Arizona State (5-5 overall, 2-5 in Pac-12) at No. 6 Washington (9-1 overall, 6-1 in Pac-12)
4:30 p.m. Saturday, Husky Stadium
The line: Washington by 27
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It’s going to be quite the matchup, isn’t it?
Cross-state rivals. Sold-out crowd. Pac-12 North title on the line.
It’s hard not to think about next week’s Apple Cup game, which, if the Huskies take care of business on Saturday at Husky Stadium, will decide the Pac-12 North champion. Rarely has the annual rivalry game between Washington and Washington State held such meaning for both participants. It’s going to be really fun.
But first, there is the matter of the Huskies’ game this week against Arizona State, a four-touchdown underdog riding a four-game losing streak. The Sun Devils have enough talented skill players (Kalen Ballage, Demario Richard, Tim White, N’Keal Harry) to give the Huskies trouble, and Washington is in perfect position -- coming off a tough loss, with a huge game looming next week -- to find itself in trap-game territory.
So the key for the Huskies might simply be mentally re-grouping and not allowing USC to “beat them twice,” as a few players and coaches put it this week, a reference to their hope that last week’s loss will not linger.
This should also be a good opportunity for DJ Beavers to get acclimated as UW’s starting middle linebacker with Azeem Victor now out for the season. And for UW to sort out some of its pass-rush issues against a team that allowed 11 sacks last week in a loss to Utah. And for Jake Browning, Myles Gaskin and the Huskies’ offense to get back on track against an ASU defense that allows 6.82 yards per play, more than all but two other FBS teams.
As evidenced by the 27-point betting line, the perception is that the Huskies should roll. I tend to agree, especially on senior day. Here’s a guess the Huskies will bid a proper farewell to their 13 seniors, and set up a titanic Apple Cup next Friday.
The pick: Washington 49, Arizona State 20.