Northwest Bragging Rights
The Oregon Ducks, Washington Huskies, Oregon State Beavers, and Washington State Cougars all have a few things in common; they are all part of the Pac-12 conference, they each occupy a spot in the listed conference’s North Division, and all four compete for northwest bragging rights year-in and year-out in a wide variety of sports.
The sport that throws the most fuel on the flame when it comes to northwest bragging rights has always been football. And, for the past four seasons, the Oregon Ducks have walked all over their local competition.
In fact, Oregon’s last loss to Washington, Oregon State, or Washington came in the 2007 Civil War game between the Ducks and the Beavers.
Flying high and ready to assume their role as kings of the northwest once again, the Ducks look to have better competition from their northwest rivals in 2012.
The Washington Huskies have Keith Price, a legitimate Heisman candidate, starting at quarterback; the Washington State Cougars have a new head coach who will make Jeff Tuel one of the best quarterbacks in the Pac-12, and the Oregon State Beavers return many starters on both sides of the ball that should contribute to a surprise season in Corvallis.
Clearly, things are looking to become a bit more competitive in the 2012 edition of northwest football’s best rivalries.
But can any team unseat the Ducks from their current throne?
In order to stir the debate, here are my predictions for every Pac-12 game that will take place between two northwest teams.
Washington State vs. Oregon Ducks – Saturday, September 29th – Centurylink Field (Seattle, Washington)
While the Cougars will be a much better team this season than they have been in past seasons, the Oregon Ducks are just too good to go down in Seattle, Washington.
That being said, expect the Cougs to give the Ducks a run for their money as Leach, Tuel, and company attack Oregon’s coverage unit, a unit that has a lot of uncertainty surrounding the production it will produce in 2012.
This game should be fairly close early on with Oregon flexing their muscles and draining the energy of Washington State in the second half.
Prediction: Oregon 43 Washington State 27
Oregon Ducks vs. Washington Huskies – Saturday, October 6th – Autzen Stadium (Eugene, Oregon)
The Huskies have not beat the Ducks in eight straight games, a streak that is the longest in the history of this fierce rivalry. Though the Huskies will surely test the Ducks with their star quarterback Keith Price, the Ducks at home will be too tough to overcome.
The speed of De’Anthony Thomas, stout defensive unit, and the home-field advantage Autzen will supply all that is necessary for the Ducks to continue their impressive run against the team that is arguably their greatest rival.
Prediction: Oregon 48 Washington 24
Oregon State Beavers vs. Washington State Cougars- Saturday, October 6th – Reeser Stadium (Corvallis, Oregon)
Though they will be coming off a loss to the Ducks, the Cougars will be primed and ready for a contest against the Beavers when they travel to Corvallis on October 6th.
This should be a fun game to watch.
With Sean Mannion and Jeff Tuel going head to head, expect to see a lot of exciting plays through the air and some pretty big statistics from the both of them as coverage may be an issue for both teams heading into 2012.
Tuel and the Cougars should come out of this one on top, however, as they have just enough firepower to outmatch the Beavers.
Prediction: Washington State 31 Oregon State 27
Washington Huskies vs. Oregon State Beavers – Saturday, October 27th – Centurylink Stadium (Seattle, Washington)
The Huskies should easily come out on top in this one. Not only will the Huskies be aided by Centurylink Stadium, they also have the upper-hand at virtually every position group.
Price will have fun putting up great numbers as the Heisman race draws near.
Prediction: Washington 45 Oregon State 17
Washington State Cougars vs. Washington Huskies – Friday, November 23rd – Martin Stadium (Pullman, Washington)
The annual Apple Cup will be a game not to miss this year as both teams competing in the contest are once again Pac-12 relevant.
Martin Stadium will surely be rocking for this one as Keith Price and company look to have a slight edge over Jeff Tuel and the Cougars. This will be one of the more exciting games in the Pac-12 this year and is sure to be fun to watch.
Prediction: Washington 27 Washington State 24
Oregon State Beavers vs. Oregon Ducks
Really not much contest in this one this year. The Beavers will be better than their 2011 version but the Ducks are still too much to handle.
Prediction: Oregon 45 Oregon State 23