We’re approaching put-up-or-shut-up time for Gary Andersen. He inherited a roster that was thin on talent in 2015 and the record showed. Andersen won two games in 2015 and followed up with four wins in 2016. A slight improvement last year still wasn’t enough for the Oregon State Beavers to be bowl eligible. However, they did end the season on a two-game winning streak.
Looking ahead to the 2016 campaign, I’ll lead with the fact that the Beavers have the 18th-toughest schedule according to ESPN’S FPI. Jake Luton earned the starting job before camp, which should will him and the offense to become more cohesive. They’ll be returning six starters on offense and eight on defense.
Below are the game-by-game win loss predictions for Oregon State:
They’ll start on the road against a team returning 15 starters. One being their second team All-Mountain West quarterback, Nick Stevens. This should be a solid test to see where the program is. The Beavers should pull away late to win by two touchdowns.
A backyard matchup like this will be fun. This game will tune up the Beavers for PAC 12 play. The beavers should win this one handedly.
One of the hottest coaches from this past offseason’s national coaching search, P.J. Fleck, kicks off his era as the head coach of Minnesota. They’ll essentially be coming off of a bye week after playing a Thursday night game. I expect the Beaver’s home field to be the deciding factor in this close one.
PAC-12 play starts on the road for the Beavers and I hope they bring their defense along for this one. Luke Faulk drove the offenses that lead the conference last year in passing. Ball control with Ryan Nall will play a big part in the keep away game plan for OSU. CB Xavier Crawford should have ample opportunities to make plays, but I think this shoot out ends with an OSU loss.
3-1, 0-1 (Pac-12)
There’s no sugar coating this game. I expect an easy win by the Huskies. They arguably have the best front four in the conference and if that wasn’t enough they’ll bring the second-best QB in the conference, Jake Browing.
3-2, 0-2 (Pac-12)
The aforementioned Browing takes a back seat to USC’s Sam Darnold as the PAC-12’ best QB. The Trojans will host the Beavers after playing Washington State. It’ll be interesting to see if the Beavers can take advantage of the USC offense, which will feature a new set of wide receivers and a few linemen. I still expect the Trojans, who are playing at home, to win handedly.
3-3, 0-3 (Pac-12)
I expect this game to be one of Jake Luton’s better performances of the year. He’ll be settled into the offense and the Buffs are replacing their entire secondary. The Beavers will also be facing a first-year QB Steven Montez. Beavers win this one.
4-3, 1-3 (Pac-12)
The second game of the homestead against for the Beavers will bring the textbook (pun intended) offense of the Stanford Cardinal. Keller Chryst was the only undefeated QB in college football (5-0) and has already been named the starter by David Shaw. This game will be closer than the experts think, but I think the Cardinal take this one.
4-4, 1-4 (Pac-12)
The trip to Berkeley will be the charge to bowl eligibility. Cal is coming off of a late coaching change and they still haven’t found anyone to completely replace the void Jared Goff left. Win for the Beavers
5-4, 2-4 (Pac-12)
This was a stat game for the Beavers last year. Arizona bought a depleted roster to Corvallis and it showed. I don’t expect a 25-point win this year. It’ll be in Tucson, and I know it isn’t basketball season but it’s still a back-to-back road game. I think this year’s team, which will be better than last year’s will take care of business. Congrats, Beavs -you’re bowl eligible for the first time since 2013.
6-4, 3-4 (Pac-12)
The Sun Devils are coming off of a season that ended in a free fall. They lost their last six games. However, the 2017 team will be much better returning essentially every key player on offense and defense. While fans may circle this game as a win it should come down to who’s got more left in the fourth quarter. I think the Beavers will have the juice.
7-4, 4-4 (Pac-12)
Last year’s Civil War was one for the ages, if you’re a Beaver fan. Many called it a toilet bowl, but it broke the terrible streak. I expect the home-field advantage to be the difference in the rivalry game. Beavers lose.
7-5, 4-5 (Pac-12)