UW hoping a sold-out crowd at Husky Stadium can help wear down USC on Saturday.
For old-school West Coast football fans, this just feels right, doesn’t it?
It’s Washington vs. USC.
It’s Pac-12 supremacy … North vs. South … Rose Bowl implications on the line.
The Huskies are back to where they were for much of the 1980s and ’90s, now 9-0 and ranked fourth in the College Football Playoff rankings.
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USC, after 1-3 September, is back on track in Clay Helton’s first full season as coach, having won five in a row.
ESPN’s “College GameDay” is broadcasting from the UW campus. FOX will broadcast the game nationwide starting at 4:30 p.m. Saturday from Husky Stadium. Everyone will be watching.
The Huskies, 8.5-point point favorites, have proven themselves as national playoff contenders. USC is trying to prove its turnaround is for real — and an upset Saturday afternoon would cement that.
There’s much at stake for both sides.
“USC is right back to (being) USC. Just watch the tape,” UW coach Chris Petersen said.
“I think our guys know,” he added. “You know how big a game this is — it’s USC. … They’re playing really good and they have that talent they’ve always had.”
Beyond Jake Browning vs. Sam Darnold … beyond Sidney Jones vs. JuJu Smith-Schuster … beyond John Ross III vs. Adoree’ Jackson … beyond Myles Gaskin and Ronald Jones II … and beyond stout lines on both sides … this game could be decided in large part by the atmosphere inside Husky Stadium.
Petersen referenced the night of Sept. 30, when No. 7 Stanford rolled into Seattle — coming off a big win over USC — and was stunned silent by a raucous Husky Stadium crowd. It was perhaps the Huskies’ most important victory in 15 years, and it happened before largest crowd (more than 72,000) since the stadium’s renovation was completed in 2013. There will be another sellout for USC on Saturday.
“I will just say this: I’ve been in a lot of stadiums in my time,” Petersen said, “and how that crowd was (for) Stanford, I can narrow that down to a handful of stadiums I’ve been in and felt like that, sounded like that for the entire game. I know when we’re playing against that, that can wear on you.”
Count on the crowd, again, to wear down USC.
Count on the Huskies to, once again, beat down a Pac-12 visitor.
The pick: Huskies 38, USC 23.
Around the Pac-12:
Washington State 45, California 30: The Cougars ought to do whatever they want against that Cal defense.
Oregon 34, Stanford 30: Hardly the hype for this game that there had been the past few years. Giving the Ducks a slight edge at home.
Colorado 38, Arizona 13: Buffs shouldn’t have any issues with the crumbling Wildcats. The WSU-Colorado showdown next week in Boulder ought to be a lot of fun, though.
UCLA 24, Oregon State 20: Guess we’ll find out if the Bruins really have quit on Jim Mora.
My pick from Thursday: Utah 35, Arizona State 21: Troy Williams and the Utes pulled away for a 49-26 win in Tempe.