I’ve been absent from here for a few days so there’s a few things to catch up with football-wise, though frankly, not much that hasn’t already been printed.
The Huskies are healthy going into today, though it seems unlikely that starting free safety Jason Wells will play after having his second concussion last week. That means Dashon Goldson will likely start at free safety, which will leave the Huskies even thinner in the secondary. The good news is that Oregon State is no longer the deep-passing team it used to be as Matt Moore has had a really disappointing season. Instead, the key is really going to be on the guys up front. Oregon State running back Yvenson Bernard is really good both running and catching the ball, and I’d look at Scott White as the key guy in slowing down Bernard. OSU also has one of the nation’s top tight ends in Joe Newton and he’ll be matched up with Dan Howell. Expect the Huskies to blitz the rather immobile Moore a lot, but because two of the linebackers are going to have a big responsibility handling skill guys, Washington needs the front four to get pressure on Moore as well.
Also, as I wrote about earlier this week, special teams is going to be a big factor. OSU is one team that really relies on field position because of kicker Alexis Serna, who is a ridiculous 11-for-11 on field goals in Husky Stadium the last two years (and Husky Stadium is as tough a place to kick as any in the country). Washington needs good days from its punting unit, as OSU returner Sammie Stroughter is really good.
The Husky offense will be helped by the weather, but I think the thing to watch is how well Washington moved the ball on the ground. The Beavers are a pretty good pass defense so the Huskies need to open things up by running the ball.
Finally, as I forgot to do it earlier, here’s how I did with my picks last week. For those concerned that I picked the Huskies to lose today, take heart in the fact that my picks have been terrible lately.
USC vs. Washington: What I said: USC 37-15; What happened: USC 26-20: The Huskies were impressive against a team I think is better than people think.
UCLA vs. Arizona: What I said: Arizona 31-28; What happened: UCLA 27-7: Maybe the Bruins are better than I thought.
Washington State vs. Oregon State: What I said: Oregon State 34-21; What happened: Washington State 13-6: The Cougars defense is playing great.
California vs. Oregon: What I said: Oregon 29-26; What happened: California 45-24: I thought the Bears would struggle this year….I guess not.
Notre Dame vs. Stanford: What I said: Notre Dame 43-11; What happened: Notre Dame 31-10: A blow out is a blow out.
Record for the week: 2-3. Record for the season: 30-11.