Oregon St. bounced back from a 3-9 campaign in 2011 to put together a top 20 season! - (Photo by Andy Wooldridge)
It's official, 2012 was a top 20 year for Oregon St. football. The final AP poll has the Beavers ranked #20. The USA Today
Coaches' Sports Information Directors poll has Oregon St. 1 spot higher (this is because Ohio St. was ineligible for the post-season, and therefore ignored by the SID poll). Texas finished 1 spot ahead of the Beavers in both polls, a direct (and correct) assessment given they have the same record, and of course the Longhorns won 31-27 when the teams met head to head. Notably, Texas and Oregon St. are the 2 highest ranked teams that had 4 losses.
Alabama and Oregon finished 1-2, and if Ohio St. were eliminated from the AP poll, the top 6 would be identical between the 2 polls. Oregon's #2 finish was their second ever that high (along with 2001), and their third consecutive top 5 season.
Stanford was the only other Pac-12 team fo finish ranked, claiming the #7 spot in the AP, and #6 in the SID poll, after beating Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. The Cardinal have finished in the top 7 3 years in a row. UCLA dropped like a rock after dropping their last 3 games, including a blowout loss to Baylor in the Holiday Bowl, and dropped out of both polls.
Three other western teams posted top 25 years as well, with Boise St. at #18 in the AP, and #14 with the SIDs, Utah St. at #16 in the AP, and #17 on the SID's list, and San Jose St. at #21 in both rankings.
With a large number of returning players and a favorable non-conference schedule, Oregon St. should start in the same vicinity in next year's pre-season poll, and will be reasonably positioned for a run at a top 10 season.
It turned out to be a pretty good year to be a Beaver, and a better one than expected. Next year could be an even better one, though it won't be a surprise if it is. Bring on Eastern Washington!