Oregon State Beavers


Next: Oregon State (9-4) vs. Missouri (8-4), Sun Bowl, 11 a.m. PT, Dec. 29, Sun Bowl Stadium, El Paso, Texas, CBS.

• By now, most of Beaver Nation knows Oregon's Mike Bellotti and Washington State's Bill Doba didn't vote for Oregon State in the USA Today/Coaches top 25 this week. Why? Recruiting.

Bellotti and Doba don't want the Beavers to be ranked, no matter how bad their snub makes them look.

At least Doba's Cougars beat Oregon State. He should have stayed up late Saturday, though, to watch OSU's 35-32 win over Hawaii. Doba ranked the Warriors 25th.

Washington's Tyrone Willingham wasn't so small-minded, ranking Oregon State 21st. OSU's Mike Riley had his team 20th, Cal's Jeff Tedford had the Beavers 24th and former Stanford coach Walt Harris ranked them 25th.

The BCS standings have Oregon State 22nd, with Southern Cal fifth, California 18th and UCLA 25th. That seems about right.

• Why did the Pac-10 vote for postseason honors before four of its teams had completed their regular seasons? Had voters known UCLA was going to beat Southern Cal, and Oregon State would win at Hawaii, Riley - who finished second in the balloting - may well have been coach of the year, not SC's Pete Carroll.

Of course, it probably wouldn't have changed Bellotti's mind.

• Credit for the intentional safety in the closing seconds of the Beavers' 35-32 win at Hawaii goes to linebacker coach Greg Newhouse. Credit the whole offensive staff for putting receiver Sammie Stroughter in to receive the deep snap in punt formation and run back into the end zone for the safety.

'Greg said, 'Hey, we can take a safety,' and I said, 'Let's do it,' ' Riley says. 'We got into a tight punt formation, put Sammie in there and told him to try to burn as much clock as he could. Sammie is sure-handed, and he is one of the fastest players we have.'

• In Hawaii, Oregon State stayed at Turtle Bay, an hour and a half (and half an island) away from the temptations of Waikiki Beach. Riley opted for the isolation on the advice of former OSU star Rockne Freitas, a 10-year NFL veteran and three-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle who lives in Hawaii and helps the Beavers with recruiting.

Turtle Bay happens to be located near Kuhuku High, where current Beavers Jeremy Perry, Micah Strickland and Suaesi Tuimaunei played.

'Rockne said, 'Take the boys up there to stay. The people at Kuhuku will love you for it,' ' Riley says. 'And it wasn't bad to be up there away from the limelight.'

• The Beavers are looking at a half-dozen Hawaiian high school seniors, and the outcome of the OSU-Hawaii game couldn't have hurt their chances.

'I don't know if it gets us anybody,' Riley says, 'but it's a very good picture of who we are. The guys over there got a chance to see us up close.'

OSU has offered a scholarship to Kahuku senior Kaniela Tuitupolu, a 6-1, 280-pound defensive lineman, and is waging a recruiting battle with Tennessee, Utah, Brigham Young, Hawaii and Arizona. Coaches are excited about the expected January arrival of a Kahuku graduate, Walker Vavae, a 6-2, 240-pound linebacker who was signed by OSU in 2005 and has been on a two-year church mission. He was the state's player of the year in 2004.

Arizona is the Beavers' main competition for 6-1, 220-pound linebacker Vuna Tuihalamaka out of El Camino (Calif.) Junior College.

-Kerry Eggers