Derek Johnson, Columnist. Record: 4-2:
In the midst of what feels like a loopy season, wouldn't it be fitting to see this enigmatic Husky team go down to LA and pull off a shockwave victory? No real rhyme or reason here, I can just easily see this occurring on Saturday.
Prediction: Washington 19, USC 16
Andy Poehlman, Columnist. Record: 3-2: I hold a lot of hostility toward the Trojans. I suppose it stems from the early 80s when I really started to follow the Huskies and it seemed everyone always thought the Trojans were the only team on the West Coast. Well, 20 years later nothing has really changed. I still strongly dislike the Trojans and love the Huskies and it drives me nuts to see the Trojans picked in the top 25 every year even though they don't deserve it. The reason I bring this all up is just to preface the fact that I am going with the Dawgs in this one. Maybe its just residual Trojan-hating on my part or maybe I think that the men of Troy are always overly confident and think teams will roll over and let them win. The only monkey-wrench for my plan is the fact that the UW's defense (it really seems wrong to call it that, doesn't it?) may not really be up to upsetting anyone, save for the stomachs of the Husky faithful. Somehow, though I think the Dawgs might be able to hold it together and get a win in LA. Call me crazy.
Prediction: UW 38, USC 37
Joe Kaiser, Columnist: Record: 4-2: Let's see, the Huskies can't play on the road and they can't defend the pass. Is there any reason to believe that they can stay within 10 of the pass-happy USC Trojans this week? I don't think so. Look for the Trojan defense to give up over 300 yards through the air, but hold the Huskies below 25 yards rushing. The Trojan offense may be the biggest concern for Neuheisel and company, however, with fifth-year senior Carson Palmer finally having a break-out season. Look for the USC signal-caller to go for over 400 yards through the air as the Husky secondary still is too young to know how to stop it. A tough one in L.A., the Dawgs go down.
Prediction: UW 17, USC 31
Rick Samek, Columnist. Record: 4-2: The math looks too simple. But what the heck, I never claimed to be an expert in convergence calculus.
California just played these two teams back-to-back ... beating the Huskies by seven in Seattle and losing to Troy by two in Los Angeles. That's a nine-point difference. Add the obligatory seven points for home venue, and you have a 16-point spread. That seems almost reasonable.
We're halfway through the season now, and three things are clear. One, the Huskies cannot run the football. Two, the Huskies cannot stop the pass. Three, the Huskies have only been on the road once, and that was back in summer - a lack of road toughness. So now, let's add in three things about USC. One, the Trojans can stop the pass - seventh in the country in passing yardage allowed. Two, the Trojan defense, already the PAC-10's best, knows out of the gate that Washington is one-dimensional, and can pin back their collective ears. Three, the Trojans have faced a far tougher schedule that their guests, and have played pretty well for the most part.
Faith can move mountains, but it can't beat a better defense - especially in Los Angeles, a place Washington historically doesn't play very well (even the 1991 champs struggled to a 14-3 win there - the Huskies' last win in the Coliseum). I think Cody's run of 300-plus yard games ends here, too.
Prediction: USC 33, Washington 17
Dawn Van Diest, Sports Washington. Record: 5-1: Something has to give when the conference's No. 1 passing attack meets the No. 1 passing defense. If the Trojans decide to play rough after seeing the success of the Golden Bears on the Husky receivers, the Dawgs could be in for another long afternoon. The Huskies haven't won a game on the road since they were in the state of Arizona, and that is not where they are this week.
Prediction: USC 38, Washington 27
Pat Thrapp, Columnist. Record: 4-2: The Trojans will be without three key of there starters on defense. UW is averaging 380 yards per game passing. This Trojan offense is real streaky, but still puts up darn good numbers. The UW defense is streaky, yet can give up a lot of yards. Especially on 3rd & long. Ugggg Neither team will be able to stop the other effectively so this could be a high scoring affair with huge passing numbers by both teams. USC gets a critical stop at home and wins by a field goal.
Prediction: USC 38 UW 35
An apology to all for having the wrong two teams in my last weeks' factoid. I said Cal & USC were our back-to-back losses. No, it was Colorado followed by a Lee Corso coached Indiana team the next week UW lost back to back in 1976.
Henry Han, Intern. Record: 4-2: I want to be wrong. In fact, I'm BEGGING to be wrong. But let's just face the facts. Washington's running game is suspect at best the secondary is questionable, and USC is highly regarded on both sides of the ball. Perhaps another 400 yards day from Pickett along with a 80 yards TD by Williams will do the trick, but we can not expect that to save us all the time. The Dawgs have not beaten USC in Los Angeles since 1991 and are not favored to do so in 2002. To get an UPSET over USC, they must stop Carson Palmer, Kareem Kelly, and Sultan McCullough. They must stand their ground against a highly regarded USC defense, and please for the sanity of Husky nation, HOLD ON TO THE BALL. But like I said, prove me wrong.
Prediction: Regretfully, USC 28, Washington 17
Edwin Kim, Intern. Record: 3-1: This is by far the hardest game to pick so far. USC has looked both good and bad this year. The Huskies are starting to get some good-fortune usually reserved for the Ducks. Shaun Cody will miss the rest of the season with torn ligaments in his knee. All-American Troy Polamalu will not be at 100%. Don't look for this Saturday to be the day that the running game breaks out. The injuries to Nick Newton and Elliott Zajac have caused major shuffling on the offensive line this week. I wouldn't worry about it though. No one has stopped the Husky offense except the Husky offense. My gut tells me that the Dawgs pull this one out. Of course my gut has never told me the Dawgs would lose. John Anderson likes the natural grass he gets to kick on in LA. Apparently the Trojan kickers don't have the same affinity. They've been abysmal this year. A late field goal wins a nail-biting thriller for the Huskies.
Prediction: Huskies 31, Fighting Prophylactics 28
Chris Fetters, Editor. Record: 5-1. Talk about something having to give. Washington's passing at a clip of 380 yards a game, USC is only allowing 156 yards per contest. With the three keys to the game being offense, defense and special teams, Don James once said you win two of those aspects - you win the game. I think Washington can win the battle of special teams. John Anderson renders any returner they have back there ineffective because of his booming kickoffs, and I think this is the game where Derek McLaughlin gets tested and he comes through. It's so hard to gauge a punter with only 16 punts through 6 games. But winning the battle of offense and defense? I don't think it's going to happen Saturday, and there's really only one reason why - poor showings on the road. Including last year they are 1-4 on the road and that one win (ASU) was a kick at the buzzer to win after a miracle of a game-winning drive. I know at some point they are going to put it together on the road, but LA Coliseum is historically not the place where that's been done. They've been 5-13 since 1960 at USC, and this will also be Neuheisel's christening there as a Head Coach for the Huskies. When all the numbers crunch out, even with the Trojans that are hobbling or out, they still get the W at home.
Prediction: USC 35, UW 31
Kim Grinolds, Business Operations. Record: 4-2: I like the Dawgs in this one. Why? Because Cody Pickett is going to make sure that the Huskies don't lose two in the Pac-10 conference, at least for this week. Look for Reggie to light up the USC corners, and a gimpy Troy Polamalu won't help the Trojan's cause.
Will the Huskies run the ball well? No. Will it matter? No. Why? Because this is USC and they will roll over when the going gets tough. I'll take Cody over Carson Palmer anyday in a tough-guy competition. This one is going to be a war. Pads will be popping and the trainers will be busy. John Anderson will be money as time expires.
Prediction: 27-24 Dawgs
David Samek, Publisher. Record: 5-1: When has Washington played well at USC? Well, Brock Huard gave it a game try before getting clocked by Willie McGinnest on a chin-strap shot that hurt my teeth to watch from the press box. This line can pass block better than Huard's line could, but they haven't proven that they can run block yet. This isn't the game that it will come to fruition.
USC will be missing Sean Cody, and that could be huge. But not big enough. They still have horses up front. Washington has stopped the run well, and they will once again, until it counts. After Carson Palmer has softened the Husky defense with dump passes and slants, Sultan McCullough and Mal MacKenzie will grind out the first downs and be the difference in this game, as the Trojans hang on to beat the Huskies in Los Angeles in a hard fought game. A redzone turnover by Washington will be the difference.
Washington cannot afford to lose a second game in order to be in the Rose Bowl race, but I fear they will do just that. HOWEVER, having said that, I believe that a good showing on the road will bode extremely well for gaining some confidence for the rest of the season.
Prediction: USC 23, Washington 21
To read last week's predictions against Arizona, CLICK HERE.