#11 Oregon State vs #5 Washington (+1.0) 6:30 p.m. CT Saturday, November 18 on ABC
This game has huge playoff implications. If Washington defeats Oregon State in this affair, the Huskies will have clinched a spot in the Pac-12 Championship. And beyond this Saturday, the Huskies play the 4-6 Washington State Cougars on the last weekend of the regular season. Win and they’re in, that’s the scenario for Washington. Lose and everything goes out of whack. The Oregon Ducks are right on the Huskies’ tail, at sixth in the College Football Playoff Poll. While Washington plays a top team, the Ducks are fortunate enough to take on the 3-7 Arizona State Sun Devils.
This affair is a battle between two top offenses. Washington ranks sixth in the nation in yards per game, while the Beavers rank nineteenth. Although both teams rack up the yardage, they get it done in different ways. Washington ranks first in pass yards per game. However, the Huskies don’t run it often. Washington ranks in the bottom half in rush yards per game and has handed it off the fourth least amount of times. Oregon State maintains a more balanced attack. The Beavers rank in the top 50 in pass yards per game and in the top 20 in rush yards per game.
Led by Heisman hopeful, Michael Penix Jr., the Huskies will certainly look to expose the Beavers through the air. Oregon State maintains a solid, yet unspectacular pass defense. In their two losses this season, the Beavers have been ransacked through the air. Against Washington State, Oregon State allowed over 400 passing yards and four passing touchdowns. And against the Arizona Wildcats, the Beavers allowed 275 yards and three scores through the air. The Beavers must slow down Washington’s air attack if they want to come out victorious.
As for the Beavers, they’re up for a tall task. Washington is undefeated and hasn’t looked necessarily vulnerable in any facet of the game. The Huskies may not be the best rushing team, but they can still get it done on the ground. Washington’s leading rusher, Dillon Johnson, has rushed for 790 yards and 11 touchdowns on 5.8 yards per rush. Despite an air raid focus, Johnson leads the team in touchdowns. With every Washington game, fireworks will ensue. The Huskies have only scored less than 30 points in a game once this season. And this matchup against the Beavers will likely be no different. A high-scoring affair is likely and it’s more likely the team with the better offense comes away victorious.
My pick: Washington wins 38-27
#17 Arizona vs #22 Utah (+1.0) 1:30 p.m. CT Saturday, November 18 on PAC12 Network
The Wildcats are aiming for their fifth victory in a row. After beginning the season with a 3-3 record, Arizona has looked like a completely different team in the second half of the season. The Wildcats are a well-balanced squad. They sport an above-average defense and offense. And their above-average defense goes a long way in the Pac-12. The Pac-12 is full of potent offense, yet the Wildcats are one of the more well-balanced squads. Head coach Jedd Fisch went 1-11 in his first season at the helm. Now, he’s knocking on the door of a nine-win season.
While Fisch is now on the radar for other head coach openings, Utah’s head skipper, Kyle Whittingham, has locked in his tenth straight winning season. And this season may be Whittingham’s most successful. While he may not reach double-digit wins, he’s done so without a starting quarterback and a lackluster offense. The Utes are tenth in the Pac-12 in total offense and dead last in passing yards. The quarterback room has been a struggle without Cam Rising leading the huddle. Week in, and week out, it’s been difficult for the Utes to run a consistent offense. This week will likely be no different. The Wildcats will play the Utes looking for their fifth straight victory. And while they play in an offense-centric conference, Arizona has played a wide range of opponents these past few weeks. From Washington State to UCLA, the Wildcats have displayed the poise to knock off each and every team.
My pick: Arizona wins 23-21