Special Preview- NCAA Football (Week Seven)

(7) Washington Huskies at (17) Oregon Ducks

Washington: They have won five straight games after dropping their opener to the Auburn Tigers in Atlanta to open up the season. Since then, they’ve been rolling in the victories, including three wins over Pac-12 teams in Arizona State and Utah and UCLA both on the road. Those are important victories and as I always say, if you want to win your division, you must win in your division and beat your conference rivals. Right now, they’re rolling and heading into the year, I had them penciled in as one of my four teams to make the playoffs this season. They get consistent quarterback play from Jake Browning, Myles Gaskin is a stud at running back who doesn’t receive enough attention (I don’t go by he doesn’t get credit because his team is always on late, if you follow the game you will know about this kid) and they score and move the football down the field. They also play defense and it’s just not one guy that makes the difference, they play team defense which will always take you far as a group. Where would you put Jake Browning amongst the best quarterbacks in college football? I won’t put him in the category of Will Grier, Tua Tagovailoa, and Dwayne Haskins but he’s definitely one of the best in the nation because of his ability to command and control his offense and lead his team and when he decided to return for another run for a championship, it was big for them. They will look to keep rolling in a rivalry game on Saturday afternoon against Mario Cristobal and the Oregon Ducks.

Oregon: This is by far the best team they’ve had since 2014 when a kid named Marcus Mariota won the Heisman and helped lead the Oregon Ducks to an upset win over Florida State and got to the national title game. Since then, they haven’t had much success but making a change at head coach has made all the difference. Just a few weeks ago, I had the chance to finally watch them and see what they were made of against the Stanford Cardinal and they did everything they could to win that game, but they ran out of gas and ended up losing the game in overtime to suffer defeat for the first time. Since then, they have bounced back nicely and coach has done a good job at keeping them focused. I have to give props to the quarterback, Justin Herbert and he’s definitely one of the best in the nation under center. This kid can truly make all the throws and he’s mobile. When I watch him play, I’m reminded of a more athletic Joe Flacco because of his height but he can move and get yards with his feet, Joe can’t (no disrespect). As good as they are offensively, I wish I could say the same about them on defense and if they were as consistent on that side of the football, we’re looking at one of the more complete teams in the country in my opinion and when you have an offense that can score but a defense that struggles to stop people, it puts more pressure on the offense because they need to be able to sustain long drives and get the defense a touchdown to take pressure off of them. I love the balance they can display against any team and their game against California is a perfect example. They piled up 485 yards of offense (260 yards rushing and 225 yards passing) and converted eight of their 13 third down conversions. The defense even showed up and won the turnover battle. This is a big game on Saturday in Eugene.

Washington Player To Watch: Aaron Fuller– We talk about what Myles Gaskin brings to the table, what about this guy? He’s been a very nice replacement for Dante Pettis and given Browning a nice target down the field. He runs all the routes and he can give you that vertical presence.

Oregon Player To Watch: C.J. Verdell– He’s an important part to this offense and helps keep the Ducks offensive attack balanced. He’s a smaller back and those are the tougher guys to bring down. He’s also a nice receiver as well. You have to account for him in multiple ways.

Final Analysis: This is a big game for a lot in the conference. The winner will continue to build up its resume in hopes of making the playoffs and the loser will have two losses and their chances will be very slim. This game will come down to who will stop the run better as both teams each give up over 100 yards a game to their opponent. The Huskies can’t allow Herbert to sit back in the pocket all day and make throws. Pressure him, make him move and everything else will fall for them. Oregon’s defense played well last week against California, can that transfer over into this game?

Prediction: Washington 37 Oregon 31