College football fans are you getting excited yet?
Oregon State and Stanford open the Pac Ten season tonight in Palo Alto. The Beavers have placed a priority on starting fast this season. They have started the season 2-3 the past two seasons, only to lose once more the rest of the way to post the second most wins in the conference to Southern California. After visiting the Cardinal, the Beavers travel to No. 22 Penn State next weekend.
The Beavers are favored in this one by 3.5 points but I think Stanford is going to surprise the Beavers at home and come away with the upset. The Cardinal are strongest early in the season before depth starts becoming an issue. Harbaugh has proven he can get his teams up for big games and a victory in the opener will help sell some future tickets in what has become a very empty Stanford Stadium.
The key match up in this game will be the Cardinal offensive line versus the front seven of OSU. Last season the Cardinal rushing attack averaged just 111 yards per game and three yards per carry. The Stanford line, however, should be much improved in 2008 and the Beavers entire starting defensive line and linebackers from 2007 are gone.
The key story in this game is the Cardinal are getting better, deeper and are coached extremely well. The Beavers are trying to prove that they are reloading rather than rebuilding.