Can Beavers win Pac-12 North?

Aerial attack, stout run defense could put Oregon State in Pac-12 title game

Updated: October 15, 2012, 5:03 PM ET
By KC Joyner | ESPN Insider
Markus Wheaton AP Photo/ David Hood/CSMWR Markus Wheaton, who has six receiving TDs, is a big reason why the Beavers are undefeated.

At some level, it would be understandable if the rise of the Oregon State Beavers to No. 8 in the BCS standings and the AP Top 25 is viewed with a bit of skepticism. After all, the Beavers have ranked this high in the top 10 in only three weeks since the 1969 season and are 3-0 in conference play for the first time since 1968, so there is a long history of less-than-elite on-field performance for this program.

In addition, Oregon State resides in the Pac-12 North, a division that includes the Oregon Ducks, which are No. 3 in the BCS standings and No. 2 in the AP poll, and the Stanford Cardinal, whose two losses belie the fact this squad has top-10-caliber talent.

The combination of those factors might make it seem as if Oregon State simply should be happy with having made it this far, but a closer look indicates the Beavers may have a strong chance of earning a berth in the Pac-12 championship game.