The Oregon State Beavers are looking up at a lot of College Football programs right now. The Orlando Sentinal newspaper has an annual preseason poll. Their college insider Matt Murschel ranks all 129 Football Bowl Subdivision teams in the country and Oregon State sits at #112. Oddly enough their opponent in week three, Nevada-Reno....ranked #113. That bodes well for the Beavers who I believe will end up the season well above the depths of #112.
The poll cites the fact the Oregon State Football has been in a gradual decline since the 2012 season when they won nine games and played in the Alamo Bowl.
In fact, since that season the Beavers have a Pac-12 worst 19 wins and of course haven't won a road game since October of 2014 in Boulder.
I think most of us believe the new coaching staff will bring a ton of energy and drive for Jonathan Smith's initial season as Oregon State head coach.
Sometimes its nice to get a perspective from 3,000 miles away. Here is how he analyzes the Beavers offense and defense....their strengths and weaknesses:
Strengths: The Beavers are making the switch from a spread offense to a more pro-style look that will include a quicker tempo Smith and offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren implemented during spring practices. Quarterback Jake Luton started the first four games of last season before suffering a season-ending injury against Washington State on Sept. 16. He finished with a 1-3 record and 880 yards of total offense. He joins junior college transfer Jack Colletto and Conor Blount competing to run the offense this season for Oregon State.
The Beavers featured one of the best pass protections in the Pac-12 last season, allowing just 18.0 sacks in 2017. Juniors Blake Brendal and Gus Lavaka along with seniors Sumner Houston and Trent Moore return to one of the most experienced units on the team. The group has more than 70 combined career starts.
Weaknesses: Oregon State has finished near the bottom of the conference in total defense in two of the past three seasons under Andersen, allowing 43 points per game in 2017. Smith brought in Tim Tibesar to turn the unit around and has emphasized the need to create more turnovers. The Beavers were next to last in the league in creating turnovers forced (14).
Defensive back David Morris earned All-Pac-12 honorable mention honors last season and his return bolsters a secondary that had a league-worst seven interceptions.
In three seasons, Ryan Nall amassed more than 2,200 yards on the ground for the Beavers with 24 touchdowns. His decision to leave school early leaves junior Artavis Pierce (323 yards) leading a unit that also includes redshirt freshman B.J. Baylor and sophomore Calvin Tyler Jr. as possible backups.
Tight end Noah Togiai (461 yards) was the top receiver for the Beavers in 2017 and his return along with Timmy Hernandez (357 yards) and Isaiah Hodgins (275 yards) gives the unit three of its top four playmakers back from last season.
Outlook: The Oregon State program has been on a steady decline since 2012 when the Beavers won nine games. In the five ensuing seasons, the program has a Pac-12-worst 19 wins. Smith’s arrival has injected some much-needed optimism into the fan base. It will take some time for that translate into wins as the staff continues to work to build depth at key positions.
So the summertime prognostications are well underway. I am looking forward to the start of camp August 3rd.
Oh here are the 15 teams ranked below the Beavs!