Team preview: Oregon State

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(All information as of June 20, 2008)


Quick, not including USC, which Pac-10 team has the best conference and overall record the last two seasons?

Yes, it's Oregon State, with its 45,000-capacity stadium and recruiting classes that always rank in the bottom third of the conference. Yes, that's Oregon State, as in the same one that has finished ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 each of the last two seasons, and the same one that has won four straight bowl games.

Speaking of bowl games, coach Mike Riley has never lost one, as Oregon State's 21-14 defeat of Maryland in the 2007 Emerald Bowl improved his career mark to 7-0. It almost seems fair to declare the Beavers college football's "Little Engine That Could.''

Looking back, it seems hard to believe that just two years ago, many considered Riley on the hot seat after a disappointing 5-6 finish in 2005. Since, the Beavers are 19-8 with defeats of California and USC when they were ranked No. 2 and 3, respectively, in the country.

Moving forward, this might be a transition year for Riley and company, as eight starters were lost on defense and there is no proven commodity at quarterback. Still, there's no reason OSU can't compete for a bowl bid.