Oregon State’s Pac-12 Weekly Pairings
- Colorado/Utah at Oregon State (Dec. 27-31)
- Oregon at Oregon State (Jan. 3-7)
- Oregon State at Arizona/Arizona State (Jan. 10-14)
- UCLA/USC at Oregon State (Jan. 17-21)
- Oregon State at Oregon (Jan. 24-28)
- Oregon State at California/Stanford (Jan. 31-Feb. 4)
- Washington/Washington State at Oregon State (Feb. 7-11)
- Oregon State at UCLA/USC (Feb. 14-18)
- Arizona/Arizona State at Oregon State (Feb. 21-25)
- Oregon State at Washington/Washington State (Feb. 28-Mar. 3)
1. Three Straight Home Games To Start Pac-12 Play
Oregon State is in the midst of attempting to bounce-back from a season in which they won just one game during Pac-12 play and only five games overall. At a time like this, simply any break in the schedule could be viewed as a source of help to the retooling Beavers. While the team’s first three opponents (Colorado, Utah and Oregon) are all formidable foes in their own regard, the fact that these contests will take place in the friendly confines of Gill Coliseum, at least gives the Beavers a fighting chance. Two very winnable games against the Buffs or Utes to begin their Pac-12 slate could go a long way for this team. Oregon State will have to start things off on the right foot.
2. Avoiding Road Trips To Colorado And Utah
Sure, it’d be nicer to avoid road trips to UCLA and USC or Arizona and Arizona State but at the end of the day, not having to make the daunting trek into the league’s mountain region should be a welcome relief for the Beavers. A season ago, Utah lost only twice at home the whole year, with both losses coming to ranked opponents in Butler and UCLA by a combined 10 points. The Jon M. Huntsman Center is quickly becoming one of the more underrated home-court advantages in the conference. And likewise, the Beavers recent success level at the Coors Event Center isn’t much better, as Oregon State hasn’t won on the road at Colorado since 2013, losing their last four trips by over 9 points per contest. They won’t miss you Colorado and Utah.
3. The Civil War Will Be Complete By January
There’s always two ways to look at the psychological effects that a rivalry has on teams and players and in the case of Oregon State-Oregon, the regular in-state battle always brings out the best efforts from the Beavers and the Ducks. For the 2017-2018 season, the fact that both Civil War dates fall within the month of January is an interesting scheduling quirk, considering that Oregon will boast a completely new roster from last year’s Final Four roster. An early-January meeting in Corvallis could help the Beavers catch the Ducks as a group still finding their rhythm, in what will likely be their best shot at knocking off the boys from Eugene. Either way, by the start of February, they’ll be no more Civil War talk on either of these two programs’ minds.
1. No Breaks Against The Projected Top Four
Arizona is a projected top-five team in the country. USC will likely be in the top-ten. UCLA and Oregon both have Top 25 potential and the Beavers will play all of them twice. Home and away. Just like in a balanced schedule maker’s dream. The old adage goes that “to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best” and Oregon State will have their chances against the best, in what could be some season-defining games for the Beavers. If head coach Wayne Tinkle and company can turn the ship around from last year’s 5-win outing and become a noisemaker once again in the Pac-12 Conference, it’ll start with some finding some head-turning victories in these games.
2. The January Blues
The Beavers potential January opponents? Oregon. Arizona. Arizona State. UCLA. USC. Oregon. Stanford (Or California). Even if Oregon State starts things off on the right foot in December during home meetings with Colorado and Utah, the Beavers’ start to the 2018 calendar year could get really ugly. They’ll host the Ducks first, travel to the Grand Canyon State for two daunting clashes, host the Trojans and Bruins in Corvallis, head back across state to Eugene and then either make their way to Palo Alto or Berkeley. In those seven games, there’s legitimate potential to not find one single victory. What a welcome to conference play.
3. Matching Up With California Only Once
After former head coach Cuonzo Martin fled California for Missouri, the Golden Bears roster was hit by some serious roster turn-over. Star forward Ivan Rabb declared early for the NBA Draft, rising sophomore Charlie Moore transferred to Kansas, big man Kameron Rooks transferred to San Diego State and the rest of the Golden Bears core graduated. Kentucky transfer Marcus Lee, center Kingsley Okoroh and guard Don Coleman now will lead the team, along with a slew of incoming freshmen. In new-head coach Wyking Jones’ first campaign, things may not go so well so it would’ve been the prime season to catch the Golden Bears in both Berkeley and Corvallis. Instead, Oregon State will have to capitalize during their trip to Berkeley.
The three home games to begin conference play is a welcome sight for the Beavers but the brutality that can come in the midst of the Pac-12 slate, specifically during January, will make-or-break this team. The Beavers will have to keep their heads above water through some of the tougher stretches and make the best of some of the more managable four-game bundles. For instance, with their four last games of the conference schedule coming against Arizona, Arizona State, Washington and Washington State, there’s at least the potential to walk away with three victories from the group. Those kinds of chances cannot be passed up on. It’ll be another long and grueling schedule but it’s the path that must be navigated in the “Conference of Champions”.