Week 14 - Nicholls State at Oregon State

Posted Nov 30, 2012

Week 14 Fearless Prediction - Nicholls State at Oregon State

Nicholls State (1-9) at Oregon State (8-3) Dec. 1, 2:30, Pac-12 Networks

Here's The Deal: Oregon State has a game after the Civil War and before its bowl game. And oddly enough, it does not involve the Pac-12 championship.

In one of the great letdown contests in program history, the Beavers will be facing an FCS visitor in a make-up of the opener that was cancelled by Hurricane Isaac. Head coach Mike Riley and his staff of assistants will need to dig deep into their bag of motivational tricks the week after their kids lost to rival Oregon, 48-24, for the fifth consecutive year. On the brink of reversing last year's 3-9 mark, Oregon State appears headed to either the Alamo Bowl or Holiday Bowl, pending Friday night's Pac-12 title game.

For hapless Nicholls State of the Southland Conference, this trip to the Pacific Northwest might make it feel as if it's competing in the FCS playoffs. It isn't, of course. In fact, the Colonels lost their two games against FBS opponents, including a 66-16 drubbing at the hands of Tulsa. Their lone victory came over Evangel of the NAIA.

Why Nicholls State Might Win: Riley will be fortunate if his kids are awake for this game.

Not only will kickoff be in the morning on the West Coast, but Oregon State will find it impossible to get up for a bad FCS visitor the week after Oregon was in town. The Colonels, playing with absolutely nothing to lose, will try to catch the Beavers napping by getting the ball in the hands of their best playmakers, QB Landry Klann and backs Marcus Washington and Jesse Turner. Washington has two 100-yard games and six touchdowns this fall.

Why Oregon State Might Win: On its worst day, the Beavers can score 50 on Nicholls State.

Oregon State surely might be vulnerable this week, but not against a team that's already lost to the likes of South Alabama, Lamar and Northwestern State. Even in a fog, the Beavers will move the ball at will by getting the ball in the hands of top back Storm Woods and speedy receivers Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks. On defense, the Colonels will have no answers for a D that had been playing well until the Ducks got to town. DE Scott Crichton, in particular, is a relentless rusher who could be in Klann's space throughout the afternoon.

What To Watch Out For: While the outcome will never be in doubt, that doesn't mean that this isn't an important game for the Beavers offense, especially the quarterbacks. Cody Vaz hasn't practiced since injuring his ankle on Nov. 10 against Stanford. Original starter Sean Mannion has been very shaky in the meantime, throwing four interceptions in Saturday's loss to the Ducks. Oregon State will have almost a month off before playing again, more than enough time for Vaz to get right. If Mannion has any hopes of starting beyond Saturday, he better be razor-sharp against a cupcake opponent.

What Will Happen: Losers of three of their last five games, the Beavers will amass a little momentum for the postseason.

Oregon State will build an early lead on an overmatched opponent, emptying the bench in the third quarter and treating the unorthodox finale as a glorified scrimmage. Riley will use as many players as possible, getting reps for little-used seniors as well as the young foundations of the future. The real heroes, though, will be the Corvallis locals who brave the chilly temperatures to endure this mismatch.

CFN Prediction: Oregon State 62 … Nicholls State 0
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) No Line O/U: No Line
Must Watch Rating (5 – Crossfire Hurricane, 1 – Comic Book Men: 1