How will Oregon State perform without Sean Mannion?
AndyPanda, Building The Dam: Probably better than most teams would if they lost their starting quarterback and had to go to a backup with little to no relevant experience. There are 4 factors playing into Oregon St.'s favor the next 3 games.
1. The opponents aren't high scoring teams, which is more important than whether they are winning or not. These games probably won't require 28 or more points to win, and some could be won with 21 or less, so the demands on Cody Vaz are not nearly what they would be if the next 3 opponents were Arizona, USC, and Oregon.
2. Closely related, the Oregon St. defense has played well this season, with only the second half against Arizona that really was a concern. Also, the preferred style of BYU, Utah, and Washington is a good matchup for the Beaver defense, which should be able to at least have their team in position to be able to win.
3. Vaz still has Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks to throw to, and they haven't slowed down.
4. Mike Riley is calling the plays. Its worth noting that the Beavers were struggling offensively with a healthy Mannion even in the latter portion of last year, and Riley wasn't calling the game. The fact that he is again this year has a lot to do with things going much better for Oregon St., and that gives Vaz the same advantage Mannion has had this year.
If Mannion gets healthy soon, things will be back to normal, and if he can't, Vaz will have had some time to get up to game speed by the time November rolls around.
Avinash Kunnath, Pacific Takes & California Golden Blogs (Cal): If he's out only a few weeks, they should survive. The big test this week is at Provo, but it's a non-conference game and would at worst hinder their BCS at-large chances. They'd still be very much alive for the Pac-12 title, and they'd have winnable games against Utah and Washington ahead. After that comes ASU though, so they could probably need Mannion for that one.
I don't know enough about Cody Vaz to say what he's capable of, but I do know the Beavers haven't been running away from their opponents. Vaz will need to at least provide a half-decent impression of what Mannion gives the Beavers or they'll be very upset-prone in every one of their remaining games.
David Piper, Addicted to Quack (Oregon): It's difficult to say. Mannion has been a pleasant surprise, but Mike Riley has been singing the praises of Cody Vaz all fall. The rumor floating around Oregon is that Mannion has a meniscus tear, which probably means missing 2-3 games. Three games would be BYU, Utah, and Washington. That's not an easy three game stretch, but its not a juggernaut, either. If they can make it through that stretch 2-1, they've still got a decent chance at 10-2 and a BCS at-large.
Gekko Mojo, UW Dawg Pound (Washington): OSU's resurgence this year has been more than just Mannion. With a focus on tough defensive play, re-establishing a steady if not sexy rushing attack and getting the ball to playmakers like Markus Wheaton with high percentage plays, the OSU formula should still be intact. Sure, third downs might be a little harder and turnovers might be a little higher, but I don't see Vaz losing a game that Mannion would have otherwise won.
Trevor Wong, Conquest Chronicles (USC): The Beavers should be fine if he's out for a short period of time. They're not exactly facing murderer's row in the next three games (at BYU, vs. Utah, at Washington) and all three are very winnable games. Yes, Mannion has Oregon State's offense as the Pac-12's second-highest passing attack behind Arizona, but its defense has been just as good, giving up just 17 points per contest. If Cody Vaz can control the game and take care of the ball, Oregon State will be fine.
Cory Williams, House of Sparky (ASU): We all thought Oregon State was going to be terrible this season, even with Sean Mannion. They have outperformed every single expectation in 2012. Now, they face a stiff test of playing without their leader. Unfortunately, despite having some talent, it's difficult to imagine Cody Vaz coming in and leading this team to a win against BYU. I think, if Mannion misses three games, the Beavers will go 1-2.
Adam Butler, Pacific Takes (Arizona) & Pac Hoops: Silver lining? This is arguably an "easy" three-or-four pack of games for Mannion to miss. There are tougher roads than BYU, Utah, @UW, and ASU. I'm not calling this a cake walk but Mannion should be back for Stanford and Oregon. We don't know a ton about Cody Vaz but how much did we really know about this Beaver team before the season? Riley runs a program and so I don't believe this is season threatening news.
thecassino, UW Dawg Pound (Washington): I think it will be a big impact. BYU's defense is good enough to make even great quarterbacks have off games, much less someone making their first start. If he's out for the Washington game as well, OSU is looking at a likely 1-2 stretch best case, and that will probably be enough to drop them out of the top 3 in the Pac-12 North. And of course he could come back less than full strength, or miss more games than expected.
Justin Karp, Pacific Takes and Bold Saguaros (ASU): A threat to the season? Nah. Not quite. However, the chances of this injury being very bad for the Beavers are much higher than the chances of Oregon State being able to press forward without him. Sean Mannion has quietly put together a very nice season, completing 63 percent of his passes and making opposing secondaries double down on Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks. Unheralded junior Cody Vaz is an unknown entity, but a kneejerk reaction concludes that he won't put up those kinds of numbers, at least not immediately.
The next four games may be a chance, then, for Oregon State to A) sure up their defense going forward into a slog of a Pac-12 North season, and B) establish Storm Woods as a legitimate back. Davis is averaging nearly 5 yards per carry and is more than game to carry a load going forward.
Losing Mannion certainly hurts both the psyche and on the field, but this is where Mike Riley shines. They'll be fine.
Ute Football Central (Utah) & Pacific Takes: Two weeks ago many on the round table talked about how Mannion was perhaps the Heisman candidate for the Pac-12 conference overall. If that's truly the case, then this is likely a devastating blow for the Beavers when it comes to competing with the elite teams of the Pac-12. They should be fine against BYU who has their own QB issues, but the BYU defense is really tough and missing Mannion could be the difference in whether they leave Provo with a win.
JazzyUte, Block U (Utah): As much as I want to see Oregon State beat BYU, I think the Cougars’ defense can keep the point total low enough so that they pull out a very tight, low-scoring victory down in Provo. I anticipate the game, and score, will be much like BYU’s win over Utah State last Friday. Still, I would love to see the Beavers beat the Cougars for a whole host of reasons ... but it’s going to be hard. After that, though, I think they stand a good chance of rebounding and beating Utah, who has no offensive flow right now. The fact the game is in Corvallis should give them the heads up. But I don’t know if I see them beating Washington, so, I’m guessing a 1-2 record in these next three ... though I guess 2-1 is possible.
I do agree they will need Mannion for ASU.
Jack Follman, Pacific Takes (Washington): It definitely hurts. Quarterback is the last position you want to lose a starter to injury, especially when that quarterback has been playing just as good as anyone in the conference. Just how much it hurts though will depend on two things. 1. How good is Cody Vaz? If he's not up to snuff teams will simply sell out to the run and blitz him to oblivion and the Beavers will have a tough time doing anything on offense. 2. How long is Mannion out? They can get by with a backup with their style of play against the mid to lower level Pac-12 teams, but they will need to be firing on all cylinders if they hope to knock off Oregon.
Kyle Kensing, Arizona Desert Swarm (Arizona): It's unfortunate given Mannion has been one of the breakout stars in the conference, and OSU is set to face a great defense in BYU, and two good defenses in Washington and Utah. OSU's own defense has been excellent, so I suspect if the Beavers are going to keep winning they'll need to wear down Washington and Utah on that side of the ball to create scoring opponents. If you look at last week, both lost in large part for that reason: UU couldn't sustain possessions and the defense tired late, and UW made costly turnovers.