Pitt-Oregon State: A Look Ahead

Zak Kulin@@Zak_KulinContributor IDecember 11, 2008

Brut Sun Bowl—December 31, 2008   2 p.m.  CBS

This year's Sun Bowl has one of the most intriguing match ups of the bowl season. You can say what you want about the mediocrity of the Big East and Pac-10 and how both conferences are sub-par, but this match up should be a good one. This showcase of dominant running backs proves to be one of the most exciting bowls this year.

Pitt (9-3) has struggled through several of its games this season. This coupled with the fact that their schedule was at best decent leads many to believe that they are not as good as their record shows. Pitt's last game against Connecticut was a breath of fresh air for many Pitt fans, as their offense broke out of its mini scoring slump to cash in 34 points in a 34-10 victory.

Pitt's recipe for success in this game is the high-powered rushing attack of LeSean McCoy and LaRod Stephens-Howling. Oregon amassed 694 yards of total offense, including 385 yards on the ground alone against Oregon State. If Pitt can accumulate even half of the total rushing yards that Oregon pounded out, they should be in good shape.

Bill Stull has to keep things under control, meaning no turnovers, and simply manage the game. Pitt should have no need to air it out in order to win, and if the rushing game is effective and the defense remains stout, Pitt should walk away with this game.

Oregon State (8-4) has a major win on their resume which has to count for at least something. Upsetting USC is no easy task and doing so makes Oregon State a team to be reckoned with.

It seemed as though Oregon State would be an average team at the beginning of the year with a loss at Stanford and a blowout loss at Penn State. However, they routed Hawaii on the road, which is no easy task for any continental U.S. team, which seemed to turn this squad around.

After beating USC and then losing to BCS at large Utah, Oregon State rattled off six straight wins before getting demolished at home against Oregon. However, Jacquizz Rodgers did not play in this game.

Oregon State's recipe for success is to give the ball to a then-healthy Jacquizz Rodgers. The stud freshman running back has been OSU's version of McCoy for Pitt and is just as invaluable. OSU's plan on offense needs to be similar, if not the exact same as Pitt's in order for a shot at victory.

Lyle Moevao, who is most likely a bit more talented than Stull, can attack the Pitt defense with a bit more confidence than his counterpart. If Oregon State can utilize their fantastic freshman back and throw in a couple passing packages, victory should be in their hands.

Prediction: PITT 27    Oregon State 21