The Oregon State Beavers enjoyed their third winning season in a row in 2023. Head coach Jonathan Smith continued his turnaround from a 2-10 season at the start of his tenure in 2017 and accepted the Michigan State coaching job after the regular season. Defensive coordinator Trent Bray's been promoted to head coach starting this bowl season.
The No. 21-ranked Beavers fell to Washington State in its Pac-12 opener after three wins to open the season. Oregon State responded with three wins in a row again, including a 21-7 win over then-No. 10 Utah in Week 5 and a 36-24 win over then-No. 18 UCLA in Week 7. At that point, the Beavers sat at 6-1 overall and 3-1 in the Pac-12.
The stretch of games following their Week 8 bye proved much tougher. Oregon State went 2-3 to close the season, punctuated by a 31-7 drubbing on the road against No. 5 Oregon in the regular season finale. Starting quarterback DJ Uiagalelei announced he's entering the transfer portal again but will also consider the NFL Draft. Losing him will be a big blow but there's still one last game to play for in 2023.
Will Oregon State play in a bowl game?
Yes. The Beavers' win over UCLA in October sealed their third consecutive bowl appearance.
Which bowl game will Oregon State play in?
Oregon State will finish 2023 as the fourth-best team in the Pac-12 behind Washington, Oregon, and Arizona. Washington is a virtual lock to play in the College Football Playoff after beating Oregon in the Pac-12 title game, sending Oregon to a likely appearance New Year's Six bowl while Arizona is a near-lock for the Alamo Bowl.
That leaves a few bowl options for the Beavers. The Pac-12 doesn't rank its bowl games, but uses geography and matchups to decide which teams are in specific bowl games.
The Holiday Bowl in San Diego is a strong possibility. That bowl game featured Oregon in 2022 when the Ducks finished fourth in the Pac-12, like the Beavers did this season.
Oregon State could also play in the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas. Though the Beavers finished with a better record than USC, the Trojans may be selected for the Holiday Bowl as a bigger draw for viewership.
Though it's not as prestigious, the Beavers could also be picked for the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana. They're not geographically very close to that bowl site but could end up there with other Pac-12 teams playing in bowls closer to the West Coast.
Who will Oregon State play in a bowl game?
If the Beavers play in the Holiday Bowl, they'll match up with one of nearly a dozen bowl-eligible ACC teams. The Clemson Tigers would be a likely matchup considering they have the same record this season.
A Sun Bowl matchup pits the Beavers against an ACC team as well. Clemson would be an option here as well as the Miami Hurricanes, Duke Blue Devils, or North Carolina Tar Heels.
The Independence Bowl would pit Oregon State against a Big 12 opponent. The Big 12 ranks their bowl affiliates and the Independence Bowl is seventh in the order. That'd make for either 8-4 Kansas or 6-6 Texas Tech as an opponent depending on New Year's Six bowl selections.
Oregon State bowl predictions roundup
USA Today: Oregon State Beavers vs. Miami Hurricanes in the Sun Bowl
CBS Sports: Oregon State Beavers vs. Miami Hurricane in the Sun Bowl
247Sports: Oregon State Beavers vs. Miami Hurricanes in the Sun Bowl
The Athletic: Oregon State Beavers vs. Miami Hurricanes in the Sun Bowl
Fox Sports: Oregon State Beavers vs. Iowa State Cyclones in the Independence Bowl
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Oregon State football 2023 bowl game scenarios after regular season