In the months leading up to the kickoff of the 2013 football season, the Oregon State and Washington programs found themselves in very similar positions. Both universities ended their 2012 seasons with disappointing bowl game losses. Oregon State took a ten point lead into the fourth quarter of the Alamo Bowl, only to watch Texas score the final 14 points to send the Beavers reeling home. Washington, on the other hand, witnessed a one point lead over Boise State evaporate with slightly more than one minute remaining in the Las Vegas Bowl, as the Broncos sent a field goal sailing through the uprights for the final score. While the Beavers finished with nine wins, a rare sight historically for the orange and black, the sting of losing a potential ten-win season left fans discussing what-if scenarios all throughout the summer. Despite only winning seven games, the Huskies could find comfort in knowing that four of their six losses were to ranked teams.
Even with the disappointing bowl games, the changing colors of the autumn leaves brought with them new hope for each program in the form of an upcoming 2013 season. With a solid core of talent returning to their respective programs, each team anticipated a season in which they would shake up the PAC-12 and challenge for positioning in a conference that had become Oregon, Stanford, and everyone else. Now, with December frosts arriving all throughout the northwest, it appears that both programs have also frozen over, as they both hold a 6-4 record that feels much worse in both cases, due to Washington losing four of their last six and Oregon State dropping their last three straight.
Washington hasn’t won a road game in over two months, while Oregon State is a week away from being two months removed from their last home win. This Saturday, the Huskies travel to Reser Stadium to play the Beavers, in a game that will most likely decide which of these teams finishes higher than the other, and could very well dictate which team goes to the Fight Hunger Bowl to represent the PAC-12 as the conference’s sixth best team. A solid BYU team, currently 7-3 and on track for a 9-3 regular season, will be waiting for whichever team ends up traveling to San Francisco. A lower tier bowl game such as the Fight Hunger Bowl might be below early expectations, but as the Huskies and Beavers can both relate to summers spent after losing a bowl game, there should be plenty of motivation to finish the season with a win.
At the peak of last year’s thrilling comeback season, the Beavers were 6-0 and ranked #7 in the country as they traveled to play Washington. The Huskies would win that game by a field goal to hand the Beavers their first blemish of the year. Revenge might be on the minds of some in Corvallis, despite the last time Washington was in town (2011) the Beavers won by 17 points. The 2013 tilt will be the most star-studded that these two programs are able to conjure, as Washington’s Keith Price and Bishop Sankey lead the charge against Oregon State’s Sean Mannion and Brandin Cooks. While it is unlikely that all four of these players leave for the NFL after this season, it is a possibility with the way that they have all been playing.
Barring a Beavers victory in the Civil War, which still appears unlikely at this point, the 2013 season is already doomed to feel like a letdown after the excitement of last season. However, with a win over Washington in front of the home crowd, as well as a competitive Civil War game in Eugene, Oregon State might be able to generate a bit of optimism for a season-ending bowl game. A prospective 7-5 regular season would put them in position for an eight win season depending on the result of a bowl game. Regardless of what it “feels” like for fans, eight wins in a season has only happened 13 times over the course of Beavers football history.