Most important game: Washington

Every game counts. But some games count more. Or tell us more.

We're going through the Pac-12 and picking out one game that seems most important -- or potentially most revealing -- for each team from our vantage point today.

We're going in alphabetical order.


Most important game: Oct. 6 at Oregon.

Why it's important: At first, I was leaning toward Stanford on Sept. 27. Then at Cal on Nov. 2. After all, a win in those games elevates Washington to the top of the second-tier North teams. But seriously? Who wants to be the best of the second-best? And Washington fans can allow themselves to think, dream, wish big this year with an exciting quarterback who's surrounded by some fantastic playmakers and a re-tooled defense that many hope will be more mettle and less mesh.

It's no secret that the road to the Pac-12 North goes through Oregon. It just so happens that (as Ted likes to remind Washington fans) Oregon has topped the Huskies eight years in a row by an average margin of 25 points.

Why is this year going to be different? Maybe it won't be.

Washington is going to be run through the wringer in the first half of the season, with the exception of San Diego State and Portland State. The Aztecs lost their quarterback, running back and best linebacker to the NFL. Portland State, bless em', those gutty little Vikings don't pose much of a threat. The Huskies play at LSU, home to Stanford, at Oregon and then home to USC. It's conceivable they could be playing the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 teams in the country in a four-week span. But none is bigger than Oregon, the three-time defending conference champs.

A victory changes the entire landscape of the North and may even indicate a power shift in the conference. A loss reminds the Huskies they are second-class citizens in the North and could be a blow to the ego heading into the USC game.