It’s the dawn of another college football Saturday, and if it’s like every other college football Saturday, it figures to be unpredictable.
The weather in Eugene, though, looks like something you can count on, with a high of 74 and clear for today and tonight.
So, basically, perfect conditions for the 105th meeting of the Huskies and Ducks, a series that dates to 1900.
You probably don’t need or want much reminding that the last eight have not gone so well for the Huskies.
And in my preview story for Saturday’s paper I detail that one common theme to many of Oregon’s recent wins in the series has been pulling away in the second half.
UW is hardly the only victim to this trend — Oregon led Arizona just 13-0 at the half two weeks ago here before winning 49-0, and led WSU 23-19 last week at CenturyLink before winning 51-26 (so that’s 36-19 in the first half for Oregon in its first two conference games, and 64-7 in the second).
The general feeling is that Oregon’s fast-paced offense wears down defenses, and that the Ducks also do a good job of adjusting and zeroing in on what is working best and discarding the rest.
As noted in the story, UW coach Steve Sarkisian hopes a deeper defense will be better able to handle the storm this time around.
Almost as much of a question this time, as we noted earlier in our prediction piece, is whether UW’s offense can keep up. The Huskies are 10th in the Pac-12 in scoring offense at 23.2 (and 13.6 without the Portland State game) and 11th in total offense at 313.2. Oregon ranks sixth in total defense in terms of yards allowed per game, but a more telling number may be yards allowed per play, which is 4.5, third behind Arizona State (4.0) and Stanford (4.4). UW’s average of 4.6 yards per offensive play also ranks 11th in the conference ahead of only Utah’s 4.4.
So not trying to be a downer here as the day begins, just noting what the point spread, which is 24 or 24.5 depending on the venue, makes obvious — this will be a challenge for UW today.
IN OTHER NEWS. …
— Bud Withers offers his picks for the rest of the weekend, including on the UW-Oregon game.
— Here’s Sarkisian’s address the other day to the team renovation Husky Stadium.
— The Oregonian’s Ken Goe says the coaches should embrace the rivalry.
— Rob Moseley of the Eugene Register-Guard calls this about as tame of a Washington-Oregon week as he can recall and picks the Ducks to win 42-19.
— The Portland Tribune says the Ducks are overcoming growing pains.
— Here’s the AP preview via FoxSports.
— The Oregonian’s John Canzano says Nick Saban’s transparent attack on Oregon “is laughable.”
— Here’s Chip Kelly talking about the game via CBSSports.com.
— UW’s next opponent, USC, has the weekend off after beating Utah Thursday night. Here are some notes and quotes from Trojan coach Lane Kiffin’s talk with the media Friday from ESPN.com.
— Stanford and Arizona meet in Palo Alto, each hoping to bounce back from tough losses.
— Washington State, meanwhile, is hoping to pull off another surprise in Corvallis.
— UW QB commit Troy Williams threw for three TDs but his Narbonne team had a tougher time than expected against Carson.
— Jake Locker is out for Sunday.