ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) views the 2022 Beavers as favorites in only four games all season and just one of their first six games.

That’s the bad news for Oregon State fans. Now, the good news is: A, FPI doesn’t play the actual games and some of the stuff Oregon State does well is just plain hard for a simulation-based model to quantify, and B, four of the games where Oregon State’s opponent is technically the “favorite” feature a percentage chance of the Beavers winning over 40%. Read: toss-up.

And that sort of feels like FPI’s stance on Oregon State in the preseason. The Beavers are projected to go 6-6. FPI gives them just a 0.8% chance to win the Pac-12 and only a 4.8% chance of making it to the conference championship game. In 20,000 simulations of the season using FPI’s preseason data, Oregon State reached six wins 61.5% of the time.

With one of the sport’s most underrated offensive line coaches—and a group that should once again be stout—and one of the sport’s underrated head coaches and a new defensive identity and the same old power run game, Oregon State is a team that’s lurking in the North* this season.

Here’s how FPI views its chance to win each game on the schedule:

  • Sept. 3 vs. Boise State — 49.8% chance to win
  • Sept. 10 at Fresno State — 48.4% chance to win
  • Sept. 17 vs. Montana State — 88.6% chance to win
  • Sept. 24 vs. USC — 42.0% chance to win
  • Oct. 1 at Utah — 15.1% chance to win
  • Oct. 8 at Stanford — 43.5% chance to win
  • Oct. 15 vs. Washington State — 69.3% chance to win
  • Oct. 22 vs. Colorado — 74.2% chance to win
  • Nov. 4 at Washington — 33.8% chance to win
  • Nov. 12 vs. Cal — 66.6% chance to win
  • Nov. 19 at Arizona State — 34.1% chance to win
  • Nov. 26 vs. Oregon — 31.9% chance to win

The first month of the season is brutal, but if Oregon State can survive that stretch, there’s a real chance to build some momentum to take into a season finale at home against Oregon.

As coach Jonathan Smith and his team look at the way things shake out, they probably feel pretty good about their chances of winning every game between Oct. 8 and Nov. 19.