It’s hard to see how a team improved after winning just four games, but with the mess Gary Anderson inherited at Oregon State, the Beavers may have won the Rose Bowl last season. The Beavers’ win total decreased by two games in each of Mike Riley’s last two seasons and Anderson was brought in to pick up the pieces. The 2015 campaign was another dud that produced just two wins, but the Beavers not only doubled their win total last season, they were more competitive. And they defeated hated rival Oregon and finished above the Ducks in the Pac-12 North standings. OSU is improving and a bowl berth is within reach in 2017.
2016 Record: 4-8 SU, 9-3 ATS, 5-7 O/U
2017 Regular Season Win Total: 5.5
National Championship Odds: +200000
Odds To Win Pac-12: +11000
Anderson probably didn’t expect the roster to be as thin as it was when he took over three seasons ago. The Beavers were a mess in 2015 with their only wins coming against FCS Weber State and a weak San Jose State team. The coach upgraded the roster, made adjustments with his most talented players and watched his guys get four wins last year.
Progress made by the team goes beyond the wins and losses. In 2015, the Beavers lost their games by an average of 24.7 points. Last year that number dropped to 15. There were also a few close calls that could have gone either way and the Beavers dropped them. Two missed field goals doomed them in a loss to Utah and they blew a 24-6 halftime lead against Washington State. Grab those wins and you have a 6-6 team and Anderson is up for national coach of the year.
The offense had its ups and downs, mainly because no one stepped up at the quarterback spot. Three different players saw time at the position and a lack of continuity cost the Beavers. They averaged only 174 passing yards per game and ranked 105th in total offense with 366 per outing. Wins in their final two games give hope for better things in 2017.
The Beavers are moving in the right direction and Anderson is the man for the job. It took him three seasons to turn Utah State into a winner and he embarks on Year 3 in Corvallis. There have been upgrades all across the roster but consistency and production from the quarterback spot is essential for an improved win total.
Marcus McMaryion and Darrell Garretson both saw action last season and return for another go. But the likely starter is JC transfer Jake Luton, who possesses the size and arm strength to give the Beavers a quarterback they haven’t had since the Sean Mannion days. Any production from that spot will be a bonus, especially considering Anderson’s run-first style of play. He has a good one to lean on in Ryan Nall, who rushed for 951 yards and 13 touchdowns with a higher per-carry average than Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey.
The defense improved last season and that trend needs to continue for the Beavers to keep moving in a positive direction. They return several key starters but need to be better against the run after getting gouged for 218 yards per game. Anderson put together some good defensive units in his previous stints and coupled with a better offensive attack, the Beavers could be back in a bowl for the first time since 2012.
Week 0: Oregon State at Colorado State, Saturday, August 26
Week 1: Oregon State vs. Portland State, Saturday, September 2
Week 2: Oregon State vs. Minnesota, Saturday, September 9
Week 3: Oregon State at Washington State, Saturday, September 16
Week 4: OFF
Week 5: Oregon State vs. Washington, Saturday, September 30
Week 6: Oregon State at USC, Saturday, October 7
Week 7: Oregon State vs. Colorado, Saturday, October 14
Week 8: OFF
Week 9: Oregon State vs. Stanford, Thursday, October 26
Week 10: Oregon State at California, Saturday, November 4
Week 11: Oregon State at Arizona, Saturday, November 11
Week 12: Oregon State vs. Arizona State, Saturday, November 18
Week 13: Oregon State at Oregon, Saturday, November 25
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