College World Series: Beavers the favorites, but the road isn't easy

College World Series: Beavers the favorites, but the road isn't easy

Pac-12 Championship. Check.

No.1 overall national seed. Check .

Advance through the Regionals. Check.

Sweep the Super Regionals, punch ticket to Omaha. Check.

Win the College World Series. To be determined.

The Oregon State Beavers (54-4) arrive in Omaha this week riding a 21-game win streak, and as heavy favorites to win the College World Series (CWS) Championship. Joining them in Nebraska will be Florida, LSU, Cal State Fullerton, Florida State, Louisville, Texas A&M, and TCU.

-- A full schedule can be found here --

The Beavers’ road to another title starts on Saturday when they take on Cal State Fullerton (39-22).  In six postseason games the Titans have outscored their opponents 35-9, and have allowed just one run over their last 25 innings. The Titans have one of the better pitching staffs in the country with a 3.57 ERA, the 23rd best in the nation. However, it pales in comparison to the incredible numbers Oregon State has put up. The Beavers lead the nation with an amazing 1.80 ERA. That’s nearly two runs better than Fullerton’s, and a full run better than Louisville’s 2.85, which is the third best in the country.

It still remains to be seen if Oregon State’s Luke Heimlich will pitch in the CWS. Heimlich holds the best ERA of any pitcher in the nation, at 0.76, but is dealing with off-the-field issues stemming from a sexual molestation charge prior to his arrival at Oregon State.

With or without Heimlich, the Oregon State pitching staff is a force to be reckoned with. Fellow starting pitcher Jake Thompson has the nation’s fifth best ERA at 1.58, and Bryce Fehmel showed he can be leaned on in Omaha after a great spot start against Vanderbilt; a complete game victory where he allowed just one earned run on five hits.

As Eric Sorenson of D1Baseball.com pointed out on Monday’s edition of Talkin’ Ball, this early matchup with the Titans holds a lot of intrigue. These are two teams that could match up in the finals if they were in opposite brackets. So right out of the gate Oregon State will be tested. 

As noted above, Oregon State by far has the better pitching staff, and as Sorenson notes, they also are the better hitting team. All things on paper point to Oregon State getting past Fullerton, but as we all know, games aren’t played on paper, they are played on a diamond.

Depending on if they win or lose, Oregon State will play either LSU (48-17) or Florida State (45-21).

LSU is riding an Oregon State-esque hot streak. The Tigers have won 16 games in a row, outscoring opponents 136-45 in that stretch, and overall has won 21 of its last 23. LSU reminds you a lot of this Beavers squad: Great pitching (3.53 team ERA), great hitting (2.94 team batting average), and lots of grit. Could the Tigers be the ones to take out OSU?

Facing off againt LSU: The Florida State Seminoles. Florida State falls in line with many of the teams heading to Omaha in that they got their on the backs of their pitching staff. Returning to the CWS for the first time since 2012, the Seminoles have the 36th best ERA in the nation at 3.72. The team has allowed 18 runs this postseason, with their starters allowing just nine runs in 48 innings pitched. Strong pitching is definitely a theme this year in Omaha.

On the other side of the CWS bracket are Florida (47-18), Louisville (52-10), Texas A&M (41-21), and TCU (47-16).

Florida returns to Omaha for the third season in a row, but is still looking for that elusive championship.  Could this be the year for the Gators? Florida leads the nation in one run victories, with 18, and has already played three extra inning games this postseason. The Gators have a flair for the dramatic and like to keep things interesting to say the least.  Their team 3.22 ERA, the 22nd best in the country, helps them out, but they will need a little more from their offense for the Gators fan base to breath a little.

Their first opponent, TCU, has quickly become one of the best programs in the nation. The Horned Frogs are appearing in their fourth straight College Worlds Series, and fifth in program history. Their pitching staff has the worst ERA of any team in the CWS (3.99), but their .272 team batting average is one of the best in the CWS. Their solid hitters should make for some good matchups with the better pitching staffs in Omaha.

Moving on, we have Texas A&M. The Aggies return to the CWS for the first time since 2011, and behind some solid arms could make it all the way. A&M has the 15th best ERA in the nation at 3.42, and starting pitcher Brigham Hill has been a stud this postseason. The Aggies have a good baseball team, however, their first game is against a very tough Louisville team. It will be a great chance to see if A&M will sink or swim.

Speaking of Louisville, the Cardinals, like Oregon State, are heavy favorites to get through their bracket and play in the championship. Much like the Beavers, the Cardinals are extremely balanced both in the batter's box and on the mound. They have the third best ERA in the country (2.85), and the 67th best batting average (.289). The 67th best average may not sound like much, but that is the third best average of the eight teams in the CWS.

Louisville vs. Oregon State in the CWS championship seems like a good bet. Not only would it be the matchup we all want to see, it would make for some of the best baseball games you can imagine. But this is Omaha. This is the College World Series. You never know what will happen at TD Ameritrade Park.

--Schedule update per the press release from the NCAA--

 “The first game this Saturday is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. CT, and will feature Cal State Fullerton (39-22) against No. 1 national seed Oregon State (54-4). Saturday’s second game features No. 4 national seed LSU (48-17) against Florida State (45-21), and is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. CT.

The Sunday doubleheader features the No. 7 national seed Louisville (52-10) vs. Texas A&M (41-21) at 1 p.m. CT. In the evening game starting at 6 p.m. CT, No. 6 national seed TCU (47-16) will be squaring off against No. 3 national seed Florida (47-18).

The losers of Saturday’s two games will play at 1 p.m. CT Monday, June 19. While Saturday’s winners face off at 6 p.m. CT Monday, June 19.

The losers of Sunday’s games will play each other at 1 p.m. CT Tuesday, June 20. Sunday’s winners will meet Tuesday, June 20 at 6 p.m. CT. The winners of the two brackets will play a best-of-three College World Series Finals, with the first game set for 6 p.m. CT Monday, June 26. The second game is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT Tuesday, June 27, while the third and deciding game (if necessary) is slated for 7 p.m. CT Wednesday, June 28.”

For more information visit ncca.com

Beavers fight 'til the end, but fall short against Colorado

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Beavers fight 'til the end, but fall short against Colorado

Look at every stat expect the final score, and you will think the Beavers won this game. Oregon State dominated much of the game, but in the end they fell just short of a victory in the first game of the Cory Hall era. The Beavers had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds, only to see a 52-yard field attempt by Jordan Choukair fall just short. Now the Beaver will use the upcoming bye week to prepare for Stanford. 

Final score: Oregon State 33 - Colorado 36

A look back at Andersen's Corvallis journey

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© James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

A look back at Andersen's Corvallis journey

By 

To many, this is the only thing they gathered from the departure of Oregon State’s now ex-head coach Gary Andersen. Writing this the day after Andersen’s departure would’ve welcomed a lot of knee-jerk reactions. Aside from the money, I’m sure plenty thought finally, this should’ve happened month ago, or good riddance. Let’s take a walk down memory lane and look at how the Beavers program arrived at this place.

Andersen heading to Oregon State seemed like a dream hire. He came from winning roots at Wisconsin, and if I’m being honest, I was baffled by him coming to Corvallis. It felt like a step back. He won a WAC title at Utah State before spending two years at Wisconsin where his combined record was 20-7, 13-3 in conference. In his final year he went 11-3, 7-1 in conference and a Big Ten Championship game loss to the eventual National Champion Ohio State. He capped the year with an overtime Outback Bowl win against Auburn. Quite the resume for a coach coming to Oregon State.

On to the Corvallis arrival. He took over for the beloved Mike Riley who went 5-7 before leaving for Nebraska. With any coaching change, embrace the fact that there will be a first-year drop-off unless the team is completely loaded with talent. The 2-10 record year one was seen as a complete rebuilding season. Year two showed growth at the end with a win over archrival Oregon. The scene was set for a bowl bid to be had this year and the fan base was bamboozled.

The season’s opening 58-24 loss to Colorado State was the writing on the wall. Accompany that with escaping a close encounter against FBS opponent Portland State, which is 0-5, and you’ve got a hot seat. After this past week’s 38-10 road debacle against USC, coach Andersen called it quits. His combined record in three years was 7-23, 3-17 in conference.

There’s a lot of finger-pointing opportunities. Let’s start with the fact that Oregon State is one of the toughest jobs in the country.  Next are the lackluster recruiting classes. It’s no secret that the state of Oregon isn’t littered with elite football talent, so coaches must make headway in the surrounding states. More than anything the lack of player development. You won’t out-recruit the blue blood programs. The next coach must be able to develop these two- and three-star recruits. Look to programs like Gary Patterson at TCU and Matt Rhule at Temple. Maybe Andersen underestimated this challenge and he didn’t have a staff that was truly invested in player development.

He clearly respected the program and profession enough to walk away without taking a dime with him realizing it simply wasn’t working out. For that fans should thank him.

Don't ask me why Andersen is gone -- but OSU lost a good man

Don't ask me why Andersen is gone -- but OSU lost a good man

Why, Coach, why?

That's all I can say in the wake of the news that Gary Andersen is no longer the football coach at Oregon State. I don't know why. It makes no sense. Colleges don't change head coaches in the middle of the season -- any season -- and although the school's athletic director, Scott Barnes, insisted many times over that it was "a mutual decision." Really? Nobody was pushing from either side? Boosters played no part in this? I just don't see Andersen leaving his team in the middle of the season. He doesn't seem that sort of man.

This was a shocker. And, of course, so was the news that Andersen is walking away from more than $12 million owed him by the university.

This stuff doesn't compute and when all you get is "this is a mutual decision," you can't help but speculate. Be my guest.

But this I know: Andersen is a quality coach and quality man. I believe, given time, he was going to get it done in Corvallis -- at least as much as is humanly possible. Mike Riley spoiled a lot of Beaver fans who think winning is easy at Oregon State. It is not. I said it when Andersen was hired -- this is one tough job. You're in the rising shadow of the Ducks, you don't have the facilities that many other Pac-12 schools have and don't have a lot of money to throw at recruiting.

So don't ask me what happened in Corvallis. For right now, I just don't know. But what I do know is that Oregon State lost a good one Monday.

Breaking: Gary Andersen and OSU have agreed to mutually part ways

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Breaking: Gary Andersen and OSU have agreed to mutually part ways

Scott Barnes announced that Gary Andersen and the school have agreed to mutually part ways.

Release:

Oregon State University Vice President and Director of Athletics Scott Barnes announced Monday that head football coach Gary Andersen and the school have agreed to mutually part, effective immediately.
 
 "I thank Gary for his many contributions to our student-athletes, OSU Athletics and Oregon State University," Barnes said. "OSU football has advanced significantly in many ways during Gary's tenure here, including in our facilities and student-athlete academic performance. This program is poised for success on and off the field."
 
Oregon State University and Andersen have mutually agreed to release each other from all future contract obligations and payments, which were guaranteed through the 2021 football season.
 
"After many discussions with Scott, waiving my contract is the correct decision and enables the young men and the program to move forward and concentrate on the rest of this season," Andersen said. "Coaching is not about the mighty dollar. It is about teaching and putting young men in a position to succeed on and off the field. Success comes when all parties involved are moving in the same direction."
 
"This is an exceptionally difficult time for me, personally and professionally," Barnes said. "I have known Gary for many years and respect him highly as a person, my friend, a head football coach and an incredible leader of young men. The timing of this is very difficult; however it is the best for all involved."
 
 "Coach Andersen's decision to waive his remaining compensation is unprecedented in major college athletics," Barnes said. "His decision is made for the right reasons and values, and it speaks volumes about the kind of honorable person that Gary Andersen is."
 
Barnes said he immediately would undertake a national search to appoint a head coach for the 2018 season, and would utilize a search firm to identify and review candidates. He and OSU President Ed Ray will ultimately decide who will coach the Beavers.
 
In the interim, Barnes has appointed current Beaver assistant coach Cory Hall to lead the program.
 
Hall is in his second season with the team after joining Oregon State in January 2016. He has college coaching experience at Washington State University, Weber State University and the University of Wisconsin. In addition, he is a six-year NFL veteran, having played for the Atlanta Falcons and Cincinnati Bengals. Hall graduated from Fresno State University where he also played football. In his OSU tenure, he has coached former Beaver Treston Decoud, a fifth round draft pick last April by the Houston Texans, and current All-America cornerback Xavier Crawford.

Andersen led the OSU football program to unprecedented academic success during his nearly three-year tenure with the team, posting record term cumulative grade point averages, a renewed emphasis on community service involvement, and last season, the Beavers defeated Oregon for the first Civil War victory since 2007.
 
In addition, Andersen's head coaching career includes being a semifinalist for the 2013 Maxwell Award Coach of the Year, a 2012 finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year, leading Utah State to the 2012 Western Athletic Conference championship and Wisconsin to the 2014 Big Ten West Division title.  As a head coach, Andersen's student-athletes have achieved 149 conference academic honors, and he has coached 36 individuals selected in the NFL Draft. Andersen has also been a head coach or assistant coach for 11 teams that advanced to bowl games.
 

 

 

Self-inflicted wounds doom the Beavers in loss to Trojans

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Self-inflicted wounds doom the Beavers in loss to Trojans

Just five minutes into the game the Beavers were already down 14-0. Missed field goal, dropped touchdown passes, inexcusable turnovers, you name it, the Beavers found ways to hurt themselves.  Did USC stop the Beavers, or did OSU stop itself? Whatever the answer, the Beavers have to move on and regroup in preparation for Colorado next Saturday. 

Final score in LA: USC 38 – OSU – 10

 

 

 

 

Where does OSU go from here?

Where does OSU go from here?

It’s a simple question, with a not so simple answer; where does Oregon State go from here?

Prior to the season many people thought the Beavers would be a bowl team. Year three of Gary Andersen would see the big jump in the win-loss column.  The fan base was full of optimism, and justifiably so.

However, instead of a return to respectability we have seen this team take a giant step backwards. Following a 42-7 drubbing at the hands of the Washington Huskies on Saturday the Beavers fell to just 1-4 on the season. That one victory took last second heroics from the offense to steal, yes steal, a win from FCS Portland State.

Against the Huskies the Beavers struggled to do anything on offense. At the end of the third quarter they had a total of just 104 yards of offense and zero scores. To put that in perspective the Huskies had 98 yards and a touchdown on their first drive of the game. Not the best of comparisons.

But we have to be fair on this night. The defense played lights out in the first half. They gave up that big drive to start the game, then hunkered down and held the Huskies scoreless the rest of the half. It was the best defensive half we have seen from OSU all season. But then the OSU we have some to remember showed up in the third quarter, allowing the Huskies to score 21-points.

Failing to score while failing to keep the opposition from scoring… well, you’re not going to win any games with that formula.

The frustration from coach Andersen could be heard in his voice postgame. The coach seems to be just as bewildered as we are. And that should be most troubling of all. When the captain of the ship doesn’t know why it turns left when he turns the wheel right, you have a serious problem.

There is something off with this Beavers team; I just can’t quite put a finger on it. At this point, it may be time to start looking to 2018.

The Beavers still have USC, Colorado, Stanford, a much improved Cal, Arizona, Arizona State, and Oregon remaining on the schedule.

Will it be possible to pick up a win in that stretch? Of course it will be. Anything is possible, but that doesn't mean it's plausible. Win one game - Sure. Win enough games in that stretch to become bowl eligible – don’t hold your breath.

The Beavers we saw on Saturday will be lucky to win a quarter, let alone a game the rest of the way. And that is a sad state of affairs for a team that we all thought, myself included, was ready to turn the corner.

 

 

 

Hard times ahead for Beaver fans

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© James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Hard times ahead for Beaver fans

 By  

After seeing the strong close to the 2016 campaign by the young Oregon State Beavers, I’m sure the fan base had the mindset that they’d be in store for a big year. By that I mean a bowl bid and possibly an upset.

Let’s cut to the chase; it’s not happening.

Gary Andersen is in his third year as the head coach and I’m typically a fan of giving coaches four years, but it may be time to cut bait after this season. They were blown out again by Washington State, sound familiar? To make matters worse, starting quarterback Jake Luton exited Saturday’s game with a thoracic spine fracture. That doesn’t bode well for an offense that isn’t exactly lighting up the scoreboard.

The team simply doesn’t have any fight. On their putrid offense, they rank 93rd in points per game and 100th in yards per game. The running game was thought to be a strength the offense with junior running back Ryan Nall, however, they currently sit at 106th nationally. Ranking 71st isn’t bad when you examine their passing attack. On the contrary, when you take into account that they’re typically playing from behind defenses are playing soft coverages allowing for easy completions and yardage.

There’s not much to enjoy when looking at their defense either. They rank 106th or worse in points, passing, and rushing yards allowed per game. Essentially every major category defensively. If you exclude their game against FCS opponent Portland State, they’ve been outscored by a whooping 94 points! I’m no math major, but that doesn’t sound like a team that’s competing.

They’ll host Washington this upcoming Saturday before heading to the coliseum to face the USC Trojans. Not exactly an ideal schedule for a team that’s struggling. I expect both teams to roll against the Beavers.

What to do at OSU, where the Beavers may not win again this season

What to do at OSU, where the Beavers may not win again this season

The first thing Oregon State must do after that 48-14 loss to Minnesota is probably the hardest thing -- stay the course. Stay together. Things are going to get worse before they get better. And the worst thing that could happen is for the team to split apart.

Things are obviously not going the way the Beavers thought they would and I would expect some players aren't as talented or reliable as the coaching staff thought they'd be. Coach Gary Andersen's mission the rest of the way will be to find players he can depend on -- the ones who won't quit on him. This thing could get real ugly during conference play and the main thing is to keep working. I still believe Andersen will get the job done at OSU -- but nobody ever said it was going to be easy (except the dolts who thought firing Mike Riley would immediately turn the Beavers into conference champions.)

The Beavers have to come together and keep working. Cliche? Of course. But truth. There's no other choice. The conference isn't going to allow them to call their season off or ask for a do-over.

But let me mention one other thing: People are calling out their defense and certainly, there are problems on that side of the ball. But rest assured, there are offensive problems, too.

In today's high-octane version of college football, it's impossible for defenses to hold up very long when the offense isn't moving the football. Oregon State got one first down in the second half Saturday, along with just 67 yards of total offense. For the game, the Beavers -- who thought they had a solid running game this season -- rushed for just 80 yards. That's terrible.

And when your defense is shaky, you cannot afford to have the offense grind to a halt. Their defense played well enough in the first half -- when the offense gave it a chance, The second half looked like a complete defensive surrender -- but I'd make the case that the offensive inefficiency led directly to it.

This is also a team making all sorts of mistakes -- fumbles, interceptions, blown blocking assignments and missed tackles. And fair-catching a punt at the three-yard line set the Beavers up for second-half trouble, too. The mental mistakes must stop.

Those things must be dealt with. The overall goal now is a simple one -- improve with each game.

Winning games is going to likely be a big problem the rest of the season. Losing can quickly become a disease that rots the core of a team.

The Beavers must not let this thing blow up.

Beavers no match for P.J. Fleck and Co.

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Beavers no match for P.J. Fleck and Co.

Oregon State started this game trailing 17-0, but clawed back to make to it just a six point game at halftime, 20-14. However, P.J. Fleck made sure that was the closest the Beavers would get to his Golden Gophers, outscoring OSU in the second half 28-0.  Now the Beavers head on the road to start Pac-12 play. Where do the Beavers go from here?  We will find out next Saturday in Pullman.

FINAL SCORE: Oregon State 14 – Minnesota 48

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