Once in the postseason, it seemed as if Mike Riley couldn't lose. Headed into 2009, the Beavs had five bowl wins in a row and three consecutive seasons ranked in the Top 25 at season's end -- momentum headed into the offseason to be certain.
Fast forward to this season - OSU ends the regular season with a heart breaking Civil War loss with the Rose Bowl at stake, and then faceplanted against a motivated BYU team in the Las Vegas Bowl. What momentum do you, as a program, take into the offseason after two straight losses and the departure of the most efficient and accurate passer in OSU single season history?
Not only did 2009 leave a bitter taste in the collective mouths of Beaver Nation, a look ahead to 2010 at first glance has brought thoughts of; "Uh-oh, here we go again."
AS ORIGINALLY DRAWN up, OSU was to host Eastern Washington in the season opener. That date has since been cleared and it's all but set in stone by AD Bob De Carolis that Oregon State will now travel to Jerry's World (Cowboy Stadium) to face Texas Christian University. And TCU, mind you, is coming off a 12-1 season which their only loss was by seven to undefeated Boise State in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
Let's look objectively at the expected opening game of 2010 and weigh the pros and cons:
THE OPENER WITH TCU: DEBATING THE PROS AND CONS
NO MATTER WHAT comes of it, the schedule is there and you play who's in front of you. Now whether I like it or not, at some point it comes down to this -- You have to beat these types of teams early on in the season to gain the respect of the media and poll voters.
The SEC's version of non-conference play is nothing short of pathetic, but say the names Florida, LSU, Alabama, and what comes to mind?
Respect and tradition. Something OSU falls short of in comparison. The way to change that? Schedule such tough match-ups. Sadly for Oregon State, it has yet to pay off with wins.
IS IT FAIR that OSU has to beat Top 15 teams, out of conference and often on the road, and then run the gauntlet that is the Pac-10, facing nine conference opponents, simply to gain the respect of those to the East? No, it's not, but it's the reality we live in.
And so it's nut up or shut up time for OSU in 2010. For the first time in the last four years, there is not a massive turnover in starters.
The core of what led to success in 2009 returns -- a year more experienced and, in all likelihood with what happened the final two games, quite motivated.
When it's all said and done, it will be tough. OSU will face eight teams that went to bowl games the year before, three of whom were in BCS Bowls (Oregon, TCU, BSU). The Beavs will face only four teams who finished the 2009 season below .500.
SO DO I LIKE the schedule that includes TCU, Arizona, Stanford, and Boise St. on the road, and Oregon, California, Louisville, and USC at home?
You bet I do.
But make no mistake, there is quite a difference between a non-con schedule of Eastern Washington, Louisville, and Boise State…….vs. TCU, Louisville, and Boise State.
Go get ‘em Beavs.
Like the 2010 schedule? Hate it with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns? Come voice your opinion HERE.
2010 Schedule (Tentative):
Sept 4th……@ Cowboy Stadium vs. TCU (TBA on schedule)
Sept 18th ….vs. Louisville
Sept 25th….@ Boise State
Oct 2nd………vs. Arizona State
Oct 9th………@ Arizona
Oct 16th…….@ Washington
Oct 30th……..vs. California
Nov 6th………@ UCLA
Nov 13th…….vs. Washington State
Nov 20th…….vs. USC
Nov 27th…….@ Stanford
Dec 4th……….vs. Oregon