Tonight at 7:00 p.m. MDT the No. 7 Stanford Cardinal (3-0, 2-0 Pac-12) will travel to Husky Stadium in Seattle, Wash. to face the No. 10 Washington Huskies (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) in the first clash of ranked Pac-12 foes in 2016. While this game will have little bearing on the Utes since it is a matchup of two Pac-12 North teams, Utah fans absolutely should watch this game.
Not only this the first meeting of ranked Pac-12 teams, it is a meeting between undefeated, top 10 teams. This will be the first big test of the season for both of these teams. While there will still be many more games to be played after this one for both teams, this game will likely go a long way to deciding the Pac-12 North. The Pac-12 North Champion has won every Pac-12 Championship Game since the conference expanded to 12 teams in 2011. If the Utes have Pac-12 title aspirations, they will likely have to get by one of these two teams in the Pac-12 Championship Game. Utah also has to face Washington at home on Oct. 29, so this game offers a look at how UW plays against an elite team.
Two of the top defenses in the Pac-12 will be on Alaska Airlines Field tonight. If you are a fan of defense, this should be one of the better Pac-12 defensive showdowns, which is something we rarely see in Pac-12 conference games. Stanford and Washington are first and second respectively in scoring defense in the Pac-12. Stanford is also fourth in total defense, and the Huskies are third in the Pac-12. Both teams also rank in the bottom half of the conference in total offense. All of this could lead to a game where yards and points are hard to come by, and the game is swayed by one or two big plays.
Stanford running back and Heisman Runner Up Christian McCaffrey will face his toughest test of the season in this game against the stout Washington defense. He has topped 100 yards rushing in every game so far this year and is second in the nation in rushing yards per game behind only San Diego State’s Donnel Pumphrey. If McCaffrey can eclipse 100 yards rushing on the road against a top 10 opponent, it will keep him squarely in the Heisman race with Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson (who will also be playing in a huge matchup at Clemson on Saturday).
This game is one of only two games on television tonight and is by far the bigger game (with the other being Toledo at BYU). this game should be one of the best games during a weekend that features three matchups between top 10 teams.