After starting the season 0-2 the Oregon State Beavers have (in typical fashion) rolled to a solid 4-3 record as of week 8. After a startling upset of USC, and consecutive conference victories against Washington and Washington State, they sit at a 4-way tie for first in the Pac-10 conference (3-1).
Nobody thought the Beavers would beat USC, that much we all know. Without 2 of of their losses coming to strong opponents outside the Pac-10 (#19 PSU, #15 Utah), the Beavers have managed to keep themselves afloat while some of their stronger opponents have faltered.
On ESPN.com experts have begun to discuss the possibilities of Oregon State winning out and if USC wins as well, then we may see USC in the BCS Championship and the Beavers in the Rose Bowl.
That would be quite a feat, wouldn't it?
Theoretically the Beavers would have to win the rest of their conference games to assure themselves a spot in the famed Rose Bowl. USC has been on a tear since their loss to the Beavers and some have claimed that Oregon State may have awoken the "sleeping giant".
Of the Beavers five remaining games, their two easiest are probably Arizona State, and UCLA. The Sun Devils had a very good 07' season but inconsistent defense and a beaten up Rudy Carpenter have left the Devils at 2-4 overall and 1-2 in the Pac-10. Still, anything can happen.
UCLA has started a new regime under Rick Neuheisel and appears to be on the right track, but still a few years from becoming a legitimate Pac-10 contender again. They have an ok record at 3-4 and are still even in conference play (2-2). While this team can be beaten and has suffered terribly from injury, Neuheisel is a strong coach and this team will challenge you.
California hasn't really set the world on fire but has played strong in most of it's wins, and has struggled in losses. Jahvid Best and Shane Vereen are an excellent RB tandem, but Coach Tedfor is still struggling to find a solid starting Quarterback. Cal's defense has been pretty solid and they also possess a very talented offensive line.
Arizona is a deadly offensive team averaging 411.8 YPG, and isn't too shabby on defense ranking 19th in the nation at 284.9 YPG. They will be tested by USC this week and have Oregon to deal with before they face off with the Beavers the week later.
Finishing the year is the famed Civil War game, in Corvallis this year. While Oregon has featured a fantastic rushing attack their passing game has been limited and they have become slightly one-dimensional. A solid defensive backfield has yet to really prove themselves in the Pac-10, but this team is still very dangerous and can explode at any moment.
For the Beavers, this bye-week and the next few weeks will test them. They need to consistently play well and keep their strong streak going, if they are to reach the Rose Bowl. But the Pac-10 has a four way tie for first.. so it's going to go down to the last game for sure.
Watch out Beaver fans, you may be on the way to something big.