Week 8 of the college football season features three games between top-25 teams. Two are in the Pac-12. One is a North division battle between No. 12 Oregon and No. 25 Washington that could create separation or muddle the picture further. Got to love October.
There’s sound logic in believing this will be the toughest conference game of the season for both teams. At the very least, it would appear it is the primary hurdle for whoever is going to win the North Division. Of the two, Washington has more ground to make up after losing to Cal and Stanford. Oregon is undefeated in Pac-12 play, but a tough back-end of the slate is on the horizon, starting Saturday. What other storylines are there to follow for this mid-afternoon matchup of Pac-12 heavyweights? Let’s parse through them.
Oregon: I’ll be interested to see how this offense plays without star tight end Jake Breeland, Colorado. Breeland was quarterback Justin Herbert’s safety net, leading the team with 26 grabs for 405 yards and six touchdowns. Moreover, he led the FBS in receiving yards and was tied for the lead in touchdowns among tight ends at the time of his injury. His absence simply cannot be overstated, especially within the context of Oregon’s overall passing game struggles. Sure, Herbert himself has been efficient, tossing for 17 touchdowns to just one pick while averaging 8.3 yards per attempt. But injuries and drops have plagued this pass-catching group. Getting guys like freshman Mycah Pittman back has been helpful, but Washington’s pass defense remains as strong as ever.he suffered against
Washington: 2019 has been a bit uncharacteristic for the Huskies. Two early losses to Cal and Stanford saw Washington’s offense take some noticeable steps back. The Cardinal also had little problem pushing Washington’s defense around, surprising both in and of itself and especially because Stanford was down to backups along its offensive line. The season is by no means lost, but there’s a real opportunity for Chris Petersen’s team to turn a corner and close the gap with Oregon in the North race. This would also be a big game for quarterback Jacob Eason. The Georgia transfer has all the tools that Herbert has, and a big game against a strong Ducks defense would give him more of the spotlight.
Date: Saturday, Oct. 19 | Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Location: Husky Stadium — Seattle, Washington
TV: ABC | Live stream: WatchESPN.com
Game prediction, picks
Both defenses are well-coached — Oregon defensive coordinator Andy Avalos should be a Broyles Award finalist — and ahead of the offenses, despite the fact that there’s a lot of raw talent at quarterback for both teams. I don’t expect a lot of points and this probably comes down to whichever team avoids a catastrophic mistake. If this game were in Eugene, I’d pick the Ducks without much of a thought. Regardless of the score, though, this one appears to be tight enough for Washington to cover at home. Pick: Washington +2.5
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