Oregon State leads merit-based top 5

Updated: October 3, 2012, 4:33 PM ET
By Travis Haney

Some of Mike Riley's peers have wondered, aloud and privately, why the Oregon State coach schedules the way he does, to the verge of overscheduling if not beyond that threshold. In part, it had landed Riley on the hot seat as 2012 began.

This season probably presents the answer. Riley believed the Beavers were capable of handling home-and-homes against the likes of Cincinnati, Boise State and Wisconsin.

The scheduling philosophy is paying off in 2012, after Oregon State exceeded expectations and Wisconsin turned out to be a team that didn't measure up to its recent standards.

The result, followed by wins at respectable Pac-12 opponents UCLA and Arizona, is a 3-0 Beavers team that is climbing in terms of national stature. The team won in September as many games as it did last season.

As far as I see it, the Beavers have the best record in the nation through the first month if you take into account which teams they have played and which teams they have beaten, at a time when the nation's top-ranked teams haven't necessarily been facing the best competition. The likes of Notre Dame, Kansas State, Florida and Northwestern are right up there with them.