's offense, but a lack of highly skilled weapons around him may leave the QB with little to fall back on.
A recruiting class that features highly ranked defensive players means the ASU will participate in several low-scoring games.
The Beavers do well in low scoring games, but this particular meeting may not be low-scoring for OSU.
ASU finished in front of only winless Washington State in the conference standings last season, and they are facing astronomical odds of reaching a major bowl this season.
Oregon State 44, ASU 17
Last season these two teams combined for a 69-point thriller ultimately taken by the Wildcats.
The Beavers just slightly edged Arizona in total yards, but Jacquizz Rodgers was held under 100 yards on just 16 carries. Sean Canfield threw for over 300 yards but was sacked five times.
Arizona's QB threw for 254 yards and three TDs of his own. Oregon State's pass defense was picked on last season by talented Pac-10 quarterbacks, a trend that must be stopped at Arizona this season.
Speaking of pass defense, Arizona lost seven key linemen from last season, but will look to cornerback Trevin Wade to step up the pass coverage. If Ryan Katz is going to establish himself as the leader of the Beavers' offense, he will have to find a way to get around Wade.
Look for plenty of dump passes and fly sweeps to James Rodgers against the Wildcats, and if executed effectively, the Beavers may win this one. This may be a bold prediction, but Oregon State might take this one.
Oregon State 31, Arizona 27
The Huskies have a Heisman candidate of their own in Senior QB Jake Locker. A veteran of the UW's football system, Locker is ready and able to help Washington pull out of the middle of the pack and make a run for the Rose Bowl.
However, Washington's recruiting class does not provide much by the way of young receiving targets for Locker. D'Andre Goodwin and Tony Chidiac are the Huskies' only upperclassmen in the receiving corps from 2009, so younger players will have to step in to present themselves as targets.
Oregon State's pass rush will have to force Locker to make rash decisions, because giving a Heisman caliber QB too much time in the pocket does not translate to solid defense.
This game will most likely be close, but Oregon State stands a good chance if they can keep Locker's numbers down while not providing outlets for his strong arm.
Oregon Sate 33, UW 24
Another Pac-10 team that seems to always be ranked but never able to hold their ranking is the Cal Bears.
With the departure of Jahvid Best to the NFL, the Bears will be significantly weaker in their running game.
However, Cal will feature a strong defense led by Senior Linebacker Mike Mohamed, who was recently named to the preseason CFI Honorable Mention All-American team.
It should be an exciting match-up between Jacquizz Rodgers and Mohamed, and it will most likely come down to a battle of speed. Rodgers will have to hit the holes faster than Mohamed can plug them, and the offensive line will have to do an excellent job of disguising their blocking scheme.
This will be another close Pac-10 game, but with a recent history of Oregon State success, and the only major shifting being in the Cal running attack (Canfield's absence will only matter in the event of Rodgers being shut down), this one will go to the Beavers.
Final Score: Oregon State 24, Cal 20
OSU has experienced success against the Bruins in recent years, but UCLA appears to be on the mend.
UCLA finished with a winning record in 2009, but the main discrepancy was their 3-6 conference record.
Head Coach Rick Neuheisel achieved a decent recruiting class and the powder blue and gold seems to be coming back around. The squad will have several new plays and a newly re-formatted defense to challenge Mike Riley's deceptive offense.
Last season the two teams battled in a low-scoring affair, with the Beavs squeaking out a seven-point victory. There will likely be more offense in the 2010 contest, but the game will probably still be close.
This may be one of the most controversial predictions, but I think UCLA just might take this one late in the fourth quarter.
UCLA 35, Oregon State 31
What has happened to Washington State's football program over the last several seasons? The Cougars finished winless in the Pac-10, and 1-11 overall, with their only victory coming against Southern Methodist; they won by a field goal.
With little hope of recruiting blue chip prospects, WSU stands little chance of competing this season as well. When a program can improve from last season by winning two games, the standards are already low, but it leaves no questions.
Oregon State's program is simply farther along in development and features too many weapons for Washington State's meager armor. This game will be a victory for Oregon State, and possibly a blowout.
Oregon State 49, WSU 10
If you follow college football at all, or even turn to ESPN on your TV every once in a while, you've undoubtedly heard of the new sanctions levied against USC and the ramifications they have.
With the departure of Pete Carroll, and the ineligibility of a postseason game, USC's program is facing several doubts.
The foundation for the Trojans will be whatever is left. Lane Kiffin is an established coach with some talent at his disposal, but he will have a challenge to command respect while his program rebuilds, and the loss of 30 scholarships will limit his options.
It is certainly strange and unusual to see USC finishing in the middle of the Pac-10 last season, but it may become the norm over the next few seasons in the aftermath of the Pete Carroll era.
This game will be highly publicized, and Oregon State will have to play well to impress viewers. This may be the Beavers' year, given they have been the penny on the Championship tracks for the Trojans in recent years.
With the USC program depleted, it might open the door for a victory at Reser Stadium for the home black and orange. Despite most analysts still picking USC to finish near the top in the Pac-10, I still maintain the belief that they will finish near the middle, and OSU will be victorious in 2010.
Oregon State 27, USC 13
Toby Gerhart is gone, and only Luck remains..literally.
Stanford will lean heavily on Sophomore QB Andrew Luck in the absence of Gerhart. Luck had an impressive Frosh campaign in 2009, passing for 2,575 yards and 13 TDs while maintaining a 143.47 QB rating.
Luck is a very accurate passer, and the questionable Beavers backfield will come in to play in this contest. I think the conference will be surprised to see the Stanford Cardinal experience much successes in 2010, and I think the OSU program will be outmatched in this one.
Standford 35, Oregon Sate 20
Oregon State will have its hands full with the reigning Pac-10 Champion Oregon Ducks come December.
Last season, the Civil War decided the Pac-10 Rose Bowl contender. In 2010, it is quite possible that this scenario may play out again. It appears as though both Oregon programs are rising to the top of the conference. Look for the 114th Civil War to have BCS implications, with the Beavers exacting revenge on their rivals in a thriller.
Oregon State 42, Oregon 35
The Beavers will have to play their best possible game all season to reach the Rose Bowl, but as last year shows, they may not be far from the idea.
More likely, the Beavers will once again finish second or third in the conference, which means they could play in the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl or the same bowl they played in last season, the Las Vegas Bowl.