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Kurt Kragthorpe and Kyle Goon
Kurt Kragthorpe and Kyle Goon cover University of Utah sports teams for The Salt Lake Tribune.

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Beavers suddenly the darlings of the Pac-12

The last we saw of Oregon State, the Utes were running all over the Beavers in a 27-8 beatdown last October at Rice-Eccles Stadium. It was pretty clear then which team was on the rise and which was at its low point.

But the times have changed.

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While Utah and Oregon State won't play again for another month, it's now equally apparent which team is trending in which direction. The Beavers are 2-0, with both wins coming against ranked opponents (Nebraska and UCLA). Sean Mannion, the quarterback who the Utes repeatedly beat up on, is showing poise and precision in the passing game. Receivers Brandin Cooks and Markus Wheaton look like all-conference performers if they can stay consistent.

Oregon State debuted at No. 18 in the AP Top 25 this week after a 28-21 win at the Rose Bowl last week. Now, we're not reactionaries enough to suggest that Oregon State will be making a return to that venue in January.

However, the resurgent Beavers are, in fact, thinking Rose Bowl, a dream which is aided by the fact the Beavers don't play USC this season.

"That bond we created in the offseason, it’s definitely helping on the field," senior receiver Markus Wheaton told The Oregonian. "We came into the season with one goal and we still have that goal. People will probably think it’s far-fetched, but if we stick together, anything is possible. We’re working to get there."

The Beavers are far and away the darlings of the early Pac-12 season, partly due to coach Mike Riley's nice guyness. After the win at UCLA, he stayed true to his promise and treated the entire team to In-N-Out burgers (no word on if the Beavs will swing into the American Fork In-N-Out if they win in Provo in three weeks).

In some ways, the Beavers are overshadowing the neighboring Oregon Ducks, who are ranked No. 2 in the country, but have a lot of questions going into week 5.

The Beavers are only 2-0, and has had two weeks to prepare for each of its two opponents, and advantage that can't be overstated. Saturday's game at Arizona will be a clearer barometer of where Oregon State is going.

PAC-12 Links
Links from around the Pac-12
Arizona (Tucson Citizen)
» Hansen's Sunday Notebook: Miller's good day
» Arizona Wildcats Video Extra: UA football
» Greg Hansen's Video Notebook
» Arizona Wildcats Video Extra...Arizona football makes the most out of Spring practice

Arizona St. (Arizona Republic)
» ASU hockey tops Robert Morris to claim ACHA crown
» ASU baseball drops series against Tennessee
» Cancer fails to pin ASU's Eskam or derail his big plans for life
» Late errors doom ASU baseball in tough loss to Tennessee

California (East Bay Tribune)
» Cal women's tennis team stuns host Stanford, claims first Pac-12 title.
» Cal's Sonny Dykes gets advice from veteran coaches after 1-11 first season
» Cal football: Espitia hopes he's found home at linebacker
» Local digest: Longtime Stanford diving coach Rick Schavone is retiring

Colorado (Denver Post)
» Colorado Classics: Darian Hagan, former CU Buffs quarterback
» CU Buffs backup QB Jordan Gehrke impresses during spring drills
» Fleet freshman receivers shine in CU Buffs' spring game
» Spring games are important, Colorado's Mike MacIntyre says

Oregon (The Oregonian)
» Canzano: Oregon Ducks coach Mark Helfrich says there is no user's manual to being a head coach
» Edward Cheserek makes a triumphant debut at Hayward Field in the Oregon Relays
» UO women's 4x100 flies to No. 2 in school history at the Mt. SAC Relays
» Oregon Ducks' multi-dimensional Oshay Dunmore hopes reunion with Erik Chinander ends in a breakout spring

Oregon State (Corvallis Gazette-Times)
» OSU men's basketball: De Carolis statement on men's basketball
» Oregon State's tournament success caps a remarkably quick turnaround
» OSU gymnastics: Beavers headed to Penn State for NCAA regionals
» OSU wins seventh straight racquetball national title

Stanford (San Jose Mercury-News)
» Cal women's tennis team stuns host Stanford, claims first Pac-12 title.
» Stanford's Olympic diving coach Rick Schavone retires
» Local digest: Longtime Stanford diving coach Rick Schavone is retiring
» Local digest: Saint Mary's men's golf leads at WCC tournament

UCLA (Los Angeles Daily News)
» UCLA Football Notebook: Running back Malcolm Jones loses appeal for extra season
» College Football: Position coach Adrian Klemm says UCLA offensive line a work in progress
» COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Improving UCLA has questions to answer during preseason football camp
» COLLEGE FOOTBALL: UCLA's prized recruit Eddie Vanderdoes cleared to play by NCAA after leaving Notre Dame

USC (Los Angeles Daily News)
» USC Football Notebook: Marqise Lee's injury not too serious
» USC Football Notebook: QBs Max Wittek, Cody Kessler present dilemma for Trojans coach Lane Kiffin
» USC FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Former UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel thinks Trojans might not miss QB Matt Barkley
» USC FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Dion Bailey says it's 'now or never'

Washington (Seattle Times)
» California avoids sweep, beats Huskies in baseball
» Jeff Lindquist shines but UW quarterback competition to continue
» Deontae Cooper, Lavon Coleman, Jeff Lindquist shine in UW spring game
» Videos: Deontae Cooper, Jonathan Smith after UW's spring game

Washington State (Spokane Spokesman-Review)
» Spokane Shock vs. Cleveland
» Shock lose on last play
» Spring Practice Report: Day 11
» Video: Idaho's Petrino after scrimmage



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