Oregon State Beavers (3-2 SU, 3-1-1 ATS) vs. Washington Huskies (2-3 SU, 2-3 ATS), 10:15 pm EST, College Football Week 7, Saturday, October 16, 2010, Husky Stadium, Seattle, Washington
By Scotty L of Predictem.com
Betting Odds: OSU 1.5/UW +1.5
Over/Under Total: 61
The Oregon State Beavers travel North to Seattle to take on the Washington Huskies in a Pac-10 conference game on Saturday. The Beavers started showing signs of coming to life in a competitive loss to Boise State a few weeks ago and consecutive wins over Arizona State and Arizona. Washington showed some positive signs with a road win 2 weeks ago at USC and looks to get some more positive momentum established here.
Oregon State has a nice little roll going and some much needed wind in their sails after Saturdays win at 9th-ranked Arizona. This win showed that despite a rocky start, the Beavers havent given up hope on putting something special together this season. A week one loss to TCU and a loss to Boise State obviously had people sleeping on this team and they showed on Saturday that they indeed a good team. QB Ryan Katz was 30-42 for 393 yards and the Rodgers brothers are making their presence felt increasingly each week, though James will be out this week at least with a knee injury. He will missed as a deep threat and on punt returns. Their defense, a unit unable to make many key plays in the first several weeks of the season, has been particularly clutch in the past two weeks.
Poor Washington hasnt been able to get much of anything going for quite a long time now. Since Rick Neuheisel left after the 2002-2003 campaign, the Huskies have been to zero bowl games while going an abysmal 23-60. Conversely, the Beavers are in the middle of one of their more productive periodshaving been to bowl games 6 times out of coach Mike Rileys 7-year tenure. As 9-point dogs at USC, Washington showed they could play over their head against a good team. But in a 7-point loss to Arizona State at home on Saturday, they gave the impression of being a bottom-dwelling Pac-10 team whose potential will not surpass being able to spring a few surprises on the way to an otherwise moribund season.
Not that Washington doesnt have guns. QB Jake Locker is a great athlete and provides a nice running threat, but has been unable to shake off a stubborn case of mediocrity. WR Jermaine Kearse is a big ball catcher with 5 touchdown catches. Running back Chris Polk is on his way to another 1000-yard season. Its just that in a conference full of compelling playmakers, the Huskies have been unable to stand out. Combine that with a shaky defense that has allowed opposing running backs to put up big numbers and you have a difficult situation on your hands if youre head coach Steve Sarkisian. Nevertheless, the Huskies havent given up. After a 35-point shellacking at the hands of Nebraska, they came back to beat USC. Theres no reason to expect them to fold despite the setback to Arizona State last week. A win here gives them two big conference wins in three weeks and a good measure of inertia to carry them through the rest of the season. It would be a little more difficult to soldier on after a loss on Saturday.
The Beavers seemed to be chugging along for the first several weeks without a real identity. As they gain a foothold, they are beginning to congeal as a team. Katz is distinguishing himself as one of the top quarterbacks in the conference. With each game, especially successful ones, he will gain in confidence, which will make the players around him better. Hes got 6 ball catchers who are in double-digits in receptions, with Jacquizz Rodgers coming out of the backfield with 7 touchdowns. Look for Markus Wheaton on offense and Justin Poyer on returns to fill in for the injured James Rodgers.
Scotty Ls Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Every conference game is critical, but this game represents a lot for both teams. The Beavers need to come through to avoid getting squarely stuck in the muck of the Pac-10 mid-pack. Washington needs a win to turn promise into actual achievement. Washington would finally have something to get excited about if they could spring a win. In the end, the combination of having too many weapons and positive momentum on their side gives the edge to Oregon State. Having just knocked off an undefeated Arizona team on the road last week, they wont be put off by Washingtons home crowd. It might take a little while for the Beavers to get rolling, but they will get clicking late and cruise to a cover. Take Oregon State to win as a road favorite.