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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

October 13, 2006 at 9:18 AM

FRIDAY’S PICKS

After going 4-1 last week, I’m now 29-6 for the season, mostly evidence that the Pac-10 season has been pretty predictable so far. The one I missed last week (Oregon over Cal) was about the only game that really seemed in doubt ahead of time (freely admitting that a lot of us blew the spread on the UW-USC game).
So here are this week’s picks:
Oregon 27, UCLA 14 — Bruins’ much-improved defense gets a real test from a wounded Ducks team. The bigger issue is UCLA’s QB situation, with Patrick Cowan (son of Tim) stepping in for Ben Olson. Making a first start in the Autzen cauldron just doesn’t bode well for the Bruins. But this is a great matchup of statistically the number one run defense (UCLA, 50 yards per game) and the number one run offense (Oregon, 197 per game) in the conference.
Stanford 17, Arizona 14 — A matchup of the two worst teams in the conference. Arizona looks better on paper, but the ‘Cats are also now going with their backup QB, Adam Austin, and the Cardinal seemed to right its ship a little with the salty performance at Notre Dame last week. Edge to the home team. Great stat here — these teams have combined for just nine sacks on defense (they rank 9-10 in the conference) and have allowed a combined 45 (also 9-10 in the conference), so something has to give.
Cal 31, WSU 21 — Cougars are also much-improved from a year ago and Mkristo Bruce is playing like a first-round pick. But the Bears now appear to be the best team in the conference and should have just too much balance for WSU. Another key for WSU will be whether and how much Jason Hill can play. He had a huge day against the Bears a year ago. Shocking stat — Cal hasn’t won in Pullman since 1979, in part due to not having played there since 2001.
USC 27, ASU 21 — It’s obvious the Trojans aren’t as good as a year ago. ASU has had a week off to lick its wounds and try to get Rudy Carpenter back on track, and this may be the pivotal game of the Dirk Koetter era. If this goes really awry, there may be little Koetter can do the rest of the way to keep his job. Given that, ASU will keep it close for a while. But in the end, USC will find a way, just as it has done the past two weeks.
And to answer a quick question on UW’s strategy for Saturday — yes, I definitely think the Huskies will try to blitz more than a week ago. Matt Moore is a pretty stand-still QB and the Beavers like to throw deep, which means more time in the pocket, and hence, more time to get to the quarterback. OSU has given up 17 sacks in five games, the highest per game percentage in the conference other than Stanford.
As always, I’ll break down the UW game in more detail later today.

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