Team preview: Oregon State

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(All information as of July 1, 2005)


Things were going so well for Mike Riley and his Oregon State team. Consider:

• By defeating Notre Dame, 38-21, in the Insight Bowl, the Beavers won bowl games in consecutive seasons for the first time in program history. In 2003, Oregon State throttled New Mexico, 55-15, in the Las Vegas Bowl.

• The Bowl invitation was the program's fifth in six years. That's even more impressive considering that when Riley guided OSU to a 5-6 record in his second season in 1998, it was the program's best season in 27 years.

• The Beavers finished 7-5 and celebrated their third straight winning season. The last time OSU enjoyed such success Richard Nixon occupied the White House.

• The newly renovated Reser Stadium, which cost $93 million and includes almost 8,000 new seats, 22 luxury boxes and a restaurant, is expected to be revealed for the 2005 season. Never mind that the Beavers have sold out 29 straight home games.

• By virtue of the conference's rotating schedule, the Beavers are the lone Pac-10 that doesn't have two-time defending national champion and consensus preseason No. 1 USC on the 2005 schedule.

• OSU won six of its last seven games in 2004, with the lone loss coming to USC by just eight points. And its five Pac-10 wins were tied for the second-most in program history. Talk about momentum heading into spring practice.

And then it happened. And then it happened again. And again. And then there was "Judge Judy."

Of course, we can't forget the stolen sheep, either.