In what may be an ominous prediction for University of Washington fans, my XBox 360 picked the Huskies to beat Stanford in this week's simulated NCAA Football 12 contest.
After four misses in a row, my XBox 360 is only 2-4 on the season—and siding with 21-point underdog Washington seems like another wild prognostication on paper.
But does my XBox 360 know something the mainstream sports world is overlooking?
In the opening sequence, cyber Kirk Herbstreit claimed the "huge talent gap" between Stanford and Washington will be one of the game's biggest factors.
The simulated Huskies showed why Herbstreit's assumption may be wrong, intercepting quarterback Andrew Luck twice and returning one for a touchdown. Both teams only managed 200 yards of total offense, and by the final whistle, Washington prevailed 17-14.
Stopping Stanford on third down (only 2-for-7) proved to be the key for Washington's defense.
If the Huskies have a chance to pull the upset in Palo Alto this weekend, their defense has to stop Luck on third down—something that has plagued Washington's defense early in the season, allowing teams like Eastern Washington and Hawaii to keep their offenses on the field.
Stanford's offense boasts a power running game off-tackle and three athletic tight ends to complement its Heisman-favorite quarterback.
While Washington is stout against the run up the middle thanks to giant defensive tackles Alameda Ta'amu and Semisi Tokolahi, the Huskies will need to successfully defend the edge all game or Stanford will grind them down in the second half.
I believe this game will be closer than the spread suggests, with Washington's offense continuing its strong run through the Pac-12. But UW's youth on the edge—including three first-year starters at defensive end and outside linebacker—will be the difference.
Stanford gets a hard-fought win at home, 44-33.
Xbox predictions this season: 2-4
Beswick predictions this season: 4-2
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