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Oregon & Washington in flux, Beavers in position to win Pac-12 North in 2022?

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Jonathan Smith enters year 5 in prime position to win the division

NCAA Football: Arizona State at Oregon State Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Even before the regular season ended chaos started to ensue amongst college football coaches. Brian Kelly and Lincoln Riley were the big names on the move, but today Mario Cristobal surprisingly left Oregon to take the head coaching job for Miami. Cristobal’s decision coupled with the firing of Jimmy Lake and Nick Rolovich means Jonathan Smith is now the only remaining Pac-12 head coach in the entire Pacific Northwest. When you look at the Pac-12 North, Oregon State football is in excellent position to compete for conference championships over the next few seasons.

The three remaining Pac-12 North coaches from the start of 2021 are: Justin Wilcox (Cal), Brian Shaw (Stanford) and Jonathan Smith (OSU). Smith just locked in a longterm extension, while Justin Wilcox’s name is being floated for other coaching gigs and Stanford is coming off a down year.

Obviously a lot can change in just a matter of weeks and projecting year-to-year results is next to impossible, but there’s no denying that Oregon State football is headed in a positive direction. Recruiting is steady and improving. The team is headed to their first bowl game since 2013. Improvements are being made to Reser stadium and in addition to Jonathan Smith inking an extension, their is more money available for football staffers than ever before.

There’s still questions to be answered. Who will take over as defensive coordinator? Will they be able to finally make some real improvements defensively? Oregon State will have to replace some key pieces on the offensive line and while Chance Nolan had an outstanding year; maybe Tristian Gebbia should retain his spot as the starting quarterback?

Regardless of how the Beavers look in the LA Bowl and how the upcoming offseason plays out, I sure am glad Jonathan Smith is the head coach in Corvallis. Beaver fans know all to well the uncertainty that comes when there is a head coach vacancy and for the time being Oregon State is the only school in the Northwest that doesn’t have to deal with that uncertainty.