Oregon State has finally arrived at the party, just as it’s starting to break up. The Beavers went 10-3 last season for their first double-digit win total since 2006 and their best record since 2000. Then they saw virtually everyone else in the Pac-12 announce plans to leave for other conferences. While school administrators try to figure out where the Beavers will be playing in the future, Oregon State will take a run at competing in the last year of the current edition of the Pac-12.
They’ll do it with an offense and defense that are old school, relying on grinding out wins in 2022 instead of high-wire passing totals, although Oregon State may be taking steps in that direction going forward.
For 2023, the top offshore sportsbooks have the Beavers over/under threshold at 8½. Can they make it nine wins this season?
- Oregon State is coming off its first 10-win season since 2006 and best record since 2000.
- The Beavers add Clemson transfer DJ Uiagalelei at quarterback.
- The defense led the Pac-12 last year but must replace five of its top seven players.
Oregon State topped 30 points eight times last season, but the Beavers scored 14, 16 and 21 in their three losses. The Beavers relied on an old-fashioned offensive approach, controlling the clock and the game with a running attack and one of the conference’s top offensive lines. Oregon State finished fourth in the Pac-12 in rushing and third in fewest sacks allowed last season.
Oregon State returns four of its five starters on the offensive line, as well as leading rusher Damien Martinez, who won conference freshman of the year honors and had six straight 100-yard rushing games on his way to 982 yards and 7 touchdowns. His two backups, Deshaun Fenwick and Jamious Griffin, combined for 1000 yards and 11 scores, and both return.
The receiving corps is led by Silas Bolden and Anthony Gould, who will have to step up as the top targets after playing supporting roles last year, as well as a deep stable of tight ends.
The passing game should be a much bigger factor this season and give Oregon State a more well-rounded offensive attack because the Beavers landed one of the big transfer portal prizes available in former Clemson starting quarterback DJ Uiagalelei, who left because he wasn’t able to immediately fill the shoes of Trevor Lawrence with the Tigers.
Oregon State led the Pac-12 in defense last season and led the country in red zone defense, but the Beavers will need a rebuild to continue the success. OSU lost five of its top seven tacklers on the defense.
The pass rush adds Oluwaseyi Omotosho as a transfer from Wyoming.
He’ll have to replace Riley Sharp, who led the team in sacks last season, then switched to tight end in the offseason. At tackle, Oregon State returns a pair of All-Pac-12 honorees in Isaac Hodgins and James Rawls.
The linebacking corps will follow the traditional model of replacing departed contributors with the next men up from last season, rather than opting for a transfer portal makeover. They lost their top three ‘backers, so the unit may take a step back, at least early in the season.
Safety is the strength of the secondary, with All-Pac-12 first-teamer Kitan Oladapo joined by veteran Ryan Cooper and Alton Julian, who missed last season with an injury. The team is young at cornerback and didn’t add any high-profile transfers to the unit.
The schedule is conducive to Oregon State’s big plans this season. The Beavers don’t have USC on the schedule, which eliminates a ranked opponent and one of last season’s losses. Utah and Washington, the sources of the other two 2022 losses, will both be home games on Week 5 and Week 12 respectively, as will UCLA (Week 7).
Their road schedule includes California (Week 6), Arizona (Week 9) and Colorado (Week 10), who combined to go 10-26, 6-21 in conference last year. Oregon State’s non-conference schedule opens with a trip to San Jose State (Week 1), followed by home games against UC Davis and San Diego State.
Oregon State is well-positioned to follow up one of the best seasons in program history with a similar effort in 2023. The team will be more explosive on offense, although one of the keys to last year’s success was limiting turnovers, a problem of Uiagalelei’s at Clemson.
The defense may not be up to the same level as last season, but it will still be one of the top units in the conference. If Oregon State can beat one of the three currently ranked teams on the schedule, the Beavers could withstand a loss to UCLA and still finish with nine regular season wins for your NCAAF picks.
NCAAF Pick: Over 8½ Wins (-110) at BetOnline
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