The Oregon State Beavers football team is hoping to turn around their fortunes this season. Obviously, the last couple of years have been forgettable, but that doesn’t mean that in 2019 they can’t vastly improve.
When looking at the Beavers’ non-conference schedule, they have a real opportunity to jump out to a 2-1 record, but it all comes down to beating Hawai’i on the road in the second game of the year. If OSU can handle the Rainbow Warriors, they can begin to rectify the mistakes of previous seasons.
The Beavs open up the year against Oklahoma State; it is highly unlikely that they’ll win this game; it’s not impossible, but improbable to say the least. I’m going to assume that they lose.
The following week, the Beavers head to Hawai’i with a chance to grab a victory. Last year the Warriors went 8-6 overall with a 5-3 record in Mountain West play. This is a solid record, but the mid-major is in a much weaker conference than the Pac-12.
This is not a team that the Beavs should fear if they have any hopes of a successful campaign in 2019.
Last season, Hawai’i did not beat one major conference team, and they suffered blowout losses to the likes of BYU, Fresno State, Nevada, and Utah State. All of the aforementioned programs are solid squads, but none of them can be considered college football powerhouses.
The Warriors ended their campaign in a downward spiral losing five of their last seven games including a hometown defeat in the SoFi Hawai’i Bowl to Louisiana Tech. All of these struggles may have the Warriors locked in an identity crisis, and backpedaling to figure out what to do next.
Things don’t get easier for the Rainbows as they open up the season against the hungry Arizona Wildcats, who are looking to rebound from a tough 2018 campaign themselves. I’d bet that UA beats Hawai’i sending them to an 0-1 start.
The two opening losses by OSU and Hawai’i will set up a 2nd game for both teams that proves vitality important, but for the Beavs this game is paramount.
If Oregon State loses to the Warriors, they will enter Pac-12 play with a 1-2 record at best, assuming they can beat Cal Poly at home.
OSU can’t afford to be under .500 entering the west coast swing; their first three in-conference games are Stanford at home, UCLA on the road, and Utah at home. If the Beavers are 2-1 entering this trifecta, all they have to do is win one of these matchups to post a .500 record, which would be a huge momentum boost for a team that has only won three games the past two years.
The Beavs will not win two of these matchups, but even one victory will skyrocket them to a 3-3 record with a win over Hawai’i.
If OSU gets to this point, they face Cal in game seven of the season, which is a winnable contest, placing the now upstart Beavs at a 4-3 record and an outside shot at making a bowl game, but all of this is only possible with a win over the Rainbow Warriors.
If the Beavers lose to Hawai’i, they’re cooked. Their confidence will be low, and their season will be off in the direction of another Pac-12 basement finish.
From a talent standpoint, OSU has no reason why they can’t win this game. In 2018, the Beavs had the 69th ranked recruiting class nationally, while the Warriors ranked 96th. The previous year, OSU was ranked 51st, while Hawai’i ranked 86th. And if we go all the way back to 2016, the respective teams were ranked 58th, and 108th.
Bottom line is, the Beavs have more than enough talent to win this game. And every developing program needs a confidence-boosting performance to get the ball rolling in the right direction, for OSU, this is their chance, and it’s time to capitalize on the opportunity.
If the Beavers can pull out the victory, they can exceed the limits placed on them by analysts throughout the conference. Wowzers, wouldn’t that be a good feeling?