When breaking down the Oregon State wrestling team's chances in the Pac-10 Championships, the Beavers have an opportunity for their second straight title.
The chances, however, are slim.
Boise State enters Sunday's tournament in Gill Coliseum with seven consensus nationally ranked wrestlers and five No. 1 seeds. OSU has four ranked and one No. 1 seed.
The Broncos were favored last year, but the Beavers put together a complete performance for the upset. There were a string of bonus points from pins, technical falls and major decisions that made the difference.
"It will take a total team effort," OSU assistant coach Kevin Roberts said. "We have to get bonus points. Boise State will get its marquee guys in the finals - three or four - but we have a chance to beat them head-to-head in a few weights. We have to keep their second-tier guys out."
There isn't an easy bracket for the Beavers. Top-seeded Colby Covington has a chance to repeat as the 174-pound champion, but has a tough rival in No. 2 Nick Amuchastegui from Stanford.
Covington is ranked fifth nationally and Amuchastegui sixth. Covington narrowly beat him at home during the dual meet season.
From the spectator's standpoint, the 174- and 157-pounders are the co-main events. Boise State's Adam Hall and Arizona State's Bubba Jenkins are ranked third and fourth in the country at 157 and should meet in the final.
Heavyweight Clayton Jack is seeded second and OSU's second-best chance for a title. He nearly beat No. 1 Levi Cooper from Arizona State during a dual meet.
"It's up for grabs there," Roberts said. "Jack is capable of beating every guy in the tournament by three or four points, if he just wrestles well."
Scott Sakaguchi is seeded second at 149 pounds, and has a potential challenging semifinal with Filip Novachkov from Cal Poly. Sakaguchi hopes to get by him for a shot at No. 1 Jason Chamberlain of Boise State in the final after losing four close matches this season. Two went into overtime.
Roberts said Jason Lara, seeded third at 125, is expected back after missing the last four meets with an injury. Lara hasn't faced No. 2 Ryan Mango from Stanford this season, but beat him twice last season.
They should meet in the semifinals with Arizona State's Anthony Robles, ranked second in the country, waiting in the finals.
No. 3 seed Mike Mangrum (141), No. 3 Jon Brascetta (165), and No. 5 Chad Hanke (197) are in key brackets for the Beavers. Those are where they need to pick up points.
Brascetta's field has been competitive since everyone has beaten each other. Mangrum has a potentially tough semifinal matchup with Levi Jones from Boise State to face the favorite, Boris Novachkov of Cal Poly in the final.
Hanke faces a tough first-round matchup with Cal Poly's Ryan Smith. They've met four times in their careers with each winning two. Smith, however, has won the last two.
No. 3 Garrett Drucker (133) should reach the semifinals for a competitive showdown with Stanford's Justin Paulsen. They split their meetings this season. Boise State's Andrew Houchstrasser is the favorite here.
No. 4 Brice Arand (184) and No. 5 Alex Elder (157) are in tough brackets. OSU hopes they can contribute points. Top-seeded 184-pounder Kirk Smith of Boise State took an injury default his last match. If he's not healthy that bracket may be wide open.
"We want all 10 guys out to pin his guy each time," Covington said. "There has to be a sense of urgency and not be content just to win. You need to get more points. So we just have to wrestle with a lot of emotion at this time of year."
One advantage the Beavers have in a seven-team tournament is Boise State is so dominant. The Broncos' five top-seeds will have first-round byes and not have a chance to earn bonus points against a lesser No. 8 wrestler.
"That's an opportunity to give us points," OSU assistant coach Troy Steiner said. "That's where we can pick up some ground."
OSU expects Boise State to challenge the brackets this afternoon during the coaches' meeting because of the disadvantage. The Broncos would prefer to change the rule so who the No. 7 wrestler faces be randomly drawn between either No. 1 or No. 2.
The rules were set up last year with an eight-team conference. When UC Davis dropped its program the rules weren't changed. The Beavers believe they could be changed in the future, but not for this year.
"They will argue that the bye should be drawn in to get the No. 1 or No. 2 seed," Roberts said. "It's set, and to be changed it has to be changed a year ahead. With minus an eighth team, the seventh guy has No. 2 and No. 1 gets a bye. They will argue to have a chance for a match."