KVAL Sports predictions: Northwest Rumble

KVAL Sports predictions: Northwest Rumble


OREGON vs. WASHINGTON

Tom WardTom Ward
 

The Dawgs have slowly been closing the gap on Oregon, and this one will serve as a reminder that they still have more ground to make up.  The Ducks are averaging just a shade under 60 points per game, and while they likely won't hit that number at the new Husky Stadium on Saturday, they will score in the 40's.  How will they do that?  Two words: Marcus Mariota.  With De'Anthony Thomas still recovering from rolling his ankle, look for Mariota to put this one on his shoulders.  He's begun to master the read option, and that's something the Dawgs have had trouble with when it comes to Oregon in years past.  The Ducks will run their road winning streak--the longest in the nation--to 19 games. 
Prediction: Oregon 46   Washington 29

Craig LoperCraig Loper
 

Watching the Stanford vs. Washington game last week and how close it was has me thinking that Washington can't recover. The air was sucked out of the  Huskies when their drive was halted by an overturned call. If they would have won, I think this week's game would be a completely different story. Since they lost, I see the Ducks taking advantage of the UW's "jet lag" from last week. History shows off Oregon doesn't always get off to the hottest starts in big games so I expect the same in this one. Steve Sarkisian's group will keep it close into halftime but no a minute longer. The Ducks have consistently shown they're a second half team. The Oregon coaching staff is one of the best in the country at making second half adjustments. They'll do the same in this one. I expect the game to be within 10 at the break but the Ducks pull away in the second half. With or without De'Anthony Thomas, the rushing attack remains on point. I don't think Marcus Mariota will put up heisman numbers so to speak (more than 400 yards and five touchdowns) but I think he'll have a heisman performance, meaning he'll score when they need him to score, distribute to his weapons and lead the UO to a convincing victory. The ONLY way this game is tight heading into the fourth quarter is if the Ducks have two or more turnovers but I don't see it happening. 
Prediction: Oregon 45  Washington 24
Collin Harmon
Collin Harmon

Prior to last week’s game between Stanford and Washington, I thought Stanford and Oregon were on a different tier than the rest of the conference, but the Huskies convinced me that the gap may not be as wide as I thought. Now they get to play in front of a raucous Husky Stadium with a defense that is 10th in the country in points allowed and a balanced offense that puts up nearly 40 points per game.  With that being said, the Ducks rank higher in both categories, and even if De’Anthony can’t give it a go, I think the experience of Marcus Mariota and the defense will be enough to gut out a win.   Prediction: Oregon 38   Washington 28

John FranchiJohn Franchi
 

When does a rivalry lose a little bit of its intensity?  When one team dominates for an extended period of time.  Oregon has owned Washington to the tune of nine straight wins over the Huskies.  If the Duck players are considering this game a rivalry contest, they are doing a good job giving the feeling that this is just another game.  For Oregon, this game represents another step toward the ultimate goal of winning a National Championship.  Washington wants to turn the tide in this series and what better way to reinvigorate a rivalry than by taking away the Ducks’ shot at winning a National Championship.  That won’t happen.  The Huskies will be hard pressed to bounce back after last week’s emotional loss to Stanford.  Marcus Mariota will have another big day and add to his Heisman resume.   Prediction: Oregon 42   Washington 13

 


OREGON ST. vs WASH. ST.

Tom WardTom Ward
 

There are plenty of reasons why I believe Washington State could break through and beat the Beavers in Pullman.  But, there are even more reasons why I think OSU will win on Saturday.  For starters, the Beavers are getting healthier, and are getting closer to putting a complete game together.  Storm Woods is recovered from the concussion suffered against Utah, and he and Terron Ward will now be running behind an offensive line that is back to near full strength. Right tackle Grant Enger missed three games with a sprained knee, but his return should help OSU improve upon their 68 yard per game rushing average.  The OSU defense is improving and has 8 interceptions so far this season (the Cougs have 9).  The Beavers will play their cleanest game of the season on both sides of the ball and come home sitting at 5-1. 
Prediction: Oregon St. 40   Wash. St. 33

Craig LoperCraig Loper
 

I think this is the most intriguing matchup for the Beavers so far this season for a few reasons. One, they're starting to get into the thick of their Pac-12 North conference schedule. Two, you never know how a team will respond coming off a bye. Will they have a sluggish start like they did against Colorado? Will the defense play like it did against Colorado or like it did the first four games of the season? Colorado isn't exactly a "juggernaut" so it's hard to gauge that win. All that said, I did like what I saw out of the Beavers defense in terms of attitude and swagger in the CU game. They played with a passion that wasn't there in the first four games. Now, looking at the offenses of both OSU and WSU, I think this game will be a shootout. Yes, Storm Woods is returning so I think the Beavs will try to establish a run game early. The WSU rush defense is middle of the pack (ranked 52nd in the nation) but this is the first time the Beavers complete offensive line will be playing together since fall camp. Chemistry up front takes a few games to find so I can't see OSU putting up more than 80 yards on the ground. Ultimately, the Beavs will once again rely on the arm of Sean Mannion and the ability of his receivers to convert when they need to in order to win the game. Lastly, the Beavers defense will make "that one stop" that is needed in a game like this. OSU escapes Pullman with a win.  Prediction: Oregon St. 38   Wash. St. 35
Collin Harmon
Collin Harmon

I’ll preface this by saying I think this could be one of the better games of the weekend, that is, if you like offense.  Had the Beavers not lost to Eastern Washington, Sean Mannion should be considered the front runner for the Heisman at this point in the season.  Even without a running game, Mannion has been sensational this year and that won’t stop against Wazzu.  However, if the Beavers are going to win this game, it will have to be the OSU defense that comes to play.  Connor Halliday and the Cougs “Air Raid” offense is the real deal and Mike Leach has gotten the belief back in the Paloose. The Beavers defense was great against Colorado, but I’m still not convinced that’s the team that will show up every week, so I’m going with WSU in a shootout.  Prediction: Oregon St. 35   Wash. St. 38

John FranchiJohn Franchi

After a week off, a healthier Oregon State squad heads to Washington State.  Every game the Beavers have played this season has been an adventure, and this game will be no different.  Both teams like to pass, and pass a lot so this one figures to be a shootout.  Oregon State has proven that its season opening loss to Eastern Washington was a fluke.  The Beavers are rolling.  Good things happen to teams on a roll.  Sean Mannion and Brandin Cooks will continue to operate on the same page.  This one will be close, but the Beavers will manage to escape with another road win.  The Beavs win a shootout.   
Prediction: Oregon St. 41  Wash. St. 40


THE STANDINGS

John continues to lead the standings with a 9-1 record, but should he slip up, Tom is right behind him, and holds the overall points lead with 11.

John Franchi
John Franchi

9-1
(10)

 

Tom Ward
Tom Ward
8-2
(11)

 

Craig Loper
Craig Loper
8-2
(9)

 

Collin Harmon
Collin Harmon
7-3
(8)

 

 

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