What They're Saying...

Pundits around the nation have come out with their predictions for the 2002 football season. Some have the Beavers ranked in the top 25, others do not, but all agree that the success of Beaver football hinges on how well Derek Anderson can pick up the system.

Here's the BeaverFootball.com roundup of what folks are saying around the country about the 2002 Beaver football team:

CBS Sportsline.com:

"With 17 returning starters and a non-conference schedule built for a 4-0 start, Dennis Erickson's guys are out to prove that last season's 5-6 mark was the aberration, not the 11-1 record from 2000.

Sure, there's that nagging question about a new quarterback ... but other than that, Oregon State looks to be capable of competing for the Pac-10 championship, especially because of a defense that returns eight starters and should be one of the best in the league."

College Football News:

"Once again, Oregon State has a less than challenging non-conference schedule to start the season when compared to other Pac 10 teams. That's actually a good thing for a talented program that notoriously starts slowly and can get the kinks out over the first two games allowing QB Derek Anderson to get more comfortable with the starting job. UNLV and Fresno State will provide two solid tests before the Beavers jump into the Pac 10 battles beginning with a war against a loaded USC team. If the Beavers can get by the Trojans, it's not out of the realm of possibility that Oregon State could be undefeated and 9-0 when it travels to Washington on November 2nd. Missing Washington State helps and getting Oregon at home in the Civil War will give OSU every advantage to winning the Pac 10."

Mel Kiper:

"QB Anderson has a quality wideout in Newson, but someone must emerge as a solid No. 2 option. The offensive line, led by Kuykendall and Davis on the left side, will be watched closely to see if there will be an upgrade over last season's performance. On defense, if an outside pass rush develops, the Beavers could be outstanding. Manning and Edwards are top-flight DTs, while Seigler ranks as one of the country's elite middle linebackers. Weathersby has first-round ability at CB, while Meeuwsen is an under-publicized blue-chipper at free safety."

Fox Sports:

"How long will it take for Anderson to grow up? Anderson has a better arm than his predecessor, Jonathan Smith, but he needs to develop quickly for the Beavers to contend in the Pac-10. A Sept. 28 game at USC will be a good checkpoint for his progress."

Pig Skin Post:

"Erickson has to be very hopeful about 2002. The Beavers appear to be built similarly to the 2000 edition (that finished 11-1 and won the Fiesta Bowl) — a stellar, fast, bruising defense and a talented yet somewhat unproven offense. The schedule features road trips to USC and Washington, but the Beavers get Oregon and UCLA in Corvallis. If Anderson and Jackson play well, a run at the Roses is not out of the question."

Sporting News:

"The problems that plagued the Beavers in 2001 -- lack of a pass rush and steady receiver play -- appear solved. The future is bright, with youngsters stepping up at quarterback (Derek Anderson) and running back (Steven Jackson). The defense figures to match up with most foes along the line and in the secondary."

Blue Ribbon:

"Just because Oregon State failed to live up to its BCS promise in 2001, it's foolish to anticipate the program slipping back into its pre-Erickson doldrums.

The defense should be the conference's best once more, and the offense is stronger at every position save quarterback -- where Anderson's progress will be essential. He has a marvelous upside and the offensive coaches like his smarts. So the wisest thing he can do this season is rely upon the skill people around him.

Assuming OSU wins a couple of the close ones it let slip away in 2001, the Beavers look like a safe bet to win 10 or 11 games this fall. And that puts Erickson's crew in the running for the Rose Bowl."

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