An opportunity massive for the Beavs

THE BEAVS ARE wrapping up their second bye week of the season. Their record stands at an impressive 4-1 and on Thursday night, they host Utah, ranked No. 24 in the Associated Press poll, (Fox Sports 1, 7 p.m.) Make no mistake. It’s a monster opportunity. And ...

Of course, it’s also potentially a monster missed opportunity.

If Oregon State wins, they stand at 5-1 and everyone around the Pac-12 -- and in national locales beyond -- simply will be forced to take notice of the Beavs at that point.

With a win Thursday night, Oregon State would climb high, (at the very least,) into that “Other receiving votes” category. With the right combination of wins and losses around college football, they might even sneak into the top 25.

But if OSU doesn’t hold serve at the home, they’re relegated to afterthought status and all the Pac-12 chatter will continue to focus on the LA and Arizona schools. And it might stay that way for weeks no matter what OSU does.

And that kinda makes sense. Because after five games, I still don’t know what kind of team the Beavers have here in 2014.

The tilt against Utah will tell one whole helluva lot.

I’d like to think they are capable of improving week-to-week, and that the Beavs have as stout a defense as they’ve, at times, shown.

Because defense, to me, is always what matters most. You take a great offense and put them against a great defense and it’s almost always easy to foretell what happens -- the defense wins the battle, (and it’s usually not close.)

The Beavs are ranked No. 28 nationally in total defense. But those in the national punditry point to four of OSU’s five opponents – namely Hawaii, Portland State, SDSU and Colorado -- as reasons not to trust that number.

They have a point.

But a strong defensive showing Thursday against the Utes could change all that.

Oregon State has the chance to burst onto the national scene Thursday.

Will they seize it?

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