For many in Beaver Nation, the memories of games against Boise State range from excitement of a nail biter in Reser in 2005, a blow out in Idaho the next year or redemption for 2 straight series losses in 2013’s Hawai’i Bowl game. While there have been a lot of changes in coaching and culture for both teams starting with that 2013 game, this year’s game is actually extremely important for both teams.
For the Broncos, their Fiesta Bowl win two years ago is feeling farther and farther away after two tough home losses last year and a feeling that Boise State is not trending up but rather down. A win over WSU earlier this year was a big deal for Boise State, but a loss to Oregon State would be a huge blow to this team and their post season plans. Non “Power 5” conference teams tend to have a lot of issues building a quality resume for post season play if they have losses to actual “Power 5” conference teams. Especially ones that are not viewed as elite like the Beavers and the Cougars.
You also have to factor in the memory of last year’s Utah State game. Coach Clune was on the sidelines for Utah State as they rode 7 first half turnovers to route the Broncos in Boise. Just like the Minnesota coaches remembered their times playing against Coach Andersen when he was in Wisconsin, I am sure many on this offense remember being taken apart by Clune’s USU defense. They will be ready!
For the Beavers, every win is as precious as gold to them. Currently at 1-1, the Beavers need this win not only to guarantee that they finish as well or better than last year, but also to get a quality win over a quality opponent. Boise State has a great offense and great defense that will play tough and get after the Beavers. A win here would do wonders for the psyche of the team but also help them prepare for what looks like a very tough trip to Colorado the following week.
More importantly, a win this week gives them a streak and adds strength behinds the words of the coaching staff. It would quite the grumbling of the fans for a week and would send a message that respecting the process needs to happen when things are tough as well as when they go well. I have turned my picks in for BeaverBlitz.com and they are not flattering. I need to be wrong on this. I need to be underestimating this team. I have no qualms eating crow in this case, and for Oregon State to win they will need to show that they can be consistent passing and running the ball. They will need to show that they can stop the run and defend the pass. They will need to turn those Run/Pass option plays into winners bay making the three options on those plays effective and by forcing the defense to choose the bigger threat. They need to show they can get pressure on a passer and make big plays on defense against better competition than Idaho State.
Ultimately, the Beavers need this win because 1-2 going into conference play in the strongest division of the Pac12 leaves wins off the table and forces the Beavers to do something they haven’t done in 20 conference games. Win.
This is the most important game of the season and it is not even close. At least until next week when the trip to Boulder will be the new most important game of the season.
GO BEAVS (PRO)