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November 16, 2012

Game preview: Washington-Colorado

Time to exhale? That may be what some Washington fans are feeling. After facing a brutal schedule for much of the year the Huskies seem to have a couple of easier games in front of them.

The first of those two games comes Saturday against Colorado (10:30 a.m., FX). To say the Buffaloes have struggled would be an incredible understatement.

There was a time when Colorado (1-9, 1-6 Pac-12) was one of the best programs in the Big XII. That feels like a long time ago. Since joining the Pac-12 things have looked bad in Boulder.

Washington State, the Huskies' next opponent, is the only team the Buffs have defeated this year. That was a one-point win. None of their other conference games have been close. Not one.

Let's put this in perspective: At the end of the first quarter against Fresno State, Colorado was trailing 35-0 and had surrendered about 350 yards of total offense. In one quarter.

Pac-12 opponents have scored six touchdowns or more against Colorado in every game but one. The Buffs haven't held any league foes below 34 points. So for a Washington offense that has struggled at times this year this week should present a good opportunity to work on some things and build a rhythm and some confidence as they move towards the postseason. It's tough to imagine a scenario in which Washington doesn't move the ball easily.

But it's not just the Colorado defense that has struggled. The Buffs' offense has been poor all year as well, failing to top 17 points in every league game except two.

There could be some signs that things are improving, only ever-so-slightly. Last week against Arizona the Buffs scored 10 first quarter points and close to halftime trailed just 21-17. That's improvement. They netted 437 yards, a far cry from the incredible 76 total yards they posted against Stanford the week before in what was undoubtedly one of the worst displays of offensive football in recent memory.

Frankly, there's not much need to give all the gory details as to why Washington is going to win this game. Expect the Huskies to jump out to an early lead, as most of Colorado's opponents have done this year, and then a heavy dose of power running should help shorten it after the first or second quarter.

The fact that Keith Price seems to be finding his groove and Bishop Sankey's continued success means the Buffaloes have little chance of scoring the upset.

Washington doesn't need to focus on Colorado this week. The Huskies need to work on becoming a more mature football team. They have shown they can bounce back from tough losses. Now they need to continue to show they can handle a little success. At 6-4 (4-3 Pac-12) right now, the Huskies can almost taste 8-4 (6-3). But they can't let their guard down.

Prediction
Washington 44
Colorado 14


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