Two of the best and brightest from the Pac 12 conference get the featured game of the late afternoon window treatment from ABC this week. The #7 Washington Huskies head south to take on the #17 Oregon Ducks.
This one will have huge ramifications for both the Pac 12 North standings and the national polls. Let’s take a look at what both teams are bringing to the table for what looks to be one of the best games of Week 7.
Washington @ Oregon, 3:30 PM EST, ABC
- Washington -3.5 (-110)
- Oregon +3.5 (-110)
- Washington -165
- Oregon +145
- Over 57.5 (-108)
- Under 57.5 (-112)
Washington vs. Oregon pick:
Since opening the season with a close 21-16 loss to the Auburn Tigers on a neutral field in Atlanta, the Washington Huskies have won five straight contests. The team is outscoring opponents by a margin of 175-82, but two of its last three contests have been decided by seven points or less.
The Oregon Ducks are 4-1, with their lone blemish coming from a heartbreaking loss against the Stanford Cardinal in Week 4. The Ducks were up 31-21 at one point, but the Cardinal rallied back for a 38-31 victory in overtime. On they year, the Ducks have outscored opponents to the tune of 228-122.
While Washington’s defense is viewed as the strength of the team, the squad is no slouch on offense either. Senior QB Jake Browning is completing 66.5 percent of his passes for 1,508 yards, nine touchdowns, and five picks through five games. Browning also has three rushing touchdowns on the season.
Fellow senior Myles Gaskin is leading the way in the backfield, as he has 124 carries for 554 yards and five scores. Gaskin has also hauled in 11 passes for 48 yards. Junior Aaron Fuller has emerged as the top threat in the passing game. The wideout has caught 35 passes for 574 yards and two scores. All told, the offense is averaging 272 passing yards, 170.7 rushing yards, and 29.2 points per game.
Defensively, the Huskies are giving up an average of 174.7 passing yards, 129.8 rushing yards, and just 13.8 points per game. The unit has generated only eight sacks and seven turnovers thus far. Looking ahead, the Huskies have a road date with the #19 Colorado Buffaloes up next, and they close out the month with a road trip to take on the Cal Golden Bears.
Its disappointing loss to Stanford aside, Oregon has looked impressive in its four victories. The team has had little trouble pouring on the points, as the Ducks have scored at least 35 points in each of their five games. Last week, the club dropped 42 points during a trip to take on Cal, while the hosts managed just 24 points.
Junior QB Justin Herbert has been outstanding, completing 64.7 percent of his passes for 1,411 yards, 15 touchdowns, and five picks. Herbert has also added on 33 carries for another 107 yards and a rushing touchdown. Freshman RB CJ Verdell is off to a solid start with 68 carries for 420 yards and two scores, and he’s also hauled in nine passes for another 112 yards. Junior wideout Dillon Mitchell is leading the way for the pass catchers with a line of 27/442/2.
Year to date, the offense is averaging 287.6 passing yards, 216 rushing yards, and 45.6 points per game. The defense is allowing averages of 238.2 passing yards, 108.6 rushing yards, amd 24.4 passing yards per tilt. The unit has produced 16 sacks, tied for 26th in the nation, and generated 10 turnovers. Oregon closes out the month with back to back road contests against the Washington State Cougars and Arizona Wildcats.
These two schools have met 110 times in total, with the first meeting coming way back in 1900, a 43-0 victory for Oregon. Washington holds the edge in the all-time series with a mark of 60-45-5. In recent times, Oregon holds a clear edge with a record of 8-2 over the last decade. The Ducks are 7-2-1 against the spread over that time span, while the Over has come in on five occasions.
However, Washington has won two straight with big margins of victory in both. After being pushed around for years by what had simply been a better program, the Huskies proceeded to close the gap in a big way. In 2016, the Huskies went to Oregon and took the Ducks to the woodshed with a final score of 70-21. It was a similar story last year when Oregon took the trek up north, as Washington won by a score of 38-3.
On paper. Washington looks to be the better squad. That said, they will be traveling into hostile territory to take on a big rival. Huge rivalry games tend to bring out the best in both sides, and there’s nothing to suggest we shouldn’t expect that to be the case here as well. In fact, we can say that’s even more applicable here, as both squads enter the contest ranked in the Top 25.
Oregon is ranked #17 in the nation, and the club would easily be ranked higher if it hadn’t blown its lead against Stanford a few weeks back. Washington checks in at #7 even with a loss on its resume, so it would likely be even higher if a few more bounces went its way when it faced off against Auburn in the season opener.
When lines for this game opened up, Washington was a three-point favorite. The spread has since grown to 3.5 in favor of the Huskies. This game can literally go down to the wire, and the tightness of the spread reinforces that point. While we like Washington to win outright, it may be even more of a squeaker than they are expecting.
We’ll take Oregon plus the points in what shapes up to be one of the finer contests of the Week 7 College Football slate.