While there are scenarios out there that could put some 5-7 teams in a bowl game (this is the bowl landscape we live in now), getting to six wins is the best way to ensure the program has a chance of extending their bowl streak to six straight seasons. To get to six they first have to get to five, and that opportunity happens tomorrow in Reser Stadium vs. Oregon State. The Beavers reside in the basement of the Pac-12 this season as they transition to new HC Gary Andersen - is this a chance for the Huskies to get well and take a key step in getting to bowl eligibility? Or is this a trap game in anticipation of the Apple Cup in two weeks?
For all the angst about near-misses this season and frustration at not having a better record, the Huskies do have some comfortable wins under their belt against lesser teams. They blew-out Sacramento State as any Power-5 program should against a lower-tier FCS team; they beat a decent Utah State team by two touchdowns, and they boat-raced a bowl-eligible Arizona team.
With all due respect to our friends down in Corvallis, this Oregon State team is not very good this year. They are in the first year of a significant transformation from the pro-style, pass-first offense of Mike Riley to a run-heavy, shotgun-spread attack under new HC Gary Andersen. They are also adapting to a 3-3-5 approach on defense under former Utah DC Kalani Sitake. While this may well result in a hard-nosed team that nobody wants to face in a few years, there hasn't been much in the way of "success" for the Beavers this year.
The only Pac-12 teams they've held below 41 points are Utah and Colorado. The Buffs themselves aren't that great, and the Utah game looks like an outlier. Conference opponents are averaging 39.6 points, 540.9 yards/game and 7.1 yards/play. Washington's offense has had consistency issues, but in general they have improved as the season has progressed and this appears to be a golden opportunity for them to take the yards they gained last week at ASU and convert them to points.
Things haven't gone much better on the other side of the ball for Oregon State; they have averaged just 15.9 points, 341.6 yards/game and 5.0 yards/play in the Pac-12. Against a Husky defense that is still the top-ranked in the conference, this does not bode well for the Beavers. We know that anything can happen in college football, but all signs point to a comfortable win for Washington in this one: UW 38, Oregon State 10
Every Pac-12 team has seemed to be able to "get right" against the struggling Beavers. There's no reason the Huskies shouldn't be able to do the same, but I think it will be a little tougher than anticipated with the Huskies on a back-to-back road swing and Oregon State knowing that this is almost assuredly their last chance to get a conference win. I expect those who want the Huskies to pound the ball on the ground to be happy as the Huskies work Myles Gaskin against a really bad Oregon State defense for a few scores and pepper in some downfield strikes along the way. The Beavers won't go away quietly on senior night though and find ways to get some scores of their own and hang within striking distance, but won't be able to get the scores they need late and turn the ball over at key moments as they do a bit of an impression of the Huskies. Washington 27 Oregon State 19
Oregon State is struggling mightily this season on both sides of the ball. The Huskies are struggling on one. After a very disappointing loss to ASU last week, I think the Huskies will smell blood against the Beavers. Even though it's their senior night, they are just not a very good team. They're also missing their starting QB, Seth Collins. Mt. Si product Nick Mitchell won't be able to get a passing game going that's struggled all year. The Beavers will fight for their seniors, but they won't win. The Washington offense, while still mistake prone, and liable to make execution errors, will have a nice day against a bad OSU defense. Huskies 35, Beavers 13.
Oregon State is not very good this year. They have the worst offense in the Pac 12 and the Dawgs have the best defense in the conference. That should be that. Barring multiple, catastrophic breakdowns by the offense and defense, the Huskies should cruise to victory. But, if the Huskies turn the ball over on offense and allow a redshirt freshman QB and a senior RB in Storm Woods to have the games of their lives, we are in trouble. Washington 38 OSU 20.