The Washington Huskies head into Lincoln, Neb., with nothing to lose after winning both home games to start the season. Though the wins against Eastern Washington and Hawaii exposed some of UW's weaknesses—particularly on defense—the Huskies are positioned well to reach six wins and a consecutive bowl berth.
This Saturday's game against Nebraska is a rubber match in a series which featured wins for both sides in 2010. Nebraska embarrassed Washington 56-21 in Seattle, and the Huskies responded with a 19-7 win in the Holiday Bowl, showing a surprisingly dominant front seven.
In Week 3 of an ongoing series, I'll consult NCAA Football 12 to see if my XBox 360 can stay undefeated picking Husky games this season.
In the video game's opening sequence, cyber Kirk Herbstreit expressed his confidence in Nebraska. He said, "Odds are this [game] is a rout." Herbstreit, like most of America, is picking the Cornhuskers to easily handle the Huskies in Lincoln (the opening betting line favored Nebraska by 17.5 points).
However, when the simulated game began, the Huskies jumped out to an early lead. Sophomore Hau'oli Jamora wreaked havoc on Taylor Martinez and the Nebraska offensive line, with two sacks, four tackles-for-loss and one forced fumble.
After two three-and-outs for Nebraska, UW lead 17-0, thanks in part to workhorse Chris Polk's 41-yard touchdown run. Nebraska started to play for the run until a play-action bomb resulted in WR Jermaine Kearse's 64-yard touchdown reception.
At halftime, UW led 24-6.
The second half played out just like the first, with Jamora notching two more tackles-for-loss.
Quarterback Keith Price proved as accurate as his performance last week against Hawaii, going 11-for-15 for 162 yards and one touchdown.
By the end, UW left Lincoln with a 27-9 upset win.
For the first time this simulated season, my XBox 360 is making a bold prediction. And until proven otherwise, I have to side with my Microsoft-made crystal ball.
Most signs point to a Nebraska win, considering how young Washington's defense has proved in the first two games. Going on the road with inexperience at outside linebacker and in the secondary could free Taylor Martinez to repeat his performance last year at Husky Stadium.
However, Washington's staff prepared perfectly for Nebraska before the Holiday Bowl, and I think they are capable of the same this year.
Also, Washington may have the best player on the field, and Chris Polk could ultimately be the difference as his knee progresses back to full heath.
Washington's offense is discovering its new weapons at tight end, and the deep receiving corps is demonstrating why it just might be the best in the Pac-12.
I'll say take the points and watch UW upset Nebraska, 34-33.
XBox 360 Predictions this season: 2-0.
Beswick Predictions this season: 2-0.