De Carolis’ answer seems obvious now—he hired a guy, Gary Andersen, who’s done things Mike Riley never did. Namely, he’s led two different teams (Utah State and Wisconsin) to conference championship games, something Riley never achieved once in 14 years at Oregon State. And though Andersen’s last trip to a conference championship game didn’t go so well, his first trip with Utah State resulted in a 45-9 win.
Most importantly, though, Andersen has won everywhere he’s gone. Taking over a Utah State team that had gone 3-9 the previous season, the Aggies got better nearly every year under Andersen, going 4-8, 4-8, 7-6, and 11-2 over 4 years. At Wisconsin, he took over a Badgers team that had gone 8-6 the previous year and led them to a 9-4 season in his first season before this year’s 10-3 campaign.
Despite Andersen’s multiple rebuilding jobs, his career 48-39 record (that’s a 56.3% win rate) is better than Mike Riley’s 93-80 record (53.7%), who’s been working under stable conditions for a decade.
Only a few years removed from a 9-4 season, Oregon State has plenty of talent on the roster. Will Andersen be the man to take that talent and get the Beavers over the top? Can Oregon State compete for multiple PAC-12 Championships? Maybe, maybe not. But after a decade of coming up just a little bit short, any improvement has got to scare the rest of the conference.
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