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30 Day Countdown- Day 18: Biggest Threat in the North

Can it be anyone but Stanford?

Notre Dame v Stanford Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Jeff Jaeger more days ‘till Auburn

The Washington Huskies are the odds-on favorite to win the Pac-12 conference this season, but before that can happen, they need to win the North Division. Earlier in this countdown series, I asked readers what they considered a “Must-Win Game.” Only 23% of readers thought any Pac-12 game was more of a must-win than the Stanford game, with the Cardinal taking nearly half of the overall vote.

We have come to expect David Shaw’s Stanford teams to be good. Last season they overcame quarterbacking issues and a sometimes-hobbled Bryce Love to win the North. While I don’t think many Husky fans would concede that the Cardinal were a better team than the Huskies last season, they played better when they needed to and UW fell flat twice. There are some legitimate questions about the Stanford defense this season, especially in the front seven. K.J. Costello needs to prove he can be consistent, but he was playing very well by the end of last season.

The media loves the Huskies, and they see Stanford as the biggest threat. But look who is looming just behind the Cardinal:

The Pac-12 media is high on Oregon, and certainly there are some things for Ducks’ fans to be excited about. Justin Herbert is a good QB, and the offensive line returns four starters. The defense is improved and keeping DC Jim Leavitt from following Willie Taggart to Florida State was huge. Optimism is always super high this time of year, and Oregon surely has some talented football players, but the question is: are things just improving down in Eugene, or are they ready to compete for the Pac-12 North? Their conference schedule is favorable, with no USC and home games against UW and Stanford, with the Huskies coming to town after the Ducks’ bye week.

Wazzu.. while I’d love to see them suck as much as some people are thinking they will, how much of that is based on Luke Falk being gone? Mike Leach quarterbacks are system quarterbacks, and he knows how to find them. I doubt seriously that they won’t have a good passing attack. Somehow he gets his defense to play well too. While I don’t see the Cougs winning the North, I wouldn’t be shocked if they are better than people are expecting.

I dont know what to think about the Cal Bears. They were certainly hurt by injuries in Justin Wilcox’s first season. He is building a good defense, and on offense they return a ton of talent at the skill positions. Even with all that optimism, the realistic goal has to be making a bowl game, not threatening to win the North.

Beavers? Yeah. No.



Who is the Huskies’ biggest competition in the Pac-12 North?

This poll is closed

  • 60%
    (442 votes)
  • 19%
    (140 votes)
  • 0%
    Another Pac-12 Team
    (5 votes)
  • 19%
    The only team that can stop UW is UW
    (144 votes)
731 votes total Vote Now