clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES? Gary Andersen to Oregon State!

I actually do not believe in miracles. I'm a Cal fan.

Susan Ragan-USA TODAY Sports

TwistNHook: Gary Andersen to Oregon State. What TF!

Avinash Kunnath: I can't be the only one who finds it morbidly funny that our first two choices to replace Jeff Tedford have found their way into the Pac-12 within two years, can I? What kind of sales pitch was Sandy making to these guys? Ugh.

We really need to beat these guys next year, and particularly Andersen at home.

Leland Wong: I was really hoping they'd bumble this hire. Unfortunately, Andersen seems to be a pretty good coach and an upgrade for the Beavers.

This data was from a long time ago, but it's all we've got:
2010: Louisiana Tech def. Utah State, 24-6
2011: Louisiana Tech def. Utah State, 24-17
2012: Utah State def. Louisiana Tech, 48-41 in OT

That's three head-to-head match-ups between Sonny Dykes and Andersen. Granted, those were vastly different teams that what we'll have at California and Oregon State, but it's a little scary. Their first meeting, Dykes won big. Then, Dykes won a close one. In their final meeting, Utah State was actually up 41-17 with a minute left in the third quarter, with Andersen ultimately edging out Dykes in overtime. Is this a pattern of Andersen getting more familiar with Dykes and thus being able to play him closer and beat him?

Nick Kranz: I think it's worth pointing out that, in Gary Andersen's entire coaching career, I was only able to find a few wins over teams that finished the season in the top 25. In his last year at Utah St., he beat a San Jose St. team that finished the year 21st in the AP poll. In 2014, Wisconsin has beaten Nebraska and Minnesota, two teams that might end the season ranked if they win their bowl games.

This is basically me saying that succeeding in the WAC and the Big-10 (when you have inherited a very stable program) might be a little different than taking over at one of the most talent-starved programs in the Pac-12. That isn't to say that Andersen can't or won't succeed at Oregon State, but the degree of difficulty is a bit higher.

Ragnarok: I'm probably misrepresenting your argument, but I've never before heard an argument that says coaching at Utah State was easier than coaching at Oregon State. Tougher league, no doubt, but I'm not sure most people knew that Utah State was even an FBS school before Andersen took over, if they were aware of its existence at all.

TwistNHook: I'm also probably misrepresenting your argument, but I don't think Gary Andersen is an alien from outer space sent to this world to learn our ways so that we may be enslaved. But look, everybody is entitled to their own opinion...

Ragnarok: Well, if that were my opinion, I'm not sure if suggest Oregon State is the best place to accomplish that mission.

AvinashKunnath: Corvallis seems like a better place to hide an alien invasion force rather than Madison. Plenty of foliage. Small town. Can easily use it for cover to build your forces. Similar to how in the Planet of the Apes they all went up to Muir Woods to hang out and wait for human extinction.


TwistNHook: I presume this had something to do with the fact that he was ordered to take a dive in the BigX Champ game so OSU could get into the playoff. How the hell does his top ranked D get obliterated by a backup another backup QB! And his #1 RB talent can't do nothing. Does not make sense.

Naturally, this means the Pac-12 is more challenging then ever. Go back a decade and it was USC, Cal, and a bunch of shmucks. Now, every team is tough. OSU has always been a thorn in Cal's side and I fear this will only make it more so. Riley had seemed to lose his ability to field a good team. With him leaving at first, I thought this just meant they'd get some Buddy Teevens-esque retread, but instead they've somehow pulled a major coup in getting Andersen.

boomtho: I'm as stunned that Andersen is coming to OSU as I am that Riley left for Nebraska. Something weird is going on in Wisconsin between Bielema doing everything he can to get out of town and Andersen leaving after only 2 years. Andersen will probably ensure OSU is an annoyance in years to come (though we beat them this year!!), and I'm sure his reputation for fielding a great defense will continue over to OSU. I want the coaching pool in the Pac-12 to get weaker, not stronger, especially in the North!

TwistNHook: Leland, I do find it somewhat interesting that Dykes and Andersen are following each other in the coaching ranks. From mid-majors to the Pac-12. I wonder what kind of relationship they have and whether it is a positive or negative one.

Leland Wong: Don't forget Mike MacIntyre also made the jump from the WAC to the Pac. That's gonna be the Pac-12's 2015 slogan!

TwistNHook: I forgot that.

Ruey Yen: So Gary Andersen took the OSU job because he has some kind of personal vendetta to beat Sonny Dykes?

TwistNHook: When you have "young, rising star" coaches enter our ranks, it makes the league seem tougher than if we had a lot of Dennis Erickson's filling everything out. Andersen has two (admittedly really good, but in the worst conference these days) years at a P5 school under his belt, so who knows what to expect? In the BigX, you can skate by beating a lot of mediocre teams, but the P12 is not like that anymore. Even a lower tier team like Cal was really frisky this year and nearly knocked off the P12 South champ and the P12 South runner up. WSU played Oregon the toughest out of all the teams. You just never know. We'll have to see if Andersen's magic works at Oregon State.

Avinash Kunnath:  I'm honestly more of a fan of Dave Aranda (who I wish we'd thrown the kitchen sink at instead of Buh in 2012) than Andersen. Once Aranda came in around 2012, Andersen's teams started kicking major ass.

Here are the F/+ numbers for Andersen the last five years.

2014: 18th in defense (but much higher before the calamitous B1G title game), 18th in offense
2013: 9th in defense, 28th in offense

Pretty damn good. But Wisconsin was already stacked--they'd been to the Rose Bowl two years.

2012 Wisconsin: 28th in offense, 14th in defense

Before that, he had one solid season in Utah State thanks to an outstanding D.

Utah State
2012: 9th in defense, 48th in offense (17th overall; Sonny's Louisiana Tech team was better on offense but a mess defensively)
2011: 72nd in defense, 29th in offense
2010: 102nd in defense, 88th in offense
2009: 115th in defense, 65th in offense.

And Utah State continued to be hellacious after he left defensively.
2013 Utah State: 93rd on offense, 8th defense

Andersen himself does weird things. He left Melvin Gordon on the shelf in the LSU game and refused to divulge his injury for whatever reason, allowing an average Tigers team to come back and win. The refs sort of botched the ASU game last year, but it was kind of surprising how little situational awareness Andersen had to let the clock run out like that. They scored 14 points against Northwestern and got ambushed by Penn State last year. He's been given Rose Bowl caliber talent in the easiest division in college football, but somehow still doesn't have a signature win on his resume.

I think Aranda is the key. If Andersen brings Aranda and most of his Wisconsin coaches out West, they're going to be tough sledding. The one time Aranda went up against Sonny's best team, it was 41-17 Utah State before Tech pulled off a mad comeback and forced overtime (where Utah State won). Cal has not fared well in the Bear Raid era against good defenses ever, so the matchup might be unfavorable for us.

Nothing about Andersen himself screams elite coach. I'd say he's near the bottom with Dykes and MacIntyre in terms of overall coaching resume. But in Oregon State, with the right staff, over time he could be a perfect fit.