I wanted to think about this for a day before writing it, but after watching the Ducks and Beavers Saturday, I couldn't help but think that this is a year when Oregon State has its best opportunity in years to win the Civil War, which is scheduled for Nov. 26 in Corvallis.
Oregon State's effort against Washington State was most impressive. And what I truly appreciated was that it seemed the Beavers were in the right place at the right time all night. Those coaches in Corvallis are making the most of what they have -- which isn't a lot. There is still a shortage of healthy and talented players. And I remember what happened last season in Eugene, when the Beavers rallied from a 31-7 halftime deficit to pull within 45-42 midway through the fourth quarter.
It was if the Ducks were rehearsing their upcoming, second-half bowl game collapse.
OSU got back in the game on the back of Ryan Nall, who rushed for 174 yards on 19 carries. And if he's healthy this season, I could see the same thing happening. The Ducks don't exactly stop the run.
I congratulate Oregon on its first conference win Saturday. Justin Herbert was terrific against Arizona State. And yes, I believe he'd probably have a very big day against the Beavers.
But by the time these teams play, both will be pretty banged up. There's no telling who will play and who won't and I just expect the Beavers, with the game at home, to be ready. Gary Andersen is quietly building something there and a win in this game would be huge for his program. The Ducks will come into the game off a killer schedule at season's end -- facing USC, Stanford and Utah coming into the Civil War.
If Oregon doesn't win one of those three games, I'm not sure what sort of mindset the Ducks will be in for a game that shapes up to be a very important day for their coaching staff. The motivation could be much bigger on the OSU sideline than Oregon's.
Yes, the game is still about a month away, but in a college-football season when there hasn't been much to be excited about in this state, the Civil War could be a dandy of a game.