Corvallis hasn't seen success in nearly a decade, can they claw their way back to the top?
For two decades Oregon State had unparalleled program success under the leadership of Head Coach Mike Riley. The Beavers went 93-80 under his reign, a .538 winning percentage (.563 if Riley's separate two year stint in the 90s isn't included). Riley took OSU to 8 bowl games in 14 seasons as well, winning 6 of them. It isn't much wonder why Riley skipped town for the Nebraska job; simply put, Oregon State is not an easy place to win. The Beavs haven't had a top 50 recruiting class since 2013 and consistently rank at the bottom of the Pac 12. Like it or not, they will always play second fiddle to Oregon too. Makes life difficult when you aren't even the premier program in a state that doesn't produce many top recruits. Oregon has dominated the Civil War series recently too, winning 9 of the last 10 over OSU.
So how does OSU return to prominence? Well coach Jonathan Smith is a good start. Last year the Beavers showed their first sparks of life in yearssss, and for the first time in a while, remained competitive for a bowl bid late into the season. This year with an abbreviated season, OSU may not get the chance to improve upon last year's 5-7 campaign which is very unfortunate for Smith's rebuild. They are currently only projected 1.5 wins out of 6 but I could see OSU surprising a few teams this year. Whether the defense can hold enough to outscore their opponents is the question. Oregon State is definitely in a position to win moving forward but the school must afford Coach Smith the time to complete the rebuild and not be dismayed if 8, 9, or 10 win seasons are punctuated by regression much like Mikey Riley's tenure. Like I said, winning at OSU is no easy task so embrace the good and don't be dejected by the bad, success is on the horizon.