Oregon State returns home to start a 2 game home stand tonight, hosting California. The Beavers will also celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Oregon State University Marching Band, the oldest band in the Pac-12. After what happened last Saturday in Boulder and Berkeley, that might be not only the best highlight of the evening, it might be the only highlight, at least from the Beaver point of view.
The Bears on the other hand might be Golden.
After Oregon State got buff-stomped by Colorado 47-6, California upset 18th ranked Utah 28-23. Even more notably, the Bears, with statistically the worst defense in the Pac-12, quite the accomplishment given what the teams from the state of Oregon have going defensively, held up, and held on to the win despite the Utes running 10 plays in the red zone at the end of the game, with the last 2 being a dropped pass that should have won the game, and then a run that was stopped at the 1 yard line.
Meanwhile, Oregon State’s secondary will be depleted, with Jay Irvine out after suffering an arm injury last week, and Dwayne Williams still questionable. As a result, the Beavers wound up with linebackers playing safety in the dime package in Boulder, and likely will again.
The Bear Raid is not what you want to face with issues in your secondary, but that’s exactly what the Beavers are up against. It’s also why Oregon State is about a 2 touchdown underdog at home.
And now, the Bears are playing defense, in the Sonny Dykes era no less. That should give Beaver fans some hope; it proves that nothing is impossible, even things never seen before.
Washington will likely even win in Autzen today.
As a result, what many thought would be a battle to escape the Pac-12 North cellar is likely anything but, as California has successfully reloaded, at least offensively, and Oregon State hasn’t even gotten a bullet into the magazine yet.
Senior graduate transfer Davis Webb, the leading passer in FBS, is everything Dykes was hoping for and more, and Chad Hansen is Mike Haas all over again, and maybe even better.
After getting clobbered by a combined 68-13 in the first half the last 2 weeks, that hope will hinge on Coach Gary Andersen having the Beavers ready to play for a change when the game starts. Ready physically, ready emotionally, and ready systematically.
Darell Garretson needs to be effectively aggressive, which means accurate. All traits so far unseen. If he can turn the corner, Oregon State could cause California problems. We should know shortly after the band finishes the pregame show.
But at the same time, it won’t matter one way or another until the new Athletic Director is hired, something President Ed Ray wants to have done at some point this month. And then it may not matter either, as the new AD will either be content with the state of the program, at least for a while, or he won’t be, and because of what’s already happened.
So far, there’s lots of speculation, and conversation, about how that might go, but essentially nothing concrete that’s come out.
As a result, despite being only 1/3 of the way through the season, the players, at least those who aren’t in their last season, are playing to put something on tape that says they should be a part of the future, whatever form that future takes.
That could work out, and this is, after all, another episode of #Pac12AfterDark, and anything is possible. Well, almost anything.
Lets find out if that includes competiveness from Oregon State. And at least enjoy the 125th Anniversary show at halftime before calling it a night.
(Photo by Andy Wooldridge)