- KC Joyner, NFL Insider
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.
While Oregon State faces stiff competition in the Pac-12 North -- and recently lost starting QB Sean Mannion to injury -- the Beavers' passing attack and tough run defense will help them contend for the division title, writes KC Joyner.