750 THE GAME STAFF
Last season, the Ducks and Beavers each finished 10-3 overall with a bowl victory, and OSU pulled off an epic comeback victory in the rivalry game between the two schools in Corvallis.
In the final College Football Playoff rankings entering bowl season, Oregon State was No. 14 and Oregon was No. 15. Following bowl season, the final AP Poll slotted the Ducks at No. 15 and the Beavers at No. 17. The Coaches Poll similarly had Oregon at No. 16 and OSU at No. 17.
The off-season saw Oregon star quarterback Bo Nix decide to return for a final season in Eugene, while Oregon State turned heads with the transfer addition of former five-star quarterback DJ Uiagalelei from Clemson.
Who should be ranked higher entering the fall?
Joel Klatt, FOX Sports college football analyst, places the Ducks in front of the Beavers in his post-spring Top-25 published earlier this week.
Klatt has the Ducks at 12.
“The next team I really trust is Oregon,” said Klatt, who ranked fellow Pac-12 foes USC (6), Washington (9) and Utah (11) ahead of the Ducks. “One, because they’ve recruited at a high level, but they also have their quarterback back. Bo Nix is going to be in there in the top-5 in terms of Heisman Trophy odds to start the year, and rightly so.
“The one concern I do have for Oregon is they’ve got to replace four offensive linemen, and this is a team that was very offensive line and run game-centric in front of Bo Nix. They’ve kept him clean for the most part although he struggled with some injuries during the course of the year.
“Oregon’s going to be very talented, I think that they’re going to have a solid defense, but they’ve got to replace those guys and develop up front in order to get it really going up front in terms of running the ball which is what they want to do.”
Just a few spots later, Klatt places the Beavers at No. 16.
“Why is Oregon State 16th, Joel?” Klatt asked rhetorically before answering his own question. “Jonathan Smith is their head coach. It’s not actually about DJU [Clemson transfer quarterback DJ Uiagalelei], it’s more about Jonathan Smith.
“I think he’s one of the most underrated coaches in America. They are incredibly sound. They run it well. They’re physical at the point of attack. I like what they do at the line of scrimmage. That’s a culture that I trust with Jonathan Smith as their head coach. So I’ve got them at sixteen.
“I think that that is a good program that nobody really looks at, that nobody really talks about. So this is a Jonathan Smith ranking.”
Draftkings lists the Ducks win total at 9.5 entering the season, with the Beavers over-under at 8 wins.
Oregon opens the season Sat. Sept. 2nd vs Portland State before a non-conference tilt the following week against former Ducks QB Tyler Shough and Texas Tech (whom Klatt ranks 24th in his post-spring Top-25).
Oregon State opens the season on Sunday Sept. 3rd visiting San Jose State, then hosts UC Davis and San Diego State.
The 127th playing of the rivalry formerly known as the Civil War is scheduled for Fri., Nov. 24th at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, a place the Beavers haven’t won since 2007.
Klatt put Chip Kelly’s UCLA Bruins squad at No. 25, giving the Pac-12 six teams in his post-spring rankings.
Watch Klatt’s full post-spring top-25 below.