If head coach Gary Andersen wants to turn Oregon State into yearly contenders in the Pac-12, then the Beavers have to be able to prove that they can play with just about any team in the country. And while the “Conference of Champions” will give them their regular tests against the likes of USC and Washington, both likely College Football Playoff contenders in 2017, the Beavers also need to test themselves outside of the league’s scheduling confines, an emphasis that gradually has been improving in past seasons.
For this upcoming campaign, Oregon State will travel to Colorado State, to debut the brand new stadium of one of the preseason Mountain West favorites, while also welcoming regional giant-killer Portland State and Big Ten adversary Minnesota to Corvallis. No, it’s not the brutal trail that projected top-two ranked team Florida State will have to navigate with match-ups against Alabama and Florida, but the Beavers’ slate of those three schools gives the program a solid balance of opponents to measure themselves against. At least, that’s what NewsOK’s Berry Tramel gives his insight on, when he ranked Oregon State’s non-conference foes as the 48th toughest non-conference schedule of all the Power-5 teams.
Tramel explains his reasoning for the ranking below.
48. Oregon State: at Colorado State, Portland State, Minnesota. Remember that Pac-12/Big Ten scheduling alliance that was announced a few years ago? That went the way of the wind when the Big Ten went to nine conference games. Oregon State-Minnesota is one of only three Pac-12/Big Ten matchups, and two of them are against Big Ten newcomers.
In addition to being 48th of all the Power-5 teams, the Beavers non-conference match-ups rank as the 8th-toughest path within the Pac-12, behind the likes of USC (4), California (12), UCLA (18), Stanford (19), Oregon (28), Arizona State (32) and Utah (39). The Trojans, the highest-ranked Pac-12 team on the list, have one of college football’s most-daunting out-of-league line-ups with match-ups against Western Michigan and Texas at home and a road trip to Notre Dame. In strong contrast, Colorado (63) is ranked as the second-easiest non-conference schedule with a showdown against rival Colorado State in Denver being their biggest test, next to games against Texas State and Northern Colorado.
While scheduling out-of-conference games is usually a delicate balance of both the business and sports side of college football, it seems like Oregon State has done a respectable job in finding opponents for 2017 that will both test this team and help bring confidence to a still-rebuilding Beavers program. It’s on Andersen and his staff now to turn the Beavers from pretenders to contenders in the Pac-12.