The Pac-12 gets the college football spotlight with a late-night game to kick off the weekend between the Oregon State Beavers and Washington Huskies. Game time is at 10:30 EST on Friday, November 8 at Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Oregon. Fans can watch all of the action on FS1.
Oddsmakers list the Huskies as 10-point favorites on the road. The game also has an over/under of 65 points. Click here for a full list of the Week 11 college football odds.
Oregon State is arguably the biggest surprise in the Pac-12 this season. Coming off back-to-back wins over Cal and Arizona, the Beavers are 4-4 overall and 3-2 in conference play. That actually puts them ahead of Washington in the Pac-12 North standings, which would have been almost impossible to fathom at the start of the season.
There’s no denying that Jonathan Smith has done an amazing job in his first year as the head coach at his alma mater. He’d be a lock for Pac-12 Coach of the Year if he could somehow get OSU to a bowl game for the first time since 2013. Of course, the Beavers still need to win two of their final four games against a schedule that also includes Arizona State and road games against Washington State and Oregon. With an upset over Washington this week, they’d have a real shot to make a bowl. But with a loss, the chances of it happening for the Beavers drop considerably.
As for Washington, they have lost three of their last four games, dropping them to 2-4 in Pac-12 play. The caveat is that the Huskies have suffered back-to-back home losses to Oregon and Utah, who are both top-10 teams right now. Both games were decided by five points or less. They also had a 1-point loss to Cal earlier this year, so the Huskies are only about 10 points away from being a 1-loss team.
Nevertheless, it’s been a disappointing season for Chris Petersen and company after winning at least 10 games in each of the last three years. In fact, with three games left in the season, the Huskies still haven’t assured themselves of a bowl game. At 5-4 overall, Washington needs one more win to guarantee a bowl spot.
Fortunately for the Huskies, recent history is on their side. Washington has won seven in a row against Oregon State, with most of those wins coming by wide margins. On the bright side, the Beavers only lost last year’s meeting by 19 points, which is the closest they’ve come to the Huskies in six years. OSU’s last win over Washington came in Corvallis in 2011.
It’s been fun to watch Oregon State start to turn things around this season after years of futility. But I think the Beavers will be a little out of their weight class in this game, even at home. Despite the recent losses, the Huskies still have the talent of a top-25 team, and because of the recent losses, they’ll be out to prove a point. That makes me think Washington will win and cover on Friday.
The Oregon State offense has played a pivotal role in the team’s success this season. The Beavers are averaging 33 points per game and have a balanced attack between the backfield tandem of Artavis Pierce and Jermar Jefferson and quarterback Jake Luton. However, the Beavers have done most of their damage against bad defensive teams like UCLA and Arizona. The OSU offense has been held in check against top defenses, managing just 21 points in a win over Cal and scoring only seven points against Utah.
The Huskies may not be elite defensively, but I think they’re good enough to hold the Beavers below their season average. If you take away the recent losses to Utah and Oregon, the Huskies are only conceding 20.5 points per game. Even in those losses, the Washington defense put up more resistance than most teams.
Keep in mind that Oregon State hasn’t gotten much production at wide receiver outside of Isaiah Hodgins. Luton has also taken eight sacks in his last two games. The Washington defense has the talent other Pac-12 defenses have lacked to limit Hodgins and put consistent pressure on Luton to help throw the Oregon State offense off rhythm.
On the other side of the ball, the Oregon State defense isn’t necessarily doing its fair share. The Beavers have given up at least 31 points in four of their five Pac-12 games. If the OSU offense is held in check, even if it’s just for a quarter or two, I don’t have much faith in the defense to keep the Beavers in the game until the offense can get on track. With the way Washington quarterback Jacob Eason has come on strong in recent weeks, even while facing some of the best defenses in the Pac-12, I don’t see the OSU defense rising to the occasion.
While I think the Beavers will have some success offensively in this game, they have little margin for error against Washington. If the Oregon State offense stalls temporarily or commits a couple of turnovers, the OSU defense won’t be able to stop the Huskies from building a comfortable lead. The Beavers will put up a fight, but I still like Washington to cover the 10-point spread.