Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion
Riley's 2nd-year QB magic would come in handy with Mannion
For his first eight seasons in his second stint at Oregon State, Mike Riley was among the best coaches in the entire country for bettors. He posted solid ATS records in virtually every category (as a favorite, at home, off a loss, you name it), and he consistently put together undervalued teams.
Then the 2011 season happened.
There was no value to be found in Oregon State football last year.
The encouraging sign for 2012 is that the Beavers have a ton of starters coming back, seven on offense and eight on defense. But those starters mustered only three wins a season ago, and Riley’s 3-9 record was his worst ever in Beaverton.
Sean Mannion was thrust into the starting quarterback role as a freshman last season, and he performed about as you could expect for any freshman—up and down. Four touchdowns in a win at Washington State was the highlight, but there were far too many mistakes—18 interceptions’ worth, to be exact—for the Beavers to have any sustained success.
The track record for quarterbacks in their second year under Riley is good, and Mannion’s progress will be step one in getting Oregon State back to respectability in the Pac-12.
|9/1||VS Nicholls State||-28.5||1|
|10/6||VS Washington State||-2.5||½|
|11/3||VS Arizona State||-6.5||¾|
|Values: 1=-10+, ¾=-9.5 to -3.5, ½=-3 to +3, ¼=+3.5 to +9.5, 0=+10+
Bold = actual spread.
|Projected wins: 3.75|
Other than Nicholls State in the opener, it’s difficult to pick out any true gimmes in the schedule. (And, perhaps, that game shouldn’t even be considered a cupcake considering Oregon State’s loss to Sacramento State in the 2011 opener.)
Those are the first three Pac-12 games for the Beavers, and picking up a couple victories could give them the momentum they need to have a six- or seven-win season.
Against the Spread
Mike Riley at Oregon State 2003-2011
|OVERALL||AS FAVORITE||AS UNDERDOG|
|AT HOME||ON THE ROAD||OFF A LOSS|
“Hot seat for Mike Riley in Corvallis. The cupboard looks awfully bare for the Beavers. However, Riley always seems to perform at his best when the expectations are extremely low.”
|4.5||70 to 1||750 to 1|
|Regular season total wins||Odds to win Pac-12 Championship||Odds to win BCS National Championship|
|Source: 5Dimes - Aug. 26, 2012|
Oregon State coach Mike Riley
Expectations are low. Very low.
The media picked Oregon State to finish last in the Pac-12 North, and for good reason. Riley went to bowls in six of his first seven seasons before the recent back-to-back years with no postseason.
Riley has proven doubters wrong many times before, and maybe this is the position he likes to find himself in—believing in yourself and your team’s progression when no one on the outside does.
With an improved Mannion and a solid set of receivers led by Markus Wheaton, the passing offense should be able to put up some points. But the Beavers ranked last in the league in rush defense in 2011, and defensive tackle is again a big question mark.
Bottom line: Oregon State has a number of winnable games on the Pac-12 schedule, including six that will be within a touchdown spread either way. A bowl game is within reach, but Riley and Mannion will have to earn their stripes in at least a couple close matchups.