KVAL Predictions: Northwest Showdown
Washington vs. Oregon
Tom: On paper, it appears the Huskies have slowly but surely been closing the gap, and it's obvious that the UW defense is an improved bunch. Is that going to matter on Saturday? Nope. Expect Mark Helfrich and the Ducks to open up the offense even more, as they continue to discover just what redshirt freshman QB Marcus Mariota is capable of. The Huskies are coming off their first win over a top 10 team in three years, that 17-13 defeat of Stanford, but playing at Autzen is an entirely different deal than beating Stanford in Seattle. Oregon has won 27 of the last 28 versus Washington at home, and they'll improve upon that mark Saturday night. Washington: 20 Oregon: 47
Nick: Any Husky fan that believes the Dawgs have a chance at Autzen is living in a dream world. Just because the Cougars hung around for a half last week, doesn't mean UW will. The Ducks make it nine straight in the rivalry and roll into the bye week 6-0. Short and sweet. Washington: 17 Oregon: 48
Dirk: Is the gap closing between the Ducks and Dawgs? Oregon has won eight straight in the series (the longest streak by either team in the rivalry). However, the Ducks beat the Huskies last year in Seattle by a score of 34-17. It was 17-10 Oregon at the half. Washington looked good last week in defeating Stanford, especially on defense. The Dawgs' defense held the Cardinal to just six offensive points. Plus, new defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox has his unit ranked second in the Pac-12, giving up just 315 yards per contest. The Huskies give up on average 19.8 points per game, while the Ducks have the best scoring offense (52.4 points per contest). Don't count on them reaching that average. It may be a close game at the half yet again. I will still pick Oregon to win. I think the Ducks will eventually wear the Dawgs down. Fans may not like the score, but they'll like the result. Washington: 16 Oregon: 39
Phil: Is this still a rivalry? Oregon has won the last eight meetings, so I was thinking maybe the intensity was dying down. But LaMichael James' tweet last week proved this is still a big game. Washington surprised Stanford last week with great defensive play. I think the Huskies will come to play this week, but, like most teams that face the Ducks, Washington will get worn down in the second half. Look for a close game until the third quarter, when DAT will bust this game wide open. Washington: 17 Oregon: 41
Washington State vs. Oregon State
Tom: The Beavers appear to be able to handle just about anything that is thrown at them this season, as Sean Mannion continues to show he's worthy of being mentioned as a top-tier QB in college football. His 362 yards per game has OSU sitting at 4th in the nation in passing offense. Brandin Cooks and Markus Wheaton are both in the top 20 nationally in receiving yards per game, and receptions per game, and are making a case for the Pac-12's most potent receiving tandem. Meanwhile, the Beavers are ninth in the nation in rushing defensenot that the Cougs will be running it that muchand will likely shut down WSU's anemic ground game. Keep sophomore QB Connor Halliday in check, cover junior WR Marquess Wilson (he had 12 catches for 182 yards vs. Oregon), and don't let the Cougars bust anything on special teams, and the Beavers will easily be 4-0. Washington State: 19 Oregon State: 31
Nick: Playing their first home game in nearly a month (September 8th vs. Wisconsin), the 14th ranked Beavers finally get to celebrate in front of their own. The Cougs may sling it and go for a couple of big scores, but the game is never really in jeopardy of not breaking Oregon State's way. Sean Mannion continues to prove he is the best quarterback in the Conference not named Matt Barkley. (Which by the way, don't write USC off yet). Washington State: 24 Oregon State: 38
Dirk: The Cougs have a prolific pass offense (333 yards per contest which is 3rd in the Pac-12). The Beavs have struggled to defend the pass (315 yards per contest which is 12th in the Pac-12). That could spell trouble for OSU. However, the Beavers gave up 403 yards passing to Arizona in Tucson last week and still won the game. That was because Sean Mannion threw for 433 yards. This game may be very similar. It may come down to turnovers or a big play on special teams. Based on how the Beavers have played, I think they can get it done again to go to 4-0. They must take care of the football though. OSU must win the turnover battle. Washington State: 34 Oregon State: 38
Phil: The Beavers return home for the first time in nearly a month. Reser will be crazy because these fans have waited a long time for a good football team. That's exactly what they have. Sean Mannion really impressed me last week, leading his team down the field for the game winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter. The Cougars secondary is nothing special, and Mannion should be able to pick them apart. Then Storm Woods will close out the game. Washington State: 21 Oregon State: 37
Last week it was a clean sweep. Everyone in the sports office picked both games right, but once again; Nick lucked out getting closest to the correct score. Will his luck run out this week?
1. Nick: 7-1 (9), 2. Phil: 7-1 (7.5), 3. Tom: 6-2 (7.5), 4. Dirk: 6-2 (7)
What do you think will go down this weekend? You can let us know in a variety of ways.
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