Oregon State (5-5, 2-5 in Pac-12) at Washington (6-5, 2-5 in Pac-12)
7:30 p.m. PT Saturday, Husky Stadium
The line: Washington by 6.5
TV: Pac-12 Networks
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Mike Riley said he broached the subject during a team meeting earlier this week.
The Oregon State coach raised his hand, then asked everyone else who was present for last season's 69-27 loss to Washington to raise theirs, too. He wanted to remind them of just how awful they were that night, and wanted them all to own it.
He likely expects a better showing tomorrow night. So do I. But I think the same team will come out ahead on the scoreboard.
Sure, UW suffered one of its most heartbreaking losses in recent history at Arizona last week. But if you can set aside the way that game ended, it's easy to see the Huskies played by far their best game of the season against what a lot of people consider to be a pretty good Arizona team. Cyler Miles dropped the ball a couple times, and that hurt. But he was more effective in the passing game than in any other game this year, and Dwayne Washington brought an element to the running game that made moving Shaq Thompson to linebacker look like a brilliant decision.
The Huskies got in a rhythm offensively -- 504 total yards -- and executed a strong defensive gameplan well enough to bottle Arizona's running game and largely contain quarterback Anu Solomon.
Enter the Beavers, who aren't nearly as gifted as the Wildcats on either side of the ball. But they are coming off an impressive, 35-27 upset victory over then-No. 7 Arizona State, meaning both UW and OSU are coming into this game after playing their best game of the season one week ago.
Still, I think there are a lot of factors in UW's favor here. Two months ago, I'd have said OSU quarterback Sean Mannion would probably shred the Huskies' young defensive backfield, and he might still have a productive game. But I think that group has improved quite a bit -- Sidney Jones' progression is particularly encouraging -- and the Beavers' passing game isn't nearly as dangerous as it was a year ago (they've dropped from 29th to 59th, nationally, in passing efficiency). Mannion, who threw 37 touchdown passes in 2013, has tossed only 12 this year. Victor Bolden, OSU's top receiver, is talented and has caught 58 passes for 640 yards. But he's no Brandin Cooks, whom the Beavers have struggled to replace.
OSU's rush defense ranks 45th nationally, though the Beavers rank 75th in yards per carry allowed. They're better against the pass, checking in at 29th nationally in pass efficiency defense.
But on senior night in Seattle, with the Huskies maybe feeling a little better about what they're capable of -- especially offensively -- and still needing one more victory to get bowl eligible, I see this one going the home team's way.
The pick: Washington 31, Oregon State 24.
Christian Caple can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ChristianCaple