Preview 2018: Previewing and looking ahead to the Washington Huskies season with what you need to know.
Preview 2018: Washington Huskies
– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
– Top Players, Key Game, Fun Stats
– What Will Happen & Win Total Prediction
– Recruiting Class Analysis | Schedule Analysis
– Washington Previews 2017 | 2016
Okay, great. Now beat someone really good.
There’s no dogging the job Chris Petersen has done in any way.
The legendary Boise State head coach needed two years to turn a Washington program that was 0-12 in 2008 from mediocre to a monster. Dawg fans can’t ask for much more than 22-5 over the last two seasons with a Pac-12 Championship with appearances in the College Football Playoff and Fiesta Bowl.
And it was done with almost no amazing wins.
Okay, fine, the 44-6 stomping of Christian McCaffrey and Stanford two years ago was strong, and destroying Colorado to win the 2016 Pac-12 Championship wasn’t without its charm, but this year, with the team Petersen has coming back, and with everything in place to do big things, it’s time to pull off something special.
Washington needs to make a statement. To kick off the season, it needs to beat Auburn in Atlanta, just to prove it can.
It’s time to beat someone really, really good.
UW caught a break over the last few seasons with Oregon losing its mojo and the Pac-12 being a big bag of whatever, but when it had a chance to prove this was all for real two years ago against USC, it got shut down.
No one expected anything great out of Washington in the College Football Playoff, and even in a 24-7 relative breather for Bama, the story was more about the Crimson Tide being sluggish.
Yeah, there was a gut-check win over an okay Utah team last season, but that came after the one game the Huskies absolutely had to have against Stanford, and didn’t get it.
And then, just as UW had a chance to rise and shine on the big-stage against Penn State in the Fiesta Bowl, Saquon Barkley went all Saquon Barkley.
But who cares? You are what your record is, and if Washington can go 12-1 with a Pac-12 title this year, no matter who it plays and how it happens, it’s going to the College Football Playoff.
It’s not like Alabama beat anyone impressive last season to get in.
For a head coach who feasted off winning massive games at Boise State, Petersen now has the team, the breaks, and the schedule to make it two CFP appearances in three years and win a second Pac-12 title along the way.
This is going to be the Pac-12’s best team when it arrives in Atlanta to deal with Auburn – there are no weaknesses.
Jake Browning is a four-year starting quarterback who can run Petersen’s offense in his sleep. There’s a teeny, tiny concern about the receiving corps, but it’s a deep group that Browning will make better.
RB Myles Gaskin is miraculously not in the NFL right now, and he’ll get to run behind a pro-caliber line. If massive future first round pick Trey Adams is back and healthy after injuring his knee, forget it – there could be four All-Pac-12 performers up front.
And the best defense in the Pac-12 last season is even better.
Nine starters return, there are too many good defensive backs to get on the field at the same time, the linebacking corps is loaded, and despite the loss of Vita Vea, there’s still mass up front to shut everything down.
There’s no excuse. This is a talented enough team to be the Pac-12 North’s power program this season, it’ll be experienced enough to take down USC – or whatever team beats USC to win the South – and it’ll be strong enough to get to Santa Clara on November 30th.
But if it can prove it can beat someone really good, this should be a talented enough team to play in Santa Clara on January 7th, too.