The cruel irony of the Pac-12’s demise is that the 2023 season has been the league’s best in quite some time. Several marquee games have lived up to the hype and a handful of Heisman Trophy contenders have showcased themselves on big stages. The league has two bonafide College Football Playoff contenders in the Washington Huskies and Oregon Ducks, potentially giving the Pac-12 its first playoff berth since the 2016 season. Certainly nothing could ruin a picture-perfect sendoff to the Conference of Champions, right?
The Oregon State Beavers are one of the two unlucky programs that got left to die in the smoldering ruins of the Pac-12. With games against Washington this afternoon and rival Oregon next week, they now have the chance to be the ultimate agent of chaos by ruining the national title aspirations of the two Pacific Northwest rivals that are abandoning them. And there’s a good shot they could pull it off!
The Beavers enter Saturday’s game against the Huskies sporting an 8-2 record with both of their losses came by just a field goal. They are currently ranked 13th in offensive SP+ and have been led by transfer quarterback DJ Uiagalelei, who has taken full advantage of the change of scenery after being casted off from Clemson last December. While his numbers haven’t been as eye-popping as those of Michael Penix Jr., Bo Nix, or Caleb Williams, he’s done well for himself with 2,254 yards and 26 total touchdowns. And besides, you don’t necessarily need superman numbers when you have running back Damien Martinez, who has already gone over 1,000 yards on the year and currently leads the Pac-12 in rushing.
OSU’s defense has also been a top 30 unit in the country and fifth-year senior edge rusher Andrew Chatfield Jr. has been a menace with nine sacks and two interceptions on the year. He, along with John McCartan, Joe Golden, Calvin Hart Jr., and Isaac Hodgins have combined for 23.5 sacks within the Beaver front-seven and could harass Penix and Nix mercilessly over the next two games.
Oregon State was a founding member of the Pacific Coast Conference, the spiritual forefather of Pac-12. The Beavers have historically been far from being the “sexiest” program in the league and has gone through their fair share of valleys...with a few satisfying peaks. And yet, the Pac-12’s quick collapse over the summer has left them and Washington State without a home, as the 10 other schools found life rafts off the sinking ship.
Because of arbitrary reasons like “brand value” and location, these two schools are currently scrambling to figure out what the future holds. They did get a victory in the court room this week when a judge granted them sole control of the Pac-12 board. But you know what would send an even bigger message? Ruining the league’s final shot at a playoff by shooting down two of the Big Ten-bound brands. You have the chance to do the funniest thing possible here Beavs. Godspeed.