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Washington State welcomes BFF Oregon State for matchup of ranked teams (GAME THREAD)

Winner gets all the Pac-12 assets.

NCAA Football: Northern Colorado at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Coug fans. The Pac-2 Championship is upon us. Our no. 21 Washington State Cougars welcome the no. 14 Oregon State Beavers for a highly anticipated game for on-field and off-field reasons. Max Borghi, who never lost to Oregon State, narrated this week’s hype video:

By now, you know the off-field stuff. If WSU and Oregon State seem extra chummy, it’s because they are. The presidents and athletic directors of each school held a joint news conference this week with matching Zoom backgrounds featuring the WSU and Oregon State logos. WSU Athletic Director Pat Chun indicated this week that the WSU marching band will play the Oregon State fight song before the game. There was also an Oregon State flag flying beside Ol’ Crimson this morning on ESPN’s College GameDay.

This is not just all for funsies. There’s a method to this madness, and it’s to send a message to the rest of the Pac-12 that this is what unity looks like. That WSU and Oregon State are committed to each other and doing everything they can to ensure their two defeat the rest of the league’s 10 in whatever Pac-12 madness occurs off the field.

As for the actual game played on the Martin Stadium field turf, this is a biggie. You need to read Emma’s three keys as you prep for this one. This will obviously be WSU’s toughest test yet, as is so often the case, it will be won in the trenches. WSU’s offensive line absolutely has to get the running game going, because Cam Ward—as amazing as he’s been all season long—can’t be nearly perfect forever. Ward hasn’t thrown an interception yet this season.

WSU’s defensive line is dealing with some depth issues, but it needs to get to D.J. Uiagalelei, who hasn’t been as impressive as his former five-star rating. Still, he’s a stud who needs to be held in check. Oregon State’s offensive linemen are no slouches, either.

Through three games, WSU has been the more impressive team as far as game results go. But this one is the sternest test yet. You can watch the game on Fox at 4 p.m. PT (as long as UCLA and Utah finish on time, of course).

Talk about it here. Go Cougs.