I’m going to preface this whole piece by acknowledging that Washington did, in fact, defeat Oregon one on one. They also remain the only undefeated team in the Pac-12. It’s their yard until someone takes it from them.
Okay, with that out of the way, I’m also going to say this; Oregon is currently the best team in the conference.
Following the classic up in Seattle, Oregon has emerged with increased fire and motivation…on both sides of the ball.
Washington, on the other hand, looks like they’re playing not to lose.
You see this happen all the time, a down-to-the-wire battle produces a loser that attacks with new gusto, and a winner that is suddenly tentative about their status at the top.
Washington barely survived a bottom-dwelling Arizona State team in their own house. You’d have thought they were playing Oregon again. They followed that up by having all kinds of trouble with a Stanford team that Oregon beat by five touchdowns.
This isn’t to say that UW is no longer a threat. They are.
What I’m saying is that Oregon helped expose a truth: the Huskies are one-dimensional.
They have the best passer in the country, and a plethora of brilliant targets for him to hit. That’s how they win…plain and simple.
Oregon is the only FBS team in the country to have a Top 10 offense in passing and rushing. Saturday in Salt Lake City was the third time they’ve held a conference opponent to a mere six points, and the second time they’ve kept a conference opponent out of the end zone completely.
Bo Nix doesn’t have to do as much as Michael Pennix, because Oregon’s rushing attack is so strong it opens things up for him.
Utah, though missing some star power, most notably Cam Rising, is still a legitimate team with a powerful defense who had lost two times at home since 2018, with the last loss coming in 2020 when their raucous stadium was empty because of the pandemic.
Oregon won in Salt Lake City the same way they won on the farm at Stanford as if there was no difference in venue or team strength.
Washington plays USC this weekend. I’ll take the Huskies. USC, as always, is overrated. It’s probably not going to be pretty when they come to Autzen the week after.
Oregon State is playing pretty well, all things considered. Washington’s trip down to Corvallis may be a lot tougher task than originally thought.
Oregon, fortunately, gets the Beavs at home.
UO and UW look to be on a collision course for a rematch in the conference championship game. I’m not sitting here claiming the Ducks will pummel them this time around, I’m simply saying Washington will absolutely have to prove, again, that they are “top dawgs.”