The Washington Huskies are changing the way they are seen in the Pac-12 Conference, but if they get blown out by the Stanford Cardinal this Saturday night in the San Francisco Bay Area, they’re going to be viewed as a team that really hasn’t changed all that much when compared to last year. This is a very important moment for Washington and head coach Steve Sarkisian. The nation will get to see how ready the Huskies are to play well on the big stage against the defending Pac-12 champion.
Washington Huskies @ Stanford Cardinal
Saturday, October 5th – 10:30 PM ET
Stanford Stadium – Palo Alto, CA
Odds: Stanford -7
Why The Huskies Can Cover The Spread:
Their confidence and preparation levels should be considerable. Washington does not look like the team that won only seven games in each of the past three seasons. The Huskies are deeper this season. They’re tougher on defense, and they don’t make nearly as many mistakes on offense as they did in 2012. This was a team that was all offense and no defense in 2011, but that didn’t lead to a big breakthrough. Last year’s team was mostly defense with very little offense, and that was also too much of an imbalance for the Huskies. This year’s team has the right mix. It is not flashy on offense, but UW is more consistent, and that’s hard to deny. Critics might say that Washington hasn’t played a top-tier team yet, but the Huskies made Boise State and head coach Chris Petersen look really bad in week one. Few teams from any conference or any part of the college football world beat Boise State by more than 20 points, let alone 30. This team is physical. It is resilient. It is patient. A team needs all of those characteristics and more to beat Stanford, a team that uses a smashmouth, no-frills style of play on both sides of the ball. Washington is ready for this game and should – at least – cover the football spread.
Why The Cardinal Can Cover The Spread:
They have the better team. Stanford is one of the two teams that has set the standard for excellence in the Pac-12 over the past three and a half seasons. What former coach Jim Harbaugh started, new coach David Shaw is continuing. Stanford is regularly able to punch teams in the mouth on offense and defense. The Cardinal are so good at running the ball that they are able to use play-action fakes and bootlegs to their advantage. They pull linebackers out of position and throw passes to running backs and tight ends. The formula is a simple one, but when a team can establish control at the line of scrimmage the way Stanford does, its mastery of the trenches is what creates so many opportunities. If you can overpower your opponent at the snap of the ball, everything else falls into place. Stanford is the proven team here. Washington has a very high and steep mountain to climb against the Cardinal.
This game comes down to Stanford’s ownership of the trenches. Is Washington really good enough to hang with Stanford on a physical level? It’s possible, but it’s definitely not likely. Take the Cardinal to win and cover on the football lines.
NCAA Football Picks: Stanford -7