Oregon State will get an earlier than scheduled start on the 2017 football season. The Beavers’ visit to Colorado State has been moved up from its original September 23 date to Saturday, August 26. That will also allow Oregon State to start summer practice a week earlier than most teams, who will play on Labor Day weekend.
The game will be the first game in Colorado State’s new on campus stadium in Fort Collins, and can be played early because construction is progressing ahead of schedule, and an original opening date on 9/9 against Abilene Christian is no longer the earliest date the facility could be ready. As a result, the Rams can kickoff their new stadium with a nationally televised game, against a Power-5 Conference opponent. That’s a side Beaver benefit as well, getting a larger national audience than the game would have garnered in week 4 of the regular season.
It will be another scheduling first, the earliest Oregon State has ever played a football game.
The early date is possible under NCAA rules that allow a waiver from having to play the first game no earlier than the Thursday before Labor Day for any team that will be playing any scheduled game during the season off-continent, and Colorado State visits Mt. West foe Hawaii this year. This is usually thought of as the “Hawaii rule”, which also allows a 13th game, but is also the rule that allowed California to begin their season early in Australia last year, and will allow Stanford to do so this season, taking on Rice.
The schedule change means Oregon State will now have a bye between their trip to Pullman to play Washington State on September 16, and the Beavers’ Pac-12 home opener against Washington, on Sept. 30. Both the games against the Cougars and the Huskies will be the earliest meeting ever between the Beavers and those traditional Northwest rivals.
That means there will be 2 byes this season, as Oregon State already has a bye on October 21, and will have 4 open Saturdays during the season, with the Stanford game at Reser on Thursday night October 26 (so no game on Oct. 28), and the Civil War in Eugene being on a Friday, November 24, this year.
With a young team still in rebuild mode, an extra week of practice, and an extra bye after the first 4 games, and before the gauntlet of back to back games against defending Pac-12 Champion Washington and defending Rose Bowl Champion USC, will be helpful to Coach Gary Andersen and staff.