Yesterday, OSU released their 2015 schedule and while it showcases some hopefully great games, it also unearthed some worries I have about next year.
First of all, I will go on record as saying I will be happy to win six games next year. As a perpetually Orange Colored Glasses wearing optimist, I am facing a reality that next year will see the departure of the following people:
- Sean Mannion
- Dylan Wynn
- Connor Hamlett
- Ryan Murphy
- Tyrequek Zimmerman
- Steven Nelson
- Michael Doctor
- DJ Alexander
- Jabral Johnson
- ‘Bud’ Delva
- Siale Hautau
- Obum Gwatcham
- Roman Sapolu
- Terron Ward
- Keith Kostol
- Tyler Anderson
Also, if he can play and do well, there is always the threat that a guy like Isaac Seumalo might forgo his senior year.
That is a huge list of key contributors and future NFL players to replace. We thought replacing Cooks, Crichton and Reynolds was tough this year, that list is daunting.
Now you couple this with games at Michigan, at Arizona, at Autzen, at Utah and home games against UCLA, Stanford and Washington and you have a season that makes me concerned about a drop off. I am worried when OSU starts a new QB and I am nervous when they start a mostly new secondary and linebackers. Luckily, a lot of players will have played the last two years on defense so there is not going to be a dearth of inexperience. Scott, Hunt and Strong will all have played a lot. Mageo, Songy, Haley and Saulo will all have played some. The defensive line will also return a lot of guys with meaningful minutes.
On offense OSU will return the vast majority of their line, as well as all their receivers. They also will return Smith, Woods, Brown, Haskins and all their QB’s they can choose from will have been in the program more than a year. As we saw with Cody Vaz, the right guy can do well right off the bat.
So there are a ton of questions next year that need to be addressed, and the schedule is not super helpful. A few things that do give me hope are the following:
- UW, Arizona and UO will be replacing most of their offensive lines next year.
- Michigan, the ducks, Stanford, UCLA, WSU and Utah will be breaking in new QB’s
- The ducks, UCLA, Utah and Stanford lose significant numbers on their defenses
- The huskies lose six of their front seven next year if Shaq Thompson declares for the draft.
There is a ton of fluctuation in the conference after this year, especially with players that may declare early and so on. I will not miss Montgomery at Stanford nor will I miss Shaq Thompson should he choose to leave early.
So while i am nervous, there is a lot that could go right for the Beavers. I will be shocked if they win 9+ games and I would be shocked if they won 3 or fewer. Anything in between would not surprise me that much. There is still a ton left of this season, and the best Beaver football has yet to be seen for certain. This year could be special, and I hope it is, because next year is going to have some serious challenges.