Beavers want to ruin the big show

December, 2, 2010
12/02/10
1:05
PM ET
On the one hand, it's pretty cool for Oregon State that ESPN's "College GameDay" is going to be in Corvallis for the first time on Saturday. On the other, Chris, Kirk, Lee and Desmond figure to be hanging out with the Duck, not the Beaver, during the show.

That's because, however you want to spin it, the Ducks are the show, the only reason "GameDay" will set up outside Reser Stadium. They are No. 2 in the BCS standings. They are a Civil War victory away from playing for the national title. They are undefeated and fancy-pants cool with the point-a-minute offense and funky uniforms.

Oregon State? It's supposed to play the Washington Generals to Meadowlark Kelly and the Eugene Globetrotters.

[+] EnlargeJacquizz Rodgers
Harry How/Getty ImagesOregon State will need a big game from Jacquizz Rodgers if it hopes to spring an upset on Saturday.
The Beavers get it. So what if Oregon cornerback Cliff Harris called them "little brother" this week? When one team is 11-0 and the other is 5-6, that's sort of the way things go.

"It's easy to talk when you're the No. 1 team in the country," cornerback James Dockery said.

Surely, though, it must be difficult for the Beavers and their fans to hear all the crowing coming out of Eugene. Isn't there just a bit of jealousy?

"It doesn't make me jealous," running back Jacquizz Rodgers said. "They are doing what is right. Any time a team is undefeated and No. 1 in the nation, you've got to give them their respect. They earned it. Playing this game is hard. To have a perfect season like that -- week in and week out -- they did their job. There's no hatred for me."

Oh, but fans are a different story. Beavers fans are not terribly happy about things in general, both with their team's fortunes in 2010 and Oregon's rise under Chip Kelly.

The Ducks won the past two Civil Wars, each time knocking the Beavers out of the Rose Bowl. In 2008, the Ducks delivered a shocking 65-38 beatdown in Corvallis that turned celebratory roses into trash scattered all over the stadium and the parking lot. Last year, the Beavers nearly notched the upset in the "Civil War for the Roses," but the typically uptempo Ducks were able to burn the final six minutes off the clock in a 37-33 win.

So, yeah, delivering a little bit of heartbreak to the Ducks would be great fun for the Beavers.

"It would be nice to knock them out of that [national championship] game," Dockery said. "Of course."

The Beavers know their chief concern -- an upset win would earn them bowl eligibility -- isn't front and center nationally. But that's their primary motivation. They are perfectly aware that few give them a chance. And more than a few confess to being baffled why they've been, to use coach Mike Riley's phrase, "horribly inconsistent" this season. They've won at Arizona and stomped California. Impressive. Yet they got shocked by UCLA and lost at home to Washington State. Embarrassing. They showed pride while blowing out USC. Impressive. And a lack of it while getting blanked 38-0 at Stanford a week ago. Embarrassing.

"It's been quite a roller coaster for the Beavers," Riley said. "We've had some really good wins and we've had some clunkers."

The Beavers, who will be playing their fifth top-10 opponent this season on Saturday, have struggled on both lines, and the offense lost All-American receiver James Rodgers on Oct. 9 to a season-ending knee injury. The running game has never been consistent. The defense ranks ninth in the Pac-10 in passing efficiency.

"At times, we're really good. At times, we're really bad," Jacquizz Rodgers said. "It seems like on every play, somebody makes a mistake."

If the Beavers are to have any chance, their two biggest stars must produce special performances. That's Rodgers and defensive tackle Stephen Paea. And, of course, when major upsets happen, there's usually somebody you don't see coming -- perhaps quarterback Ryan Katz will duplicate his 393-yard and two touchdowns performance at Arizona?

Oregon is the big show. It's why "GameDay" is on hand. But the Beavers will lead "SportsCenter" if they pull the upset. And "little brother" is clearly aware of that.

"Obviously, we know about the extravagant nature of Oregon and their university and everything they have to offer," Dockery said. "Until someone can beat them and make them stop talking, they can keep on talking."

Ted Miller | email

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