PAC 12 Championship
All signs point to Washington making the College Football Playoff with a win in the Pac-12 championship. But before they worry about that, the Huskies have to beat a viable Colorado team that has won six straight Games. The Huskies still opened as -7.5 point favorites at 5 Dimes Sportsbook for the Game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.
Washington is not a guarantee to make the playoff even with a win and that’s mainly because of a weak non-Conference slate and a down season for the Pac-12. Things could be better for them, but they fell at home to USC a couple weeks ago. since, they’ve gotten things under control, namely a big win at Washington State last week.
But on the other side of the field, Colorado is no slouch. Their only two losses this season came on the road against really good teams. First was at Michigan in a Game they were leading early on and then at USC. A reason for the losses was that starting quarterback Sefo Liufau didn’t finish either of those Games, which could have changed those results dramatically. Maybe they haven’t blown out teams as often as Washington, but they keep winning and that’s all that matters.
The most interesting matchup in this Game may be the UW offense against the UC defense. The Huskies struggled against USC already and Colorado’s defense is similarly good. Quarterback Jake Browning has been a stud for most of the season with 40 touchdowns and seven interceptions, but his struggles against USC can’t be ignored. If he can have his usual three-TD and zero-turnover Game in a win, it wouldn’t be surprising if Browning was up for the Heisman.
But it’s not just Browning on this offense. For starters, he has one of the best receivers in the country in John Ross. He has 1,071 yards and 16 TDs on the year along with Dante Pettis, who has 14 TDs to his name. Along with that, the ground Game makes this offense even better. Myles Gaskin has matched last year’s numbers with 1,180 yards and 10 TDs with LAvon Coleman’s change-of-pace an underrated aspect.
Colorado has stepped up against some of the best offenses in the league, but can they do so against Browning? Even if they can, the Buffaloes still need to score. One thing this offense hasn’t been this season is consistent.
Liufau has undoubtedly been great, completing close to 65% of his passes to go with his mobility on the ground (five straight Games with 50-plus rushing yards). However, there have been instances, such as the Stanford and UCLA Games, in which the offense just couldn’t do anything. The Buffs scored a total of 30 points in those Games.
Just as important as Liufau will be running back Phillip Lindsay. He’s having an even better season than Gaskin, with 15 rushing TDs. However, against better defenses, Lindsay has struggled. He couldn’t surpass 60 yards against USC and Utah and if that’s the case here, Washington will get a big edge.
The Buffaloes are 11-2 ATS in their last 13 Games overall and are 7-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record. The Huskies don’t have many trends, but are 1-4 ATS in their last five on grass. These teams last played in 2014 with Washington covering the last six meetings.
Our Pick – Colorado +7.5