A real test, and not just for Oregon State

BRANDIN COOKS

I WAS PRETTY confident last Sunday the Beavers would move into the AP and Coaches Top 25 polls. After all, OSU had just gone to 6-1, featured the quarterback with the most passing yards and touchdowns in the nation and they had begun the season at No. 25. It didn't happen. But if OSU tops No. 6 Stanford on Saturday night, the Beavs will finally move back into the two polls on Sunday. It's a lock.

But first things first...

There's a lot of media out there who sound pessimistic, asking if the Beavers are for real and dismissing some of their gargantuan offensive numbers as due to playing against poor secondaries their first seven games.

The OSU defense, they say, will face a Stanford offense and o-line far better than what they've faced to date, one that is likely to overrun the Beavs in the end.

I get it. It's a challenge. But Stanford, I believe, is going to be tested in ways they haven't yet been this season too by Oregon State.

(By the way, it sounds like DT John Braun is going to be able to go. But I'd still expect a lot of rotation regardless, with Brandon Bennett, Siale Hautau (back after being out much of the season with injury) and Edwin Delva to sub in frequently for Braun and Mana Rosa.)

There are lots of keys to this game but the biggest in my book is Oregon State's offensive line, which has been talked about for all of about five minutes this week what with the praise being heaped on the Cardinal's front five.

OSU's front five has done a stellar job of keeping a solid pocket around Sean Mannion. If Stanford changes that, the Beavs are in trouble. I just don't think they will be able to do so - not enough, anyway.

Stanford used three different players to try and impersonate Brandin Cooks this week, according to the San Jose Mercury News. That says a lot. If Stanford over commits and is successful on Cooks, then guys like Richard Mullaney or Kevin Cummings -- or maybe even Caleb Smith -- are going to have big days.

But that's assuming they'll be able to slow Cooks. Stanford has faced spread-option attacks for the last month. They might well have a hard time adjusting to the Beavs' style.

And Cooks leads the nation in receptions (76), receiving yards (1,176) and touchdown catches (12).

Stanford at Oregon State
Where: Reser Stadium, Corvallis

Time: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

TV: ESPN

The official NCAA< college QB rating is an interesting animal. Consider the No. 2 rated passer in the nation, Florida State's Jameis Winston in comparison to Mannion, who the NCAA rates No. 7 in the land.

Winston's rating is 210.4.
Mannion's rating is 170.7.

Winston is 112-157 (71.3 percent) for 1,885 yards, 20 TDs, 3 INTs.

Mannion is 229-334 (68.6 percent) for 2,992 yards, 29 TDs, 3 INTs.

The stat that jumps out most on the NCAA QB rating is the yards per attempt, the top 10 passer ratings seems to count for a lot. Winston is second in the nation at 12.0 YDS/A, while Sean Mannion's is 9.0, which places him 14th. The top ten QB ratings mirror better the TDS/A than any other statistic.

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