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Rosenthal: Civil War for the ages could be in store



The Ducks came in third in the first batch of BCS Standings because the computers hate Chip Kelly.

Ranked second in the human polls, the Ducks average ranking in the computer polls was sixth. One computer even ranked the Ducks tenth, and four of the six computer rankings in the BCS formula don’t even think the Ducks are the best football team in the state.

That means? No. Couldn’t be…

Yes, two thirds of the computer rankings think Oregon State is better than Oregon. The computers like the Beavers a lot more than the human polls do, but with the Beavers now 5-0 for the first time since 1939 maybe it’s time to ask just how good the Beavers are. The Beavers success has surprised even their own athletic department which rescheduled their cancelled season opener for the day before the Pac-12 title game.

Oregon State is still Little Brother and there’s no question about that, but they don’t look like a freshman team anymore.

The same team that lost to Sacramento State (and eight other teams) last year has two wins over Top 25 teams already and has left home three times, coming away with a win (and In-N-Out) each time. Their wins haven’t been blowouts, and the two ranked teams they beat were probably overrated. Even the Beavers 42-24 win last week against BYU was much closer than the final score seemed to indicate.

But much more impressive than the score in the Beavers win on Saturday was simply the fact they won the game at all. Heading into that game week the Beavers were 4-0 and finally garnering some respect from the national media, and then out of the blue their starting quarterback was out indefintiely.

Just when you thought it was safe to start ignoring them again, backup quarterback Cody Vaz starts his first football game since he was in high school and throws for more than 300 yards and the Beavers add another win to their collection.

Three of OSU’s five wins on the year have been by seven points or less, and there’s two ways to look at that.  You could say the Beavers have gotten lucky, and maybe there’s an element of truth to that. But there’s another angle to take.  Good teams win close games, plain and simple, and thats what the Beavers have done.

The Beavers defense isn’t going to hold you to less than 200 total yards and they’re not going to pitch a shutout, but the devil is in the details.  Oregon State is getting stops on third down and is holding opponents to fewer than 27 percent on third down conversions, the sixth-best mark in the country and a few percentage points better than Oregon’s own dominant third-down D.

The Ducks have more weapons, and it remains to be seen if Oregon State can actually hang with the likes of the Ducks for 60 minutes when the two teams square off at Reser Stadium on Nov. 24 where they may very well be vying for a spot in the confrence championship game.

At the end of the day I don’t think Oregon State will beat Oregon. But I don’t think this year’s Civil War will be over at halftime, either.


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Isaac Rosenthal

Isaac Rosenthal