EUGENE, Ore. - With or without Jake Locker, the Huskies face an uphill battle against the No. 1 team in the land, the Oregon Ducks, according to game forecasts compiled by AccuScore.
"Oregon is winning 97 percent of simulations with a little added bump coming from the news that Jake Locker is not playing," said Zach Rosenfield, college football analyst with AccuScore. "When Locker was playing, Oregon was still 91 percent favorite to win."
AccuScore's computers attempt to forecast games like meteorologists forecast the weather. Every game is simulated 10,000 times. Unlike the BCS computers, AccuScore factors in margin of victory - so, as Rosenfield put it earlier this season, "the computer really loves Oregon."
"Darron Thomas is averaging 239 passing yards and 2.6 TDs per simulation, and LaMichael James is projected for 174 rushing yards and a 92 percent chance of having at least 1 rushing TD," Rosenfield said.
How accurate are these projections? AccuScore is 21-4 (84 percent) this season in predicting the winner in all Pac-10 Conference games. The computers are a combined 12-2 (86 percent) in projections that involve Oregon and Oregon State.
So what do the AccuScore computers say Washington has to do - or the Ducks fail to do - if the Huskies are to play spoiler on Saturday?
"In the 3 percent of simulations where Washington wins, Keith Price averages 1.68 TD passes vs 0.94 interceptions," Rosenfield said. "However, those numbers differ greatly from what his actual projections where he is averaging 0.76 TDs to 1.36 interceptions.
"Oregon’s defense still is susceptible to the run and Chris Polk averages 94 yards and 0.41 TDs, but it should not make a difference," he said.
Last week when the Oregon Ducks were still ranks No. 2 in the BCS, AccuScore conducted round-robin simulations of a championship matchup between Boise State, Oregon and/or Auburn.
"Oregon wins 54 percent of simulations against Auburn by an average score of 36-34," Rosenfield said. "As was the case in the Auburn-Oregon simulation, these teams are all about offense.
"The margin of victory is also two points if Oregon were to play Boise State," the AccuScore analyst said. "After 10,000 simulations, the Ducks beat the Broncos in 52 percent of simulations by an average score of 33-31. Much like the Auburn simulation, this game would be all about offense with both teams putting up gaudy statistics."
Just in case someone dunks the Ducks between now and the end of the season, AccuScore also simulated an Auburn-Boise State championship game.
Auburn won 54 percent of simulations against Boise State by an average of 3-points (34-31).
"While Auburn continues to be vulnerable in pass defense, the Tigers have been putting up gaudy numbers on offense highlighted by over 400 yards on the ground vs. LSU," Rosenfield said. "Auburn also protects the football when they are on offense, giving them a better probability of scoring on offense and not giving up cheap points on fumbles or interceptions."