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Colorado Buffaloes vs. Oregon State Beavers Preview and Prediction

Author:
Storm Barrs-Woods

Storm Barrs-Woods

Only two Pac-12 teams still haven't won a conference game this season. That number will be cut in half when Colorado and Oregon State play each other on Saturday.

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Life has been tough for the Buffaloes even before they joined the Pac-12 in 2011. Colorado has endured nine straight losing seasons, averaging just 3.4 victories per year in that span. The Buffaloes have won just four conference games in the Pac-12 and have lost 14 straight games in conference play dating back to 2013.

Things aren't much better for the Beavers right now. Oregon State has lost 15 of its last 17 games against Pac-12 opponents dating back to 2013. The Beavers are trying to bounce back from their worst start since going 1-5 to open the 2011 season.

Colorado at Oregon State

Kickoff: 10:30 pm ET (Saturday)

TV: Pac-12 Networks

Spread: Oregon State -2

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Three Things to Watch

1. Moving up the Ladder

Sefo Liufau and Nelson Spruce are on track to be the best quarterback and receiver duo in Colorado history. Liufau ranks third all-time in career passing yardage for the Buffaloes, with 6,709 career yards midway through his junior season. He passed Kordell Stewart in passing yardage against Arizona after throwing for 339 yards and two touchdowns against the Wildcats. Spruce continues to add to his school marks as well. He now has 250 career receptions and 2,797 yards. The senior currently ranks fourth all-time in the Pac-12 in receptions.

2. Running Man

Seth Collins takes the whole idea of a mobile quarterback to a new level. The Oregon State freshman is good enough on the ground to be a legitimate running back. Collins tallied his third 100-yard rushing game of the season when he rushed for 142 yards against Washington State last week. He has accumulated 486 yards so far, averaging 81 yards per game. If Collins maintains that pace, he will finish his debut season with 972 rushing yards. The Pac-12 record for rushing yards by a quarterback is 986 yards, set by former Washington standout Jake Locker in 2007.

3. Bag of Tricks

Could Oregon State break out some razzle dazzle plays from the playbook on Saturday? It wouldn't surprise anyone since the Beavers added Gary Crowton as an offensive consultant this week. Crowton, a former head coach at BYU and former offensive coordinator at Oregon and LSU, joined Oregon State after suddenly resigning as the offensive coordinator at Southern Utah earlier this month. The Beavers could use a fresh perspective on offense. Oregon State ranks last in the Pac-12 in scoring offense (21.7 points per game), total offense (332.7 yards per game) and passing offense (145.5 yards per game).

Final Analysis

Colorado and Oregon State are both holding down last place in their respective divisions, but these two cellar dwellers are anything but equal. The Buffaloes have capable playmakers on offense, but have been unable to overcome a weak defense at times. Still, Colorado won't have to worry about going winless in Pac-12 play this season. The Beavers are a complete mess on both sides of the ball.

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Prediction: Colorado 37, Oregon State 31

— Written by John Coon, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Coon has more than a decade of experience covering sports for different publications and outlets, including The Associated Press, Salt Lake Tribune, ESPN, Deseret News, MaxPreps, Yahoo! Sports and many others. Follow him on Twitter @johncoonsports.