The PAC-12 Championship this Friday at 8 p.m. looks to be arguably the most consequential game of the weekend. The winner could find themselves in the College Football Playoff, while the loser might be on the outside looking in. Oregon looks to avenge their loss from earlier in the season, while Washington wants to leave no doubt as to who the better team is.
Path To Revenge in Pac-12
The No. 5-ranked Oregon Ducks have put together an incredible season thus far. Their resume has been almost flawless. Almost, however, is the key word. The only loss in their 11-1 record came at the hands of these same Washington Huskies earlier in the season. In what was one of the most exciting games of the season, the Ducks fell short right at the end, 33-36. Outside of that game, however, they’ve been nothing short of dominant.
Led by an explosive offense, Oregon has blown out team after team from day one of the season. When Portland State visited Autzen Stadium on opening weekend, the Ducks scored 81. When they hosted a Colorado team that was flying high, Oregon won 42-6.
Following the Washington loss, the Ducks have ripped off six straight wins to put themselves in the position they’re in now. Much of their success can be attributed to quarterback Bo Nix, whose play this season has put him in the Heisman conversation. This season, Nix has thrown for over 3,900 yards and 37 touchdowns, while only throwing two interceptions. With Nix under center, head coach Dan Lanning has been able to get his other playmakers involved.
Another one 🦆
— Oregon Football (@oregonfootball) November 28, 2023
Lanning has his team right where he wants them at this point of the season – dominating.
𝐑𝐢𝐯𝐚𝐥𝐫𝐲 𝐖𝐢𝐧 𝐒𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐬 𝐃𝐮𝐜𝐤𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐓𝐢𝐭𝐥𝐞 𝐆𝐚𝐦𝐞
"I've said all season, we want to be playing our best football at the end of the season. We are right now." – @CoachDanLanning
— Oregon Football (@oregonfootball) November 25, 2023
Leave No Doubt
That’s all Washington wants to do – leave no doubt. Leave no doubt that they’re the best team in the PAC-12, and the one that deserves a spot in the playoff. The Huskies have put together a magical season of their own, as they sit on a 12-0 record and the No. 3 ranking in the playoff. Much of Washington’s season has been like Oregon’s – dominant.
Their season started off with a 56-19 win over Boise State. They put together a 41-7 dismantling of Michigan State a few weeks later. Then, of course, there was the big win over the Ducks.
In recent weeks, however, head coach Kalen DeBoer’s team has had to grind out some more difficult wins. A 22-20 win over Oregon State left fans in Seattle checking for their heartbeat. The following week was similarly stressful, as the Huskies eked out a 24-21 win thanks to a game-winning field goal by kicker Grady Gross.
Fortunately for DeBoer and Washington fans nationwide, the Huskies have some big time playmakers of their own that’ll look to show up against Oregon. The leader of this group is the Huskie’s own Heisman candidate at quarterback, Michael Penix Jr. Penix has been spectacular this season, accounting for just under 3,900 yards and 32 touchdowns, while throwing eight interceptions.
— Washington Football (@UW_Football) November 28, 2023
Just like Nix, Penix has his own star receiver to throw to in Rome Odunze. Odunze has put up 1,326 yards and 13 touchdowns this year. Opposite Odunze is Ja’Lynn Polk, who’s impressed this year himself. Polk’s accumulated nearly 950 yards and eight touchdowns.
All three stars will look to duplicate their incredible performances against Oregon earlier in the year in the hopes that they’ll find a similar result.
With the PAC-12 dismantling as a conference, the winner of this match will forever have bragging rights as the final champion. While Oregon and Washington will have more opportunities to face each other as they both move to the Big Ten, this one would be special. Bragging rights. Playoff rights. Everything is on the line for these two teams when they face off in Allegiant Stadium.