With Oregon State's sports' calendar almost coming to a close, it's time for The Daily Barometer's sports staff to rank the biggest surprises of the year. Here are the 10 biggest surprises of 2013-14 both good and bad, in no particular order.
Robinson fired: May 5, 2014 It was a make-or-break year for Oregon State men's basketball, with many of its key players returning for their last season. Craig Robinson had three years remaining on his contract and wanted to bring Oregon State back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in more than 20 years. The Beavers limped to an 8-6 record in nonconference before sputtering to a 16-16 record. The disappointing season culminated in a four-point loss to Radford in the first round of the CBI, a postseason tournament the Beavers were hosting and heavily favored in. While many questioned whether or not Robinson should return for his final season, OSU Athletic Director Bob De Carolis announced the school would retain its head coach in the final year of his contract. The shocking part of the saga came more than a week later when De Carolis retracted his statement and fired Robinson as head coach. The Beavers have since hired Wayne Tinkle, who has been given the task of rebuilding the program. Women's basketball qualifies for NCAA Tournament: March 17, 2014 Oregon State entered the 2013-14 season with few expectations. The Pac-12 coaches picked the Beavers to finish second-to-last in the conference after the Beavers finished 10-21 in 2012-13. Despite its young roster and a tough schedule, Oregon State shocked everybody, finishing the regular season 23-11, third in the Pac-12 standings, while taking second in the Pac-12 Tournament. The Beavers' performance earned them their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1996. As if that wasn't enough, OSU defeated then-No. 22 Middle Tennessee in the first round before falling to No. 1-seed South Carolina in the second round. Head coach Scott Rueck was named Pac-12 Coach of the Year for the second time in his four-year stint at Oregon State. With most of the team returning for next season, the Beavers could be even better. Softball upsets Arizona State: March 16, 2-14 After 22 games on the road to start the season, Oregon State softball returned to Corvallis to face the No. 5 team in the nation. The Beavers were just 9-14 on the season and had underperformed compared to last year's postseason run. The Beavers quickly showed they were glad to return home, stealing the first game of the three-game series with a 3-2 victory. OSU was blown out, 11-0, in five innings the following day, but bounced back with a 3-1 win to take a series victory. OSU ended up going just 4-16 in Pac-12 play, but managed to win two games against one of the best teams in the loaded conference. The Beavers wouldn't get another Pac-12 win until beating Stanford in their second-to-last game of the season. NCAA suspends Wetzler for 11 games: Feb. 22, 2014 Coming off a College World Series appearance, OSU entered the season ranked No. 2 in the nation and had plenty to be excited about with the return of its ace, Ben Wetzler. The senior opted to return for one last season despite being drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the fifth round of the MLB Draft. Before the left-hander could return to the field, he was slapped with an 11-game suspension after breaking the NCAA's "no agent" rule. OSU appealed the suspension but to no avail. Wetzler was forced to sit out of the first 20 percent of the season. When Wetzler finally returned, he was dominant and has been all season. He currently sports the best earned run average in the nation at 0.74. Arguably even more surprising than his 11-game suspension to was the five-game suspension he received just two weeks ago after being arrested and charged with two misdemeanors. It's been a tumultuous senior year for Wetzler, but with OSU entering the postseason ranked No. 1 in the nation, he has a chance to end things on a high note. Volleyball goes winless in conference play: Nov. 29, 2013 Oregon State started the year 9-2 with hopes of competing in the tough Pac-12 conference. The Beavers weren't expected to make any serious noise, but they were an intriguing team that performed well in its nonconference schedule. While the Beavers started off hot, they didn't quite finish that way. They lost the last 16 games they played. Oregon State didn't manage a single victory in the Pac-12, finishing dead last in the conference standings. Oregon State came close against Washington State, UCLA and Cal, forcing a fifth set, but was never able to come out on top. The Beavers will look to rebound next season after a year filled with surprising disappointment. Cooks leaves for the NFL: Jan. 2, 2014 Cooks' decision to leave Corvallis for the NFL Draft -- eventually being selected 20th overall by the New Orleans Saints -- wasn't too surprising when it first happened. The surprise was in how high Cooks climbed up the draft board in one year. Entering the season, it was unclear if Cooks would even be successful as the team's No. 1 option following the departure of Markus Wheaton. He showed he was more than up to the task, leading the nation in receiving yards and receptions en route to the Biletnikoff Award, which is given to the nation's best receiver. Cooks went on to run the fastest 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine (4.33 seconds) and climb the draft board all the way into the first round. Women's soccer starts year 1-6-1: Sept. 15, 2013 The Beavers were coming off a disappointing season that ended without a postseason berth, but had hopes of returning to the playoffs with many key pieces returning. Despite a tough schedule to open the year, many thought Oregon State would get out of its nonconference schedule in decent shape. That didn't happen. The Beavers fell to quality opponents, Florida State and Florida, in their first two games. They knocked off Texas, 1-0, in their home opener, but subsequently tied Wisconsin before losing to UC Irvine, Hawaii, Cal State Northridge and Gonzaga in succession. Oregon State beat Cal Poly as it entered its Pac-12 schedule, but couldn't salvage the season, and finished the year a surprising 6-13-2, while missing out on the postseason for the second consecutive season. Football falls to Eastern Washington in opener: Aug. 31, 2013 Oregon State fans were looking forward to an easy first half of the 2013-14 football schedule, which began with the first game of the season. Facing FCS-opponent Eastern Washington at home in the season opener, everybody thought Oregon State would roll to an easy victory. The Beavers were coming off a 9-4 season and were retuning a lot of experience. While the OSU was offense was terrific, the defense had no answers for EWU quarterback Vernon Adams. The dual-threat Adams was unstoppable for all four quarters, racking up 411 passing yards, 107 rushing yards and six total touchdowns. He culminated his career day with a 2-yard touchdown scamper with just 18 seconds remaining to give his team a three-point advantage. Sean Mannion gave the Beavers one last gasp, setting up a 52-yard field goal attempt to send the game into overtime, but the kick was wide and OSU lost its opener in stunning fashion. Football loses five-straight games to end regular season: Nov. 29, 2013 Despite losing its opener to lowly Eastern Washington, Oregon State bounced back in a big way by winning its next six games. The Beavers managed to knock off Hawaii, Utah, San Diego State, Colorado, Washington State and Cal before hosting Stanford on Oct. 26, 2013. Oregon State won close games on the road against Utah and San Diego State, and was coming off a 49-17 beatdown of the Golden Bears in Berkeley, Calif., heading into a ranked matchup with Cardinal. OSU fought hard, but ultimately lost, 20-12, sparking a losing skid that would last the remainder of the regular season. OSU allowed 130 points over the next three games, all blowouts, before nearly beating Oregon in Eugene. While the Beavers weren't playing in as big a bowl as they would have liked, they did finish the season on a high note, beating Boise State, 38-23, in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. Gymnastics gets instant impact from freshmen Though most expected the Beavers to be competitive once again in 2013-14, OSU's normal expectations of competing for nationals weren't as high with the knowledge that the team would have to rely heavily on a trio of true freshmen. Madeline Gardiner, Kaytianna McMillan and Megan Jimenez helped propel the Beavers all the way to regionals, where they narrowly missed out on advancing to the NCAA Championships. Still, it was a successful year for Oregon State, as the team finished No. 13 in the nation with nearly its entire squad returning for next season. Gardiner and McMillan, in particular, were brilliant; both advanced to nationals as individuals. Gardiner earned All-American First Team honors on the beam and in the all-around, and finished tied for third on beam in the individual event finals. The freshmen's strong performance showed the Beavers have a bright future ahead of them. The Daily Barometer On Twitter @barosports email@example.com