2008 Season Wrap-Up: Another Bowl Win, Another Ranking
Jan. 20, 2009
For the eighth time in 10 seasons Oregon State (9-4, 7-2 Pac-10) played in a bowl game, and for the fifth consecutive time was victorious. The Beavers ended the season with a hard-fought 3-0 victory over Pittsburgh in the 75th Brut Sun Bowl in El Paso. The team's 7-2 mark was good enough for a tie for second in the Pac-10 with Oregon, and included a seven-game league win streak.
HO-HUM, ANOTHER BOWL WIN
Ask head coach Mike Riley what his secret success formula for bowl victories, and he just shrugs. Whatever it is, it works, as Oregon State has a five-game bowl win streak under Riley. The streak is the second-longest active win streak in the nation, trailing only Utah's eight-game run. Riley is a perfect 5-0 in bowl games at OSU, ranking second among active coaches trailing only Florida Atlantic and former Miami (Fla.) head coach Howard Schnellenberger (6-0). Riley is 8-0 in postseason bowl games when adding his three victories as an offensive coordinator at USC. Overall, OSU is 8-4 (.667) in bowl games, the second-highest percentage among programs with at least 10 bowl appearances - Utah is 11-3 (.786).
Oregon State concluded the year ranked No. 18 in the final Associated Press Poll and No. 19 in the USA Today/Coaches Poll. The Beavers have finished the last three years in the top 25 of the AP (No. 21 in '06/No. 25 in '07). OSU is one of only 10 programs to be ranked in the top 25 in each of the last three years - USC, Florida, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas, BYU, Virginia Tech, Penn State, Georgia.
Oregon State is in the midst of its most successful run in modern day history of the football program. The Beavers have compiled a 28-12 record (.700) over the last three seasons and are the second-winningest program in the Pac-10 (36) behind USC. Within those 28 wins are victories over No. 1 USC, No. 3 USC, No. 2 California, No. 18 Pittsburgh and No. 24 Hawai'i. The run includes a 13-8 mark in road or neutral site games. The Beavers are coming off their first seven-game Pac-10 win streak ever.
Oregon State routinely plays a difficult non-conference schedule and 2008 was no exception. The Beavers played Sugar Bowl champion Utah, Big Ten champion and Rose Bowl representative Penn State and Hawai'i Bowl participant the University of Hawai'i. According to the NCAA, the Beavers played the 12th most difficult schedule in the nation and toughest in the Pac-10 as their opponents combined to post a cumulative winning percentage of .581 (86-62). The most difficult schedule was played by Oklahoma, followed by Florida, Texas, Georgia, Arkansas, Ohio State, Kansas, Florida State, Syracuse, Virginia, Pittsburgh and Oregon State.
A total of six Beavers at press time (Jan. 20) were expected to participate in postseason all-star games. Keenan Lewis and Andy Levitre in the Senior Bowl while Victor Butler, Sammie Stroughter, Al Afalava and Brandon Hughes accepted invitations to play in the East-West Game.
A record crowd of 46,319 jammed into Reser Stadium Nov. 29 for the 112th Civil War game against Oregon. The 2008 season marked a record for average attendance at the stadium at 44,931.
THAT'S WHY YOU PLAY THE GAMES
Oregon State continues to overachieve, at least according to the media who regularly cover the Pac-10 Conference. Every July the media make their predictions for the season and of late the Beavers have finished higher than predicted. Here is a closer look:
Year Predicted Actual
2008 6th T2nd
2007 5th 3rd
2006 7th 3rd
THE FUTURE SCHEDULE
Never too early to look ahead - here is how the 2009 schedule looks as of Dec. 2008 - Sept. 5 vs. Portland State; Sept. 12 at UNLV, Sept. 19 vs. Cincinnati; Sept. 26 vs. Arizona; Oct. 3 at Arizona State; Oct. 10 vs. Stanford; Oct. 24 at USC, Oct. 31 vs. UCLA; Nov. 7 at California; Nov. 14 vs. Washington; Nov. 21 at Washington State; Dec. 3 at Oregon. The Beavers currently have byes Oct. 17 and Nov. 28.
WHAT WAS THAT?
Head coach Mike Riley was once criticized that he couldn't beat nationally ranked teams. Over the last 10 games vs. AP top-25 teams, the Beavers are 6-4, dating back to the 2006 win over USC. The other wins are at then No. 24 Hawai'i (35-32) in 2006, at No. 2 California (31-28), at No. 18 Oregon (38-31 2 OT) in 2007 and vs. No. 1 USC (27-21) and No. 18 Pittsburgh in 2008.