Week 9 - Oregon State at Washington

Posted Oct 25, 2012

Week 9 Fearless Prediction – Oregon State at Washington

Oregon State (6-0) at Washington (3-4) Oct. 27, 10:15, Pac-12 Networks

Here's The Deal: Two programs heading in opposite directions are on a Week 9 collision course in Seattle.

Oregon State is off to a history-making start in 2012. The Beavers are a highly improbable 6-0 for the first time in over a century at a time when the institution was known as Oregon Agricultural College. Getting to 7-0 on Saturday night would be new territory for a school that began playing football in 1893. Mike Riley's kids are No. 7 in the BCS standings, navigating an injury to QB Sean Mannion, who's expected back this week, and the pressure of heightened expectations.

Washington couldn't be riding a more disparate trajectory than its long-time rival from Corvallis. The Huskies, which peaked with an upset of Stanford on Sept. 27, haven't won a game since, and are in danger of missing the postseason entirely if they can't turn things around soon. They were hammered in two of the three defeats, including last week's demoralizing 52-17 loss to Arizona.

Why Oregon State Might Win: Nothing is going right for U-Dub. Everything appears to be clicking for OSU.

The Beavers are thriving with a team philosophy that preaches unity and fundamentals, and features no true stars. They do a lot of little things well, such as creating turnovers, pressuring the quarterback and scoring in the red zone. And now Mannion is expected to supplant Cody Vaz, who did a great job in relief. The D has been the bedrock of the undefeated start, limiting opponents to just 80 yards rushing and 16 points per game. Washington's struggles up front will be evident every time ends Scott Crichton and Dylan Wynn loop around the edge to force QB Keith Price into a costly mistake.

Why Washington Might Win: The Huskies are a very different team in the Clink, their adopted home at CenturyLink Field.

Yeah, everyone is a little better in their own building, but Washington has been markedly tougher in Seattle, beating Stanford and hanging tough with USC. It's been Justin Wilcox's D that has been the story at home, yielding an average of only 15 points in four games. The Beavers aren't going to frighten this crew, especially since Mannion could be rusty, and the ground game ranks 107th in the country. Wilcox will need his stars to shine bright this weekend, which means DE Josh Shirley pressuring the pocket, NT Danny Shelton plugging running lanes and Desmond Trufant and Sean Parker sticking to receivers.

What To Watch Out For: Trufant is one of the Pac-12's top cover corners, but he's going to be challenged vertically by one of the league's fastest wide receivers, Oregon State sprinter Markus Wheaton. The senior is a classic field-stretcher, who was at his most dangerous when before Mannion injured his knee. Wheaton and Brandin Cooks can both get behind the secondary, which is going to open up opportunities for tight ends Colby Prince and Connor Hamlett to beat an average collection of Washington linebackers.

What Will Happen: Rivalry game. Home team playing with little to lose. Yeah, all signs point to this being a much closer game than the records would indicate.

Washington isn't playing nearly as well as Oregon State, but it'll summon up its best effort in weeks, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. It'll be close throughout, with neither team gaining much separation or putting up many points. The difference will come down to late-game execution and knowing how to win close games. Advantage Beavers, who'll escape with their unblemished mark intact, but not without first breaking a serious sweat.

CFN Prediction: Oregon State 24 … Washington 23
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Oregon State -4.5 O/U: 48
Must Watch Rating (5 – The Girl, 1 – Don't Trust The B In Apt. 23): 3