Not long ago, Peter71 made some predictions about the upcoming season. So I thought I’d take my own go at it. Originally, I was going to play off his predictions — in terms of how likely I thought they were to come true. But it’s always good to mix things up, right? Here’s some of my thoughts about the 2014 season.
1. Beavers come out strong. No upset loss to a lesser foe or slow start to the season. Why? New offensive coordinator John Garrett brings a fresh perspective to the offense, and more importantly, a sense of urgency. The Beavers roll Portland State and use that momentum to enter the USC game undefeated.
2. A new running back. Either Terron Ward or Storm Woods starts the season as the starting back for the Beavers, but not for long. Chris Brown is too good to keep off the field, even if his blocking isn’t quite there. Brown is clearly the best pure runner of the group and provides the kind of explosiveness the Beavers have lacked at the position since Steven Jackson.
3. A TE leads the Beavers in receiving. Despite battling injuries last season, both Connor Hamlett and Caleb Smith proved to be not just receiving threats at tight end, but big playmakers with their height and speed. With Brandin Cooks gone, Sean Mannion relies on his two big targets often, and they put up big numbers. In fact, don’t be surprised if Smith is the biggest beneficiary.
4. Mannion is invited to New York. No Cooks, a revamped offensive line, an uncertain running game? No problem. Mannion doesn’t throw for as many yards as he did in 2013, but he throws more TDs, completes a higher percentage of his passes, and cuts down on his interceptions — all of which result in him being a Hesiman contender.
5. Beavers go Holiday Bowling. This is the year for the Beavers. They’ve got experience at key positions, including a proven, senior QB and a deep defense. Coach Riley and his staff know this — and coach every game like it’s their last. The final result? Beavers finish third in the Pac-12 North, and earn their best bowl since the 2001 season.
What do you think? Am I way off base? Share your thoughts below in the comments section, and Go Beavs! (RW)