This season's Beavers were picked to finish last in the Pac-12 North Division. But after the opener against Nicholls State was postponed by Hurricane Isaac, the Beavers upset then-No. 13 Wisconsin at Reser Stadium and the then-No. 19 UCLA Bruins at the Rose Bowl.
"I give a lot of credit again to Oregon State. Mike Riley is a very good football coach," Badgers coach Bret Bielema said after his team's loss.
Oregon State's AP ranking is its highest since Nov. 29, 2009, when the Beavers were No. 13 heading into the Civil War rivalry game against Oregon. It is the team's highest ranking this early in the season since they opened 2001 at No. 10.
Riley said he's keeping tabs on how his team is dealing with success.
"You find out week to week, right? I thought their approach and everything was good since Day 1, and I mean camp. They haven't really changed," Riley said. "I know it's an issue, and we address it all the time about how you handle doing well. But this team seems to be pretty grounded."
One way to keep them grounded? Riley has treated his team to In-N-Out burgers after the away games against the Bruins and Wildcats. The order was 255 double-doubles and 150 fries.
Through three games, the Beavers appear solid on both sides of the ball.
Against the Wildcats, sophomore quarterback Sean Mannion passed for a career-high 433 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winner to Connor Hamlett with 1:17 remaining in the fourth quarter. Mannion earned Pac-12 player of the week honors.
Wide receivers Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks are each averaging just over 134 receiving yards a game, ranking them fifth and sixth in the nation.
Oregon State's defense is allowing an average of only 83 yards rushing per game, ninth nationally. The Beavers are in the middle of the Pac-12 for overall defense, allowing opponents nearly 399 yards a game.
On Saturday they'll face the Cougars, who have lost two straight games, to conference foes Colorado and Oregon. Coach Mike Leach said he doesn't know Riley personally but has a lot of respect for him.
"They're a good solid team," Leach said of the Beavers. "They're a team that took their lumps last year, and it feels like this is their year, you know?"