It’s time. In fact, it’s past time.
That’s what UW fans would say about the urgency to again beat Oregon (though what I’m also saying about realizing it’s about time to get this posted).
A lot of stats have been bandied about here and elsewhere all week. Some I think may be evenn more relevant can be found buried deep on the Pac-12 website — those for conference games only. Here they are.
Given the vagaries of non-conference scheduling, conference-only stats can present a clearer picture of how the two teams really rank. And UW and Oregon have played fairly similar conference schedules, each already playing Colorado, Cal and Arizona while UW has also had games at Utah and Stanford and Oregon home to Arizona State and WSU. The combined conference record of UW’s foes is 9-18; of Oregon’s 7-19.
So with that written, here are a few key conference-only numbers:
Oregon 45.6, UW 35.4.
Oregon 20,6, UW 31.4.
Oregon 519.2, UW 460.2.
Oregon 419.6, UW 417.4.
Oregon 338.2, UW 189.6.
Oregon 123.6, UW 133.8.
Oregon 181.0, UW 270.6.
Oregon 296.0, UW 283.6.
PASS DEFENSE EFFICIENCY
(the lower number the better)
Oregon 111.2, UW 134.7.
Oregon 19, UW 10.
Oregon 4, UW 9.
Most, obviously, favor Oregon, and you can see why Vegas has the Ducks as a 16.5-point favorite (though I can already hear UW fans saying that the Stanford game skews a lot of them, and that it may indeed do — at some point, to do anything with stats, you just have to throw them out there and see what’s there).
What doesn’t favor Oregon tomorrow is everything else — the crowd, the emotion of the last game at Husky Stadium as it’s been known for 91 yards, Senior Night, etc.
UW coach Steve Sarkisian has talked often the Huskies “putting their best foot forward” and there is no excuse not to do that tomorrow night. It should be expected that they will.
But will that be enough? I think UW needs some “breaks” to win it — a punt return for a touchdown, some turnovers, etc. They also need to convert long drives into touchdowns just about every time down. And whenever they have an open receiver deep, the pass has to be there and it has to be caught. UW has struggled to do all of those things against the Ducks of late. I think they’ll be better this time around.
But longtime readers of this space know I’m kind of a believer in the percentages. I still think Oregon is just better than UW in some key areas — namely, its overall team speed, and especially the matchup of its offensive skill guys against the Huskies. I also may have burned too deep the way that Nebraska and Stanford — objectively, the only two really good rushing teams UW has played — ran through the Washington defense.
Nothing will surprise me tomorrow other than a defensive struggle — I don’t envision that.
But I’m going with the numbers here and picking UW to keep it close but the Ducks — who, recall, have won lots of games the last few years in tough surroundings — to get the win. OREGON 48, WASHINGTON 41.