Mike Riley has done a great job turning the Oregon State Beavers into a pretty good program since he took over in 1997 and then again for Dennis Erickson in 2003.
Given the nearly 30 years of absolutely terrible football before then, having a program that can reach the Top 25 every three years on average is something to be happy about, and reaching a bowl game about 75 percent of the time is also pretty good. He also deserves credit for building the team that finished in the Top 5 under Erickson.
But recently, the program took a slight downward turn at the start of this decade with two losing seasons. It rebounded in 2012 with a Top 25 season, but after a 7-6 finish in 2013, it’s hard to determine which direction the program is headed in with Riley at the helm.
But there should be a good read after this year. Except for a fluke loss to Eastern Washington to open the season last year, the Beavers were very consistent at 7-6: losing to every ranked FBS team and beating every unranked FBS team.
With seven returning starters on both sides of the football and everybody back on special teams to go along with veteran leadership all over the field, a very good season could be in the works.
But for that to happen, Riley will have to address some key losses, particularly in the trenches and a very important offensive weapon. Continue to Next Slide for Offense