Oregon State vs. BYU
Tom: This one was making me nervous long before starting QB Sean Mannion went down with a knee injury. True, BYU hasn't put up many points lately (save for that 47-0 home stomping of Hawaii), but they haven't needed many points. Against Boise State on September 20th, the Broncos were held without an offensive touchdown but beat the Cougars 7-6 behind an interception return for a touchdown. Now, with starting QB Riley Nelson back in the lineup, BYU will be looking for a repeat of last year's 38-28 victory. This one will be a defensive slug-fest, as BYU gets after Mannion's replacement, Cody Vaz. Vaz will have to work against one of the nation's better defenses (BYU has the 5th ranked defense in FBS, and 12th against the pass), and 60,000+ Cougar fans will be waiting to roar. It should be close, but there are too many things going against OSU in this one. Oregon State: 13 BYU: 19
Nick: Having already proved they can lean on their defense when needed, the No. 10 Beavers may have to do so again without the services of Sean Mannion. Can Cody Vaz keep the Beavers perfect? Maybe, but he will need help. If the O-line can give him time and make some room for Storm Woods and the run game, then I think the Beavers have a chance. Riley Nelson popped the Beavs in the mouth a few times last year at Reser, now a year wiser and better suited to punch back, I do think the Beavs get off to their first 5-0 start since the start of the second World War. Oregon State: 17 BYU: 14
Dirk: Boy, Sean Mannion going down with a knee injury sure threw a wrench into the works. I was positively going to pick the Beavers to win before Mannion hurt his knee. Since hearing of Mannion's surgery, I have been flip flopping. But then I checked out the NCAA statistics. BYU ranks fifth nationally in total defense, third in scoring defense, first in red zone defense and first in rush defense. That last one spells a lot of trouble for OSU. Without Mannion, the Beavs will have to rely on their defense and Cody Vaz to win the game. The Oregon St. defense is good enough to get it done, especially if the Beavers can create turnovers or even score off those turnovers. However, I think BYU will play a conservative game with Riley Nelson and rely on its defense to win the game. It is Homecoming in Provo and the Cougars like to get up for top 10 opponents. It all smells bad for OSU. You don't know how bad it makes me feel to do this, but Oregon State: 9 BYU: 10
Phil: Everything seemed too good to be true with the Beavers in the top ten and undefeated, and then Sean Mannion goes down with a torn meniscus. It's a tough blow, but the Beavers can roll with the punches. Cody Vaz looked good during practice this week, mostly working on his timing with the starting wide receivers. The redshirt junior is more than capable of managing the game for OSU and helping the Beavers walk out of Provo with a win. The problem is the Cougars have one of the best defenses in the country. The key will be getting the ball to the Beavers' playmakers in open space. I expect a lot of screens and check downs to the flat. I also expect the Oregon State defense to rise to the occasion. It remembers what Riley Nelson did in 2011. This year it's time for a little payback. Beavs win a very physical contest. Oregon State: 13 BYU: 6
Last week, once again, the guys in the sports office showed their football expertise and picked both games correctly. Tom was the closest to the correct score, but the defending champion is still a game behind Nick and Phil.
1. Nick: 9-1 (11), 2. Phil: 9-1 (9.5), 3. Tom: 8-2 (10.5), 4. Dirk: 8-2 (9)
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