With so many scenarios for how the season may -- or may not -- play out, No. 5 Oregon was focused only on Oregon State and the 116th Civil War.
Oregon's march toward the national championship game detoured last Saturday with a 17-14 overtime loss to Stanford. Now, even the team's shot at the Pac-12 championship is in jeopardy.
Today's Civil War at Reser Stadium is a must-win for Oregon (10-1, 7-1) if they want to keep their hopes for a fourth straight Pac-12 title alive. But the Ducks will need UCLA to help with a victory over Stanford in Los Angeles.
To be back in the mix for a national championship berth, they'll also need USC to topple undefeated and top-ranked Notre Dame.
While they're still underdogs, the Oregon State Beavers certainly have more reasons to be hopeful this season heading into Saturday's Civil War against rival Oregon.
The surprising No. 16 Beavers are not only buoyed by their own dramatic turnaround but also by the vulnerabilities Oregon showed in last weekend's loss to Stanford.
Oregon State has already defied the odds by improving to 8-2 overall after going just 3-9 last season.
After two years without a bowl game, the Beavers were bowl eligible early after a 6-0 start, their best since the 1907 season.
They've also overcome an injury to starting quarterback Sean Mannion, and now one to successful backup-turned-starter Cody Vaz.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.