Year one under Jonathan Smith was a struggle, Oregon State went 2-10, but to be fair, they averaged just 2.3 wins per year under Gary Andersen, so I don’t think it reflects that poorly on Smith on the surface. However, Oregon State’s defense last year was one of the worst in the past 20 years for a power five team, allowing 7.4 (!) YPP and nearly 46 points per game, and that’s with an FCS on the schedule.
The offense wasn’t anything special last year, but compared to the defense it was like Alabama. Pretty much everyone is back, including 1,380 yard rusher Jermar Jefferson (5.8 yards a pop), his highly efficient backup Artavis Pierce (7.6), two awesome receivers in Isaiah Hodgins and Trevon Bradford (combined 1,525 yards, 13.3 yards a catch, 16 touchdowns), and QB Jake Lutton (2.5x as many touchdowns as picks, 62.5% completion rate, 7.4 yards a throw).
The Beavers also add a pair of blue-chip sophomore Nebraska transfers in QB Tristan Gebbia and WR Tyjon Lindsey. Three starters are gone from the line but they do add Arizona transfer Nathan Eldridge at center. I feel very confident in this offense improving.
This defense was almost unprecedently bad for a P5 group last year. Every FBS team they played scored 34 points. Over half of them scored 48+. The good news? Boy, is Jonathan Smith lucky, he got the whole team back. To be fair, some guys like OLB Hamilcar Rashed (2.5 sacks, nine TFL) and CB Kaleb Hayes (eight PBUs) had solid years, but the majority did not.
Smith has done some work in the offseason, bringing in Oklahoma’s Addison Gumbs at D-End and Nebraska’s Avery Roberts at linebacker, both of whom will likely start instantly along with some JUCOs to add depth. This will not be a good defense, but they should progress to the mean a little.
This could be another rough year for Oregon State, as every home game other than the FCS is against a top-33 team, meaning a lot of the winnable games are on the road. I think this team improves, but it probably won’t show up in the record too much.
|Date||Opponent||opp. rank||Proj. Margin|
|23-Nov||at Washington State||41||-11.6|
Average Projected Record: 3.4 wins, 8.6 losses (1.8 wins, 7.2 losses)