Hopefully, the Washington Huskies are focused on their first Pac-12 game against the Arizona Wildcats this Saturday. But I am going to look ahead toward the end of the season for a second. The UCLA Bruins and the Huskies are separating themselves as the next two teams behind Oregon and Stanford in the Pac-12, ranking 13th and 16th, respectively, in the AP Poll.
They both possess high-powered offenses and talented defenses. These are the two most even teams in the Pac-12 – including Oregon and Stanford – and their explosive offenses butting heads will make for the most entertaining games of the Pac-12 schedule.
The whole country has Nov. 7 circled on their calendar. The showdown between Pac-12 North powers is sure to be a competitive, fun game. But it’s the game six days later that catches my eye.
A rare Friday night game showcases two programs on the rise. Each possesses its own history of success, but neither has seen much in the past decade or so. Jim Mora Jr. and Steve Sarkisian were brought in to turn each program around – admittedly, Mora had an easier task facing him – and each have done their job thus far.
One of the nation’s top running backs, Bishop Sankey, will run against arguably the nation’s best linebacker, Anthony Barr. Two of the Pac-12’s best quarterbacks will face off in Pasadena. The two offenses average a combined 95.4 points per game, both ranking in the top-20 in the nation.
Oregon and Stanford may be the matchup of the two best teams in the Pac-12, but the Ducks have looked like potentially the best team in the country, while Stanford – which looked very good in the first half against ASU – hasn’t played up to par. The Cardinal seem to have the Ducks number as of late, but this Oregon team may be its best yet, while Stanford has had its weaknesses magnified in its first three games.
If the Huskies can upset either Oregon or Stanford, while taking care of business in their other games, the showdown in Pasadena could have Pac-12 title implications. The Bruins should have a lead on the South, with their only real competition seeming to be an ASU team with weaknesses of its own, but the Huskies could see themselves only a game back in the North, potentially.
This is the game I am most excited for in the Pac-12 this season, but it’s still nearly two months away. For now, the Huskies have to take care of business against Arizona on Saturday.