No member of Cal's senior class has ever tasted victory against Oregon State.
So while a victory Saturday at AT&T Park would make the Bears bowl-eligible, the chance to snap a four-game losing streak to the Beavers also ranks high on the priority list.
"I've never beat Oregon State," senior right guard Justin Cheadle said. "Whatever it seems to be, we just don't seem to play well or things go wrong. The great thing about that is we get a chance this week to hit back, and that will be a good feeling. The seniors would love to beat Oregon State."
Losses to the Beavers typically come with an extra helping of heartache for the Bears.
Think back to 2007, when quarterback Kevin Riley's ill-advised dash for the end zone came up short, time ran out and Cal lost 31-28, missing a chance to reach No. 1 in the national rankings.
In 2009, a 31-14 loss was marked by a scary concussion to running back Jahvid Best, who lie motionless in the end zone after soaring over defenders to score a touchdown and crashing hard to the ground. Best, a junior, missed the final four games of that season and then entered the NFL.
Then came last year's 35-7 defeat in Corvallis, when Riley was lost to a season-ending left knee injury with four games to go.
"I can't (explain) it," senior safety Sean Cattouse said. "We've definitely lost some key guys. I know last year we didn't execute too well."
Oregon State coach Mike Riley, 6-2 against
"I don't think you can put too much stock in the past," Riley said. "It's whoever plays best that day."
Mannion was impressive enough early in the season to supplant junior Ryan Katz, last year's starter, as the No. 1 quarterback. He's completed 64.3 percent of his passes (227 for 353), and though he leads the Pac-12 with 13 interceptions, Mannion ranks fourth with 271.9 yards per game.
Oregon State is averaging just 94.6 yards on the ground, second-to-last in the conference.
"I think one of Sean's greatest attributes is his poise," Riley said. "If he has time to throw, he's accurate and makes a lot of plays."
An MRI showed fellow linebacker David Wilkerson has a bruised left knee. He's also being monitored daily.