What Can We Expect From The 4 Northwest PAC-12 Schools For The Rest Of The Football Season?

Before the season began, the Pac-12 was over. USC was going to the Big Ten, UCLA was following behind, and the Oregon-Washington combination was floating in no man’s land. But a month into the campaign, things have changed, largely due to the Pacific Northwest schools. The quartet of Oregon State, Washington State, Washington, and Oregon currently boast a 13-3 record, with the two non-state schools respectively ranked at No. 15 and No. 13. And many would argue that the Beavers and Cougars should be ranked as well. This article will briefly recap the four PNW schools and what we should expect from them for the rest of the year.

Oregon State

Offense: 

Oregon State don’s a solid offensive line led by Preseason All-Pac-12 Second Team selections in Brandon Kipper and Joshua Gray. This duo paves holes for physical running back Deshaun Fenwick, who could prove one of the league’s best by year’s end. With all that being said, this team will go as far as Chance Nolan takes them. Nolan’s four interceptions cost them the game last week against the Trojans. If he can be decent, the Beavers could win the conference. If he sucks, they’ll stay mid-tier.

Defense: 

The Beavs could have one of the best defenses in the conference. Even though it was only one game, they held USC to 17 points. The Trojans scored 41-plus points in every contest prior. The key to this unit is the secondary. They’re led by Preseason All-Pac-12 Second Team selections in Jaydon Grant and Rejzohn Wright. However, the notable player in this group is linebacker Omar Speights. Speights was a Preseason All-Pac-12 First Team selection. 

Season Prediction:

Unless the Beavers find consistency at the quarterback position, they’ll never ascend to the highest level. Expect an eight-win season.  

Washington State

Offense:

Washington State’s offense hasn’t quite found itself yet. There’ve been glimpses, as seen in the Oregon loss, but it’s not dependable. The Cougars’ most prominent player is Cameron Ward, a transfer from Incarnate Word. WSU didn’t have any players selected to the Preseason All-Pac-12 Teams, but Athlon placed wideout De’Zhaun Stribling on their Second-Team. Receiver Renard Bell is also dangerous with the ball in his hands.

Defense: 

The Cougars’ defense could be one of the best in the Pac-12. With the exception of the Oregon loss, no other team has scored more than 17 points against them. Two defensive lineman leads this group in Ron Stone Jr. and Brennan Jackson. Stone Jr. was a Preseason All-Pac-12 First Team selection, while Jackson found himself on Athlon’s runner up’s. 

Linebacker Daiyan Henley has also emerged as a fearsome playmaker. 

Season Prediction:

Washington State is a very solid team, but Oregon exposed their secondary. This squad is dangerous but not elite. Expect nine wins. 

Washington

Offense: 

It’s all about Big Penix Energy. Ever since Michael Penix Jr. stepped on the field, Washington’s program has been revitalized. Penix Jr. has thrown 1,388 yards, 12 touchdowns, and one interception in four games. Alongside him is wideout Rome Odunze, who’s developing into a top-flight receiver. Other names to consider are offensive lineman Jaxson Kirkland who was a Preseason All-Pac-12 First Team selection, and wideout Jalen McMillan who was an Athlon runner-up.

Defense:

With all the hype surrounding the Huskies’ offense, it may prove easy to overlook the defense. The Dawgs D has not allowed more than 28 points in a game this year, and that number may be skewed because of a poor second half against Michigan State. The group is led by linebacker and All-Pac-12 First Team selection Zion Tupuola-Fetui. Defensive lineman Tuli Letuligasenoa was also a First Team pick. 

Season Prediction: 

The Huskies are for real this year, but they may not know how to close out big games just yet. They’re on the doorstep. Expect ten wins.  

Oregon

Offense: 

The Ducks will go as far as Bo Nix takes them. If Nix can continue to show his resiliency against Washington State, then the other conference foes are in trouble. Oregon also boasts a talented offensive line led by Preseason All-Pac-12 First Team selections in Alex Forsyth and T.J. Bass. At the skill positions, running back Bucky Irving and wideout Troy Franklin are starting to emerge.

Defense: 

The Ducks’ defense is hit or miss this year. Against Georgia and Washington State, they allowed a combined 93 points. Against Eastern Washington and BYU, they only allowed 34. Oregon had three Preseason All-Pac Team selections led by two first-teamers in defensive lineman Brandon Dorlus and linebacker Noah Sewell. Linebacker Justin Flowe was also named to the second team. This unit should prove elite by the season’s end. 

Season Prediction:

It feels like Oregon is finding their identity; if they can sure up their defense, they could win the conference. Expect 10-plus wins and to be slightly better than that team in Seattle. 

Avatar photo
About Nick Bartlett 160 Articles
My Name is Nick Bartlett and I am a staff writer here at OregonSportsNews, The Broadcast Manager at SportsPac12, and I am a youth Basketball Coach at Lakeside Middle School. I’ve had my articles featured in the Seattle PI, OregonLive, and various other publications. I also have my own Podcast/YouTube Show titled “The Nick Bartlett Show.” I am from Shoreline, WA (North Seattle) and I am a graduate of the Murrow College of Communications at Washington State University. For business inquiries, you can find my contact information below. Email: NB206wsu@gmail.com, Twitter: @WordsByBartlett