BCI Fearless Predictions Oregon State

It's time to look ahead and make a few fearless predictions about the Bearcats upcoming season.

Game 2: September 6th vs. Oregon State at Nippert Stadium


The schedule gets much tougher in week two, and so does the prediction. Before breaking down Oregon State I need to make a quick confession. My first step in preparing to do the preseason preview was to print the schedule and mark each game with a "W" or "L" based solely on my perception from last season. Then I do the research on each opponent and see if my perception has changed. As I researched the Beavers it quickly became apparent that these two teams are very similar. This match up has the makings of a great college football game. Considering ESPN has chosen this for the Thursday night game I'm guessing they have figured that out too.


Last year OSU finished the season strong winning 8 of their last 9 games including a home victory over #3 USC.  The Beavers are coached by Mike Riley who in six years at the OSU helm has built this program to one that is more than respectable at the BCS level. Riley's tenure includes 3 bowl wins in the past 4 seasons culminating is last years 10-4 record and Sun Bowl victory.


OSU showed they can score last season, the offense put more than 30 points on the board an impressive 8 times, and not surprisingly they won all 8 games. When the Beaver offense is clicking they are really clicking, but they also can be shut down. Last season in 4 games the Beavers managed to score 14 point or less, each resulted in loses. Two of those games (UCLA, Washington State) they were held to a touchdown or less.


On defense OSU lead the PAC 10 in QB sacks averaging 3.4 per game. Their total tackles for loss of 528 yards led the nation. While this defense has impressive TFL statistics they also have been prone to giving up points in bunches, in 5 games last year opponents scored 30 or more points.


What makes this match up interesting is that the number one question for Oregon State is who will be under center after the departure of 2 year starter Matt Moore. The leading candidate is Sophomore Sean Canfield who played in 8 games as a reserve last year completing 28 of 45 passes. His biggest competitor for the position is Sophomore Lyle Moevao.


OSU should have 17 starters returning from last year, none more important than senior tailback Yvenson Bernard. Bernard enters his final season with career stats of 2,648 yards rushing, 611 receiving, to go along with 27 end zone visits. According to Coach Riley "Yvenson has been the heart of soul of the offense the last two seasons".  This do it all running back is going to be a load for any opposing defense to stop.


This game has so many intriguing angles it looks like a made for TV match, which it is. The number one question for both teams is who will start at QB, both teams return 17 starters, both teams are coming off bowl wins, and both teams finished strong the second half of last year. Beavers vs. Bearcats should be a blockbuster game that promises to be a nail biter. Now it's time for brave and fearless predictions.


Why UC will win this game?


DOUG GOODWIN: The number one question for both teams is who will play quarterback. The difference is that UC will choose between Dustin Grutza and Ben Mauk, both are seasoned BCS quarterbacks, so whoever wins the job they have been in big games before. For Oregon State, both Canfield and Moevao will be in their first big game, on national TV, with a hostile crowd.  This is a great match up and the QB experience for the Bearcats will be the difference.


DAVE BERK: I agree that who is taking snaps for both teams will make a difference.  I disagree that Ben Mauk is a seasoned QB when it comes to "Big Time" games at the college level.  But with his understanding of the offense he has a great advantage.  This will be the first big test for Bearcat fans as it's a weeknight game against a team who has raised its level of play.  Will Bearcat fans show up or stay home for what should be an exciting game.  But the Bearcats will win on the strength of its defense and special teams play.  The offense will play a part but not as much as the "D" and special teams.


What does OSU have to do to win?


DOUG GOODWIN: Get Yvenson Benson going early and often, if he goes off for a "Steve Slaton" like night the Bearcats are in trouble. The UC defense better come ready to stop the Beaver running attack led by Benson.


DAVE BERK: The Beavers need consistent play out of their quarterback and a huge night by their linebackers and defensive backs.  Brian Kelly is going to apply the pressure on the outside and then look to strike down the middle.  While Benson is a very good back, the Bearcats held Steve Slaton intact except for about 4 carries.  If the Beavers can keep pressure on the quarterback and disrupt the passing lanes they will leave Nippert with a win.


Doug's Prediction: UC wins in a tough and very tight game, 24 – 21.


Dave's Prediction: I fully expect this game to have it's exciting offensive moments and since this is a fearless prediction I'll go Bearcats over the Beavers 27-17.


Bonus for Game 2:


DOUG GOODWIN: Head coach Mike Riley is in his second stint at OSU, he left after the 98 season to take over as the top guy for the San Diego Chargers but returned in 2003.


Also check out Reser Field, home of the Beavers, on the web. A major make over the past few years has turned the place into a football palace. This might be a most see road game when UC goes to Corvallis, Oregon.


DAVE BERK: Look for a few Bengals to take in the action on this night as the following have ties to the game.  Blue Adams (UC), Antonio Chatman (UC), Andre Frazier (UC), Eric Ghiaciuc (Central Michigan), T.J. Houshmandzadeh (Oregon State), Adam Kieft (Central Michigan) and everyone's favorite Bengal, Chad Johnson (Oregon State).  Do you think you'll see Chad on the Bearcats sidelines on this night?


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