Why The Oregon State Beavers Are PAC-12 Championship Contenders

College football is officially back. Week 1 set up quite the storyline sequence as fans saw major highs for some Pac-12 opponents (hello, Florida) as well as devastating and embarrassing lows for members of the conference (looking directly at you, Oregon).

But one, if not the best, of the best performances of the weekend from the Pac-12 came late on Saturday night in Corvallis, Oregon. Yeah, it might have flown under some radars outside of interested parties that were tuned in, but don’t worry, that’s just the way they like it. 

Oregon State blasted Boise State in the season opener, 34-17, but the score doesn’t justice to the beatdown. The Beavers led 24-0 at halftime, forced five turnovers throughout the 60 minutes of game time, and humiliated BSU Senior starting quarterback Hank Bachmeier to the point that he was pulled from the game in the 2nd quarter.

So was this a mirage? Is Boise State not a good team? To be fair, both questions could prove to be true over the course of the next 13 weeks or so. However, I’d be careful to assume that the Beavers will fade. OSU is for real, and guess what? They can compete toward the top of the Pac-12 this season. 

On paper, Oregon State shouldn’t contend for the conference crown. Despite their loss to Florida, No.13 Utah is still a power and will host OSU in Salt Lake City on Oct. 1. Don’t forget about No. 10 USC either, who looked outstanding in their debut under Head Coach Lincoln Riley. But outside of USC and Utah, an argument could (and should) be made that OSU can very realistically slip into P3 in the Pac-12. 

It’s not as much about the deficiencies of other teams, although I’m sure Beaver fans could enjoy discussing the Ducks’ opening game dud. But the fact is, OSU has talent. They have a bright and emerging coach. And lastly, they have experienced players led by QB Chance Nolan, leading the roster into a schedule that sets up nicely for a potentially special season. 

The Beavs will host No. 10 USC in late September, a place that has historically been a house of horrors for the Trojans. Outside of that game, OSU’s home schedule is set up very nicely to run the table at Reser Stadium (Montana State, Washington State, Colorado, Cal & Oregon). On the road, you could circle two big challenge games. The matchup against No. 13 Utah that was mentioned earlier and a trip to Seattle to take on Washington on Nov. 4. Besides that, the Beavers will see Fresno State, Stanford, and Arizona State. All very winnable games. 

So should the hype train be gaining momentum? Maybe not quite yet. Although the BSU win was a great sign, Oregon State fans would be the first to tell you that they aren’t going to crown the Beavs just yet. Plenty of football is left to be played over the next three and a half months but make no mistake about it; Oregon State is a good and capable football team, and don’t be shocked when OSU finishes in the Top 3 of the Pac-12 by the end of the season.