NCAA Football 12 Picks Washington Huskies to Upset Oregon Ducks

R. Kyle BeswickContributor IINovember 3, 2011

EUGENE, OR - NOVEMBER 6: Quarterback Keith Price #17 of the Washington Huskies is pressured by linebacker Josh Kaddu #56 of the Oregon Ducks in the third quarter of the game at Autzen Stadium on November 6, 2010 in Eugene, Oregon. The Ducks won the game 53-16. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

For rivalry games, you throw out the X's and O's and concede that some games are decided by the intangible. Sometimes the cosmos gather around a particular team, and there is nothing the opposing side can do to stop fate.

This may be one of those times for the University of Washington.

With bitter rival Oregon visiting Seattle for the last game in the current Husky Stadium, all the elements seem to be conspiring for Washington.

The Huskies will celebrate the 20th anniversary of their national championship at halftime, complete with former players and the Dawgfather himself, legendary coach Don James.       

The atmosphere surrounding 91 years of memories will be palpable, and the purple and gold energy swirling through Montlake may give UW the boost it needs to end Oregon's seven-year stranglehold on this Pacific Northwest rivalry.

Befitting of Husky Stadium's history, the weather will also provide another twist to this drama. Cold, wet and windy conditions may slow down Oregon's lightning-fast spread offense and give the Huskies a better chance of keeping the Ducks off the field, with punishing running back Chris Polk eating up the clock. 

As last year's BCS title loss against Auburn and this season's opener against LSU demonstrated, Oregon's offense finds its greatest struggles against dominant interior linemen. This means senior defensive tackle Alameda Ta'amu needs to have the game of his life, replicating the kind of performance he gave against Nebraska in the 2010 Holiday Bowl.


Another key to this upcoming game is special teams. Oregon's return game has torched UW the last few years, and the Huskies' improved kick coverage will need another great night to contain LaMichael James and DeAnthony Thomas (and their bizarre first names). 

UW's return game has shown vast improvements this season, and receiver Kevin Smith looks poised to break one for a touchdown. Saturday might be the night.

As I've done each week, I turned to my XBox 360 for a prediction of the Huskies game. Cyber-Kirk Herbstreit wondered in the opening sequence, "How bad is this really gonna get?" 

The broadcasters favored Oregon, the statistics favored Oregon, the player ratings favored Oregon; but this game didn't follow the script.

Washington beat Oregon 17-13 in a sloppy, turnover-ridden battle. Oregon lost two fumbles in the red zone. How each team does inside the 20-yard line may decide the game Saturday night.  

UW will need every star over Lake Washington to align this Saturday, and I believe they will.

Huskies win 30-28.

Xbox predictions this season: 3-5

Beswick predictions this season: 6-2