First look: WSU at Oregon State
Time: 1 p.m. (PST) Saturday. TV: FSN
Records: WSU (1-9, 0-7 in Pac-10); Oregon State (4-4, 3-2)
Last week: Washington State lost to California, 20-13.
Oregon State lost at UCLA, 17-14
Last time: Oregon State defeated WSU, 42-10, in Pullman in 2009.
The line: Oregon State by 23.
What it means for WSU: This is the Cougars final hurdle until their well-earned back-to-back bye weeks. But what team wants to go into two weeks without games dealing with the hangover of a bad beatdown? A good showing against the up-and-down Beavers would send Washington State into the break with an upbeat attitude and should make the preparation for the Apple Cup that much more focused.
What it means for OSU: A bowl, pure and simple. The Beavers need to win two of their remaining four games to be eligible. But the final three are home vs. USC, at No. 7 Stanford and the Civil War in Corvallis against No. 1 Oregon. One win in that stretch might be daunting, but lose to WSU and Oregon State would need two. That might be too much even for the usually late-blooming Beavers.
Key matchup: Defensive tackle Stephen Paea vs. center Zack Williams.
Last season WSU center Kenny Alfred played possibly his best game of the year, handling the Morris Trophy winner for much of the game. Yet the result was still a 32-point defeat. The 6-foot-1, 311-pound Paea, who passed on the NFL draft and returned for his senior season, can destroy an offense by himself, so he will not be left to Williams alone. But the 6-4, 298-pound senior will have main responsibility, while also completing accurate snaps to quarterback Jeff Tuel, a problem in the past.