Oregon State (2-4, 1-2 in Pac-12) at No. 5 Washington (6-0, 3-0 in Pac-12)
3:30 p.m. Saturday, Husky Stadium
The line: Washington by 37
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Radio: 1000 AM / 97.7 FM
Let’s begin by stating two facts.
1. As awful as Oregon State has been offensively this season, the Beavers are significantly better on defense than they were a year ago, and, I think, a better overall team.
2. This game could still resemble last year’s 52-7 blowout in Corvallis.
Yes, Oregon State is heading in the right direction as a program. It might be hard to tell when you watch the Beavers try to throw the ball, something their coach said this week they are “horrible” at. But OSU’s pass defense ranks in the top-10 nationally in a few different categories -- including pass defense efficiency and yards per attempt allowed -- and the Beavers can at least say they’ve beaten a Pac-12 team. They couldn’t last year.
But, of course, the Huskies are also significantly better than they were a year ago, and there is really no reason to think OSU is capable of competing with them. Especially at Husky Stadium. Especially with third-string OSU quarterback Marcus McMaryion making his second career start due to injuries to the two guys ahead of him.
He’ll face a UW defense that ranks ninth nationally in yards per play allowed and sixth in scoring defense. OSU, meanwhile, ranks 111th in offensive yards per play, and has quite possibly the worst passing offense of any major college program. The Beavers will struggle to score.
The key for the Huskies in this one will be to simply keep doing what they’ve been doing offensively -- run the ball at will, throw the ball efficiently, execute in the red zone -- and take a big enough lead by halftime to get their backups some more work. Jake Browning is facing the best defense he’s seen so far this season, but the Beavers also haven’t played an offense as efficient or balanced as Washington’s. This is a mismatch in every phase of the game.
The only real question is how ready the Huskies will be to play coming off their bye week. But preparation hasn’t been an issue for coach Chris Petersen and UW all season, so I don’t really expect it to be an issue this week, either.
The pick: Washington 49, Oregon State 0.