Historic Matchup: No. 14 Oregon State and No. 21 Washington State Face Off as Ranked Opponents
When No. 14 Oregon State takes on No. 21 Washington State this Saturday, history will be made. For the first time in 97 previous matchups, the Beavers and Cougars will meet as ranked opponents. The anticipation for the game is high, with Washington State officials expecting a sellout crowd and a national broadcast television audience.
The significance of this game goes beyond the field. Both Oregon State and Washington State find themselves in uncertain situations off the field. Over the summer, the Pac-12 conference was shaken by the departures of several teams, including traditional powerhouses USC and UCLA. The conference is now on the brink of collapse, leaving Oregon State and Washington State as the last two teams remaining.
Despite the uncertain future, the two schools have managed to make their mark on the national stage this season. Oregon State, with its highest AP Top 25 ranking in over a decade, has been a surprise contender. Washington State, on the other hand, has returned to the rankings for the first time since the departure of former coach Mike Leach in 2019.
While the schools may be on opposite sides on Saturday, they are united in their fight for their future. The departure of 10 teams from the Pac-12 has left Oregon State and Washington State in a precarious position. Without a television deal and with the conference’s current media rights deal set to expire in 2024, their future is uncertain.
Despite these challenges, both schools see the game as an opportunity to prove their worth. Washington State coach Jake Dickert acknowledges the pressure but sees it as a privilege. He believes that the game provides a chance for the schools to show why they belong on the national stage.
The game also highlights the changing landscape of college football. Traditionally, the sport focused on regional matchups and longstanding rivalries. However, the recent realignment has prioritized television markets and brand power over tradition. Stanford will soon play conference games on the East Coast, and UCLA will travel to the Midwest. Oregon State and Washington State represent the old guard, small-town schools with passionate fan bases.
Both schools have a rich history in college football, surviving multiple conference transitions. They have been a part of major college football since the beginning and have achieved success in multiple sports. However, they fear that the quality of their programs and fan support will be overlooked in the new era of college football.
Despite the challenges they face, both Oregon State and Washington State have experienced recent success on the field. Oregon State’s program has undergone a magical turnaround under former quarterback Jonathan Smith, culminating in their first 10-win season in over 15 years. Washington State has also started the season strong, with impressive wins against Colorado State and Wisconsin.
Off the field, both schools have seen increased support from their communities. Oregon State’s season ticket sales have soared since the Pac-12’s collapse, and their fan base is rallying behind the team. Similarly, Washington State’s recent victories have energized the fan base, reaffirming their belief that the school belongs among the college football elite.
While their future remains uncertain, both Oregon State and Washington State remain committed to rebuilding the Pac-12. They have even secured a temporary restraining order against the 10 departing schools, preventing them from making decisions on behalf of the conference. In the long run, they hope to prove in court that they deserve to be part of a reimagined conference.
As No. 14 Oregon State and No. 21 Washington State face off on Saturday, they not only battle for victory on the field but also fight for a secure future off the field. This historic matchup serves as a reminder of their rich histories and their commitment to proving their worth in the ever-changing landscape of college football.