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The Beavers look to get their season started

Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema leads his team on the field before the first half of an NCAA college football game against Northern Iowa Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012, in Madison, Wis.
Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema leads his team on the field before the first half of an NCAA college football game against Northern Iowa Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012, in Madison, Wis.
Morry Gash, Associated Press

Coach Mike Riley jokes that Oregon State has been in the longest training camp ever.

The Beavers, who started camp back on Aug. 6, didn't play their opener on Saturday against Nicholls State because Hurricane Isaac swept through the Colonels' Thibodaux, La., campus.

Officials from Oregon State and Nicholls State jointly decided last Wednesday night that it was in the best interests of the students to postpone the game, possibly until the first weekend in December.

The result is that Oregon State will finally open its season this Saturday at home against No. 13 Wisconsin.

It is the first time a Big Ten team has ventured to Corvallis since 1971, when the Beavers defeated Iowa 33-19.

"I've been saying it's as big a nonconference game that Oregon State has ever hosted," Riley said. "I think it's awesome."

After the Nicholls State game was called off last week, Riley gave the Beavers a day off before getting back to work. He thought there might be a letdown among the players because they had already started their preparations for the Colonels.

"We tried to look at the silver lining: We get in a little more work, we might get a couple of guys healthy, we practice the routine of a game week," Riley said. "Hopefully all those things are good. I think you find out the most about your team when you play a game, which we didn't get to do. But we've tried to spin the positives from this and get ready for a big game."

Last year the Beavers traveled to Madison and fell 35-0 to the Badgers. The loss was the second of a four-game losing streak to start the season for Oregon State. The Beavers finished the season a disappointing 3-9, and out of the postseason for the second straight season.

Wisconsin went 11-3 last season and lost to Oregon in the Rose Bowl.

The Badgers opened this season with a 26-21 victory at home over FCS power Northern Iowa.

Coach Bret Bielema said he was pleased to get the win but said there were things the Badgers needed to improve before facing the Beavers.

"I know we're going to see a much improved football team going out there this year than we faced last year at Camp Randall," Bielema said. "And obviously anytime you travel for the first time it's got its own set of issues. Tuesday is the first day of classes as well. So a lot of big firsts coming this week for this team to take on."

There was some gamesmanship going on this week when Bielema decided not to give Oregon State the Northern Iowa game film because the Beavers had no game film to offer in return.

Riley was able to get ahold of the film anyway, although he kept his source anonymous.

Saturday's game will be the Beavers' latest season opener since a Sept. 9, 1989, game against Stanford.

As for the Nicholls State game, officials from both schools are still mulling options for rescheduling. Because the teams have different off dates, the game could be scheduled for the weekend of Dec. 1, but there could be a conflict if the Colonels reach the FCS playoffs or the Beavers go to the Pac-12 championship. Pac-12 officials also will be involved in rescheduling the game.

On Tuesday, Oregon State announced that ticket holders could either hold on to them for the rescheduled game, or exchange them for tickets to a Pac-12 home game based on availability.

Oregon State had not missed a game since 2001 when a home game against Montana State was canceled because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.