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June 1, 2012 9:10 AM

Friday links --- Is Oregon UW's most important game of 2012?

Posted by Bob Condotta

The turn of the calendar to June means the college football season is that much closer.

And when it arrives, the guys at the ESPN.com Pac-12 blog say the game at Oregon on Oct. 6 will be UW's most important of the season. Here's their reasoning in what is part of a continuing series of stories on the most important game for each conference team.

I'd agree with them that Stanford and Cal games kind of seem like more obvious choices on the surface, each looming as swing games that could make the difference between finishing in the top half of the Pac-12 North or the bottom.

But as they note, if you have higher expectations then that, then you have to shoot for Oregon as the real litmus test in the division. Like it or not, Oregon is the standard in the division right now --- every school in the North has to figure out a way first to beat the Ducks consistently before worrying about much bigger goals.

That said, I might stick with the Stanford game as the most important for this particular season, just because of where it sits in the schedule and where UW will probably be at that point. The Huskies open at home against San Diego State, then play at LSU, then return to play Portland State. They'll be favored to win the two home games, expected to lose at LSU, and I'd agree that they'll likely be 2-1 when they host Stanford on a Thursday night, Sept. 27.

Meanwhile, it will be the first road game for Stanford, which will play its first three at home, including a Sept. 15 game against USC.

Stanford obviously is starting over at QB after three years of Andrew Luck, so the trip to UW will stand as the first road game for his replacement, and as such, a great opportunity for the Huskies to finally get over the Stanford hump, providing they can find a way to stop the Cardinal's running game and put the game in the hands of the new QB, instead.

And with UW then having to travel to Oregon the following week (Oct. 6) then returning to face USC on Oct. 13, the benefits of beating Stanford and being 3-1 heading into that stretch instead of 2-2 can hardly be more clear. Beat Stanford, and then Oregon becomes that much more important. But from here, I still think the Stanford game looms more pivotal this season.

IN OTHER NEWS. ...

--- Troy Williams, the QB from Narbonne High in Harbor City, Calif., whom many expect to soon commit to UW, has moved up to No. 2 on Rivals.com's updated rankings of dual-threat QBs for the Class of 2013. Williams was expected to be visiting UW Thursday and could announce a decision next week.

--- PreGame.com lists UW at 8.5-1 to win the Pac-12, behind only USC and Oregon.

--- Bud Withers writes about the Pac-12 meetings beginning today in San Diego, with the chief topic being the college football playoff.

--- CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy with a good overview of where things stand with the playoff system right now.

--- ESPN.com looks at what Mark Emmert's comments might mean about expansion.

--- Interesting story comparing institutional spending on athletics and libraries --- UW comes out pretty well, depending on how you look at it, I guess.

--- Speaking of Oregon, ESPN also examines which of its losses is bigger --- that of Darron Thomas or LaMichael James.

--- Looks like Hawaii's eyeing the Pac-12 (BTW, "having'' to make that trip every other year is fine with me).

All for now.

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