CORVALLIS - The next game and opponent for the Oregon State football team will be determined this afternoon.
It's bowl selection Sunday and the Beavers must wait until the bowl selection committees affiliated with the Pacific-10 Conference make their choices.
Even though they are tied for second place in the conference, the Beavers won't get selected for the Dec. 30 Holiday Bowl in San Diego, which is where the second-place team in the Pac-10 plays.
The Holiday Bowl picks its team when there's a multiple-team tie such as the case this season. Some bowl officials like the Beavers, while some favor Arizona, which has wins over OSU and Southern California.
Arizona was invited to the bowl game hours after the Wildcats defeated USC on Saturday, according to media reports. And the Sun Bowl was set to invite Stanford.
A Dec. 22 Las Vegas Bowl invitation is most likely, the fifth-place bowl game with a Pac-10 tie-in.
The fourth-place Emerald Bowl in San Francisco has been vocal about bringing in a Bay Area team, so that would be California. And USC would be considered due to name value.
"We will play the cards that are dealt," coach Mike Riley said. "I'd just like to get good practices in and utilize it for preparation and development of the young guys. The more the better."
Riley was political when asked which game he preferred, and wouldn't say. When talking about his hopes for his team he gives away his favorite due to logistics.
The Beavers are taking this week off to rest and take finals no matter what. If selected for the Las Vegas Bowl they wouldn't get their allotted 15 bowl practices in. There wouldn't be enough time.
"It's unlikely you will get as much practice with a game on the 22nd as you would closer to New Year's," Riley said.
Another issue is healing the team's mental health. The Beavers were disappointed at losing out on the Rose Bowl last year, but had plenty of time to recover for the Dec. 31 Sun Bowl. OSU came back and beat Pittsburgh 3-0 in that game.
"We have to deal with that quicker than normal, but this team will be ready to go once we start practice again," Riley said. "We owe that to the seniors. We don't want them to leave with that taste in their mouths like that. That's part of growing up about learning how to deal with this kind of disappointment."
If the Beavers play in the Las Vegas Bowl they'll face a Mountain West Conference team. The first pick out of that conference plays in the game.
Conference champion Texas Christian is most likely headed for a Bowl Championship Series game. That leaves Brigham Young or Utah.
BYU has been in that game the last four years, and is ahead of Utah in the standings. To freshen up the game there has been talk that game officials want Utah instead.
Either way the Beavers will be challenged. Utah defeated the Beavers in Salt Lake City 31-28 last season in the final seconds.
"You will be beat," Riley said of a team not being ready for the bowl game. "They are good football teams. They have good programs, longstanding programs. They'll be ready to go. They are great match-ups either way."