Oregon State's bandwagon might start filling up

November, 15, 2008
11/15/08
10:37
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

 
 AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
 James Rodgers caught six passes for 50 yards and ran 18 yards for a touchdown in Oregon State's 34-21 victory over California.

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Oregon State is two wins away from "The Event That Shall Not Be Spoken Of."

So, coach Mike Riley, what about that thing? You know. That THING!

"What thing?" Riley said not even trying to keep a straight face.

Please, just ignore that massive bouquet of red flowers sitting in the corner. The one Oregon State hasn't held since 1965.

Oregon State's impressive 34-21 victory over California made its Rose Bowl dreams suddenly seem far more attainable.

Since the Beavers beat USC, they had won four consecutive Pac-10 games over the conference's bottom feeders. Cal, at 6-3, was supposed to be a major test.

If so, the Beavers got an "A" on both sides of the ball.

And it's getting harder to completely ignore that big, red, beautiful flower.

"The thing about having that in the back of our minds is we get hungry for it," quarterback Lyle Moevao said. "We want it so bad and we know what we have to do to get there."

What they have to do to get there is win at Arizona next weekend and then beat Oregon in Reser Stadium on Nov. 29.

Do that and they are going to Pasadena for the Granddaddy. 

Coach Mike Riley said he's not too worried about his players looking ahead and getting distracted.

"I think these guys believe these games are fun," he said. "So why start thinking down the road?"

Typically, this is when teams start talking about respect or their perception of the lack thereof. Funny thing is, the Beavers don't seem to care much what other folks think about them.

Receiver James Rodgers was asked if he thought the Beavers would win over doubters with their performance Saturday.

"It's all in the team," he said. "If they want to ride with us, they're going to ride with us. If not, then we know what we can do."

Defensive end Victor Butler was asked if he thought the Beavers bandwagon might start to fill up.

"It probably will but we've got 106 guys on the team and that's all we need," he said.

Clearly, Riley has these guys well-trained to keep their focus on the moment -- the next practice and the next opponent.

Yet, Riley admits that he's not immune to human nature, and that when he's alone with his thoughts, he does sometime see involuntary flickers of that THING, "The Event That Shall Not Be Spoken Of."

"Yes, I do," he said. "And it scares me."

Funny, he didn't look scared when he said that. He looked confident.

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