The New Year brings optimism for all, including the Oregon State football team. Players and coaches are using the offseason to find ways to improve.
So hear are my fearless predictions for what could/should/possibly happen with the Beavers in the coming year.
1. Yes, there can be a bowl game
The Beavers are capable of winning six games next year. How, you ask? Well, Arizona, UCLA, Washington State and Arizona State are all breaking in new coaches next season.
It will take two or three years before they get it going. ASU will be in Corvallis, so there’s no desert hex there. Those are all winnable games.
Nicholls State is winnable. I know, Sacramento State was a loss. We’ll there’s just no way losing to an I-AA team twice happens. If it does, we’ll head should roll.
So that means OSU must find one more win. Washington seems to always be beatable for the Beavers, especially with that defense showed in the Alamo Bowl. A new DC will take some time to get it going, too.
California and Utah were far from potent this year. And those games will be at home.
Oregon, Stanford, Wisconsin and BYU (on the road) will be really tough. So, the best case scenario is eight wins, but six is more realistic.
2. Malcolm Agnew returns strong
Agnew didn’t play the last couple games of the year due to fumble problems. At one point he led the nation in rushing.
He has that extra something the other backs didn’t have. So expect him to work on holding on to the ball in the spring, and be the main back again.
If he doesn’t come back strong, I don’t see a big jump in improvement in this area. I’ve always like Jovan Stevenson, but never gets a lot of carries.
3. The OL can improve
I’m less positive with this one. I’ve a firm believer in experience, offseason work and attrition of other teams allows you to get better.
That’s what’s needed here. In my recent blog looking at the OL, I predict a starting lineup of OT Colin Kelly, OG Josh Andrews, C Geoff Garner, OG Grant Enger and OT Michael Philipp.
They have experience. It’s a matter of healing up from injuries and finding that nasty attitude. That’s the missing piece.
If not, the Beavers need the likes of Darryl Jackson, Justin Addie and Roman Sapolu to bring it and take over.
4. Civil War streak continues
The Ducks have won the Civil War the last four years. My way too early pick is five in a row. A lot of things can happen between then and now, so my pick my change come game week.
Just by looking at how the programs have been going, there is a big difference between the two right now.
5. No staff changes
Since I’m picking OSU to go to a bowl game, which means there will be a reasonable amount of success. So, the staff remains the same — unless someone is hired away, of course.
If my No. 1 prediction is wrong, we’ll I guess that causes a chain reaction. The OL didn’t improve and pink slips will be handed out.
So what are you predictions for 2012. That covers the most pressing matters. And happy New Year.
My other disclaimer is if the Beavers win the Pac-12, what is the chance of all those December 2012 end of the world people might be right and keep the Beavers out of the Rose Bowl.
Check out some highlights from last season, too.