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Stanford

vs.

Washington

PAC-12

College Football Pick

9/30/16

With both teams undefeated, it looks like the winner of this matchup could end up getting the Pac-12 North title. Of course, there's a long way to go, but the winner from this one will have plenty of confidence. Playing at home, Washington opened as a -3.5 point favorite over Stanford as seen at 5 Dimes Sportsbook.

Washington's wins have maybe been more exciting, but without a great win on the slate, Stanford's grind-it-out wins over better teams looks slightly more impressive.

There's nothing outstanding about the Cardinal. They haven't scored more than 27 points in three wins and haven't allowed more than 13. They continue to win via stout defense and getting Christian McCaffrey the ball as much as possible. UCLA had them on the ropes last weekend, but a 16-point fourth quarter gave them a 22-13 win. The win was there for the Bruins until a ridiculous closing minute to the game with Stanford passing for a TD and then returning a fumble as time expired. For any UCLA backers, it was a terrible beat.

As for Washington, they had a problem of their own containing Arizona last weekend. Against a couple backups, the Huskies struggled defensively, but ended up winning by a touchdown in overtime. If they can't stop Arizona's backup unit, how will they stop McCaffrey?

When these teams met last year, McCaffrey did everything for Stanford in a fairly easy 31-14 win at home. McCaffrey ran for 109 yards and caught 112 more yards for two total touchdowns. But at that point for Washington, they were already struggling and Jake Browning didn't play. Instead, they had KJ Carta-Samuels who did nothing at quarterback, although Myles Gaskin still ran for a solid 108 yards.

The difference in this game is sophomore QB Jake Browning, who already has 14 TDs compared to 2 INTs this season. He finished with 16 TDs and 10 INTs all of last year. He has a deep receiving core to go with Gaskin, who has looked solid on the ground with 302 yards through four games.

This Washington offense has moved the ball fine against weaker defenses, but how will they look against Stanford? No one has really been able to do anything against the Cardinal, including UCLA, who has a similar offense with a solid young QB and a good running game.

And on the other side of that, do the Huskies have a good defense? That remains to be seen after struggling against Arizona and not really facing a quality offense before that. Stanford may not be electric on offense, but again, as seen in last year's game, all they need is McCaffrey.

Quarterback Ryan Burns has been questionable at best with three TDs and two INTs through three games, but with how the Cardinal play, he's not asked to do much. The Huskies know they have to stop McCaffrey somewhat to win this game. If not, the result will once again fall to Stanford who has a better defense and running game. Stanford +3.5

 

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