Why Oregon State Is Being Very Strategic With Non-Conference Scheduling


In these unprecedented times in college sports, there are no right answers. Nobody knows the exact blueprint for Oregon State to try and get back into one of the big four conferences. There are too many unknowns, but Oregon State is starting to draw a game plan.

The plan is all about fit – how can you get your school to fit in with a conference. John Canzano on the Bald Faced Truth recently talked to some staff members at Arizona State University including head football coach Kenny Dillingham. They said that when they look at their new schedule in the Big 12, they love the sight of not seeing certain teams in it, and that there is a lot of optimism now.

“There’s a real feeling in Tempe that Arizona State moving to the Big 12 is finding a peer group that looks and feels more like Arizona State,” Canzano said on 750 The Game. “Arizona State in the last 20 meetings with Oregon and USC is 5-15 in those 20 games. I talked to some people at Arizona State and I said ‘What feels different about being in the Big 12?’ And some long time staff members in the athletic department at Arizona State told me ‘you know when the schedule came out I didn’t immediately start looking for Oregon and USC. In prior years I had done that because those are losses.”

Canzano noticed something about Oregon State’s upcoming opponents in football. The Beavers just recently added Houston and Kansas State to their non-conference schedule in the upcoming years. Canzano says this is on purpose.

“When Oregon State scheduled the home and home series with Houston and Kansas State, yes, there is a strategy there,” said Canzano. “Maybe Oregon State is trying to make friends with the Big 12 schools and play some Big 12 schools and saying in ’25-26 and in ’30-31 we’re going to play some of these teams and we’re going to create some association with the Big 12. Because there’s probably not going to be a window for Oregon State to ever enter the Big 10 as we know it. Not the SEC either. The ACC doesn’t make any sense. Cal and Stanford are just buying time there. Is this intention? Is this opening a pathway for Oregon State to the Big 12? Have there been discussions about Oregon State and the Big 12? Or is this more about just get to know us, we’re going to get to know you. We’re going to start playing these Big 12 schools more frequently. It’s not like Oregon State is unfamiliar. Oregon State has played Oklahoma State in recent years. But this is a real intentional move by Scott Barnes and it’s interesting.”

For now, Canzano says there is a lot of waiting for Oregon State to find its permanent spot. But the scheduling with Houston and Kansas State is certainly a step in the right direction.

“There’s a lot of wait and see going on right now for Oregon State, Trent Bray, the schedule that they’ll play this season, the longer term prognosis,” Canzano said. “I like what Oregon State did today in announcing a home and home football series with Houston, a Big 12 member, and Kansas State, a Big 12 member.”

Listen to the full show of the Bald Faced Truth by clicking the podcast below. Catch the Bald Faced Truth with John Canzano weekdays 3-6 p.m. in Portland exclusively on 750 The Game.