Dam Near Impossible: Oregon State Must Go Through Stanford, Ducks To Bowl Game

Todd Boldizsar@@toddboldizsarAnalyst INovember 22, 2010

CORVALLIS, OR - OCTOBER 10: Running back Toby Gerhart #7 of the Stanford Cardinals drags safety Cameron Collins #5 of the Oregon State Beavers into the end zone as he scores a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the game at Reser Stadium on October 10, 2009 in Corvallis, Oregon. Oregon State won the game 38-28. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

When all seemed lost in Oregon State's 2010 season, there is still a possibility, at least statistically speaking, of the Beavers reaching a bowl game.

A convincing victory over USC has given Beaver Nation hope, although the remaining two games on the schedule couldn't be much more formidable.

OSU will head to Palo Alto on Saturday to face No. 6 Stanford, a team that hasn't yet ruled out the possibility of a National Championship appearance. At the very least, they are aiming for a Rose Bowl, so the Beavers will need a performance of the decade to make a post-season dream come true.

Oddly enough, it appears the Beavers may stand a better chance against Oregon, a team with talent piled to the rafters and dominant numbers, but recently puzzling after just a two-point victory over Cal.

Meanwhile, the Cardinal is one of the hottest programs in the BCS, seemingly gaining momentum heading into their final match-up of the season with the Beavers.

Depending on how Oregon fares against Arizona, there may be the slightest chance of an upset at Reser Stadium, but even that is generous.

Attempting to predict how the Beavs will perform is like watching a Floridian weatherman sweat on the five o'clock news.

This season has certainly been anything but predictable for Oregon State. With near misses against now-top 5 ranked TCU and Boise State, losses to unranked Washington, UCLA and Washington State have been befuddling and disappointing.

At times, sophomore QB Ryan Katz has been stellar, earning Pac-10 Player of the Week honors for his performance in the upset over Arizona. Other times, Katz has shown his youthful impatience, failing to lead his offense to an easy victory while the defense is suddenly stingy.

Jacquizz Rodgers has had a similar role, rushing for over 100 yards in five games this season, while being almost completely incognito against TCU and UCLA. 

For the Beavers, there is no allowance for mediocrity in the final two games of the year. Nothing short of Heisman-like output will do, so Katz, Rodgers and defensive tackle Stephen Paea should be working on their mental game equally dutifully with their physical game. 

Speaking on Paea, his performance against USC should be uplifting to on-lookers as he led the defense in shutting down the running attack of the Trojans.

An unfortunate ankle injury suffered by USC QB Matt Barkley in the final seconds of the first half provided a booster to the defense, but it can't be expected at Stanford.

The Beavers will be facing an eighth ranked offense when they head to Stanford, and tops in the nation against Oregon in the Civil War. Paea's season will be peaking the next two games, and the Beavs only stand a chance if the defense provides an opportunity for OSU's average offense.

Even a tough defense may not be enough for Oregon State.

Those same high-powered offenses have strong supporting casts.

Stanford's defense holds opponents to under 20 points a game, while Oregon has the top defense in the country, allowing a microscopic 17 points per contest.

The ratio percentage odds of the Beavers winning against Phil Knight's squad while scoring just two TDs and a field goal look like the first ten digits of pie. 

Stranger things have happened, but in the meantime, keep the champagne sealed but in the house.