Oregon State faced one of the most difficult non-conference schedules in the country, going up against TCU and Boise State, both essentially on the road (Playing TCU in Dallas, TX). In both games, the Beavers were impressive while keeping the game competitive.
As they enter Pac-10 play, experts and analysts tabbed them as the breakthrough team of the conference, but OSU rose up to prove them wrong instead.
After upsetting Arizona, a squad that knocked out then-No. 9 Iowa, the Beavers stumbled in double-overtime to 3-6 Washington, only to become irrelevant after a loss to 4-5 UCLA.
Perhaps the most perplexing aspect to Oregon State is the rollercoaster play of sophomore QB Ryan Katz.
Katz threw for 393 yards while picking apart then-No. 9 Arizona, but turned the ball over three times to Washington via interceptions. Poor decisions on the offensive side of the field doomed Katz and OSU against the Huskies and the Bruins.
Meanwhile, Jacquizz Rodgers has been almost more relevant in the passing game than on the ground, and like UW's Jake Locker, has disappeared in the Heisman Trophy discussions.
So where does Oregon State go from here? They face Washington State next week, and it might not be the blowout everyone initially expected. Following the Cougars, Oregon State will host USC before traveling to Palo Alto to take on Stanford, and returning home for the Civil War against the high-octane Oregon Ducks.
Unless the Beavers can pull off a miracle against the conference's elite teams, this season will be a forgotten season in the annuals of history for the football program.
While OSU struggles, so does the Pac-10, eagerly waiting for the year the top teams do their job and defeat the other conference schools in rebuilding years.
For the nation to take the Pac-10 seriously, a few clear-cut winners with strength of schedule are necessary. Oregon and Stanford have represented the conference well, but even their schedules are not as impressive when Washington, Arizona State and Oregon State are in the mix.