The Washington Huskies were expected to be good, but not this good this quickly. Most pundits had 2017 as the year the Huskies blossomed into a national title contender. But Chris Peterson has done things his own way during his entire coaching career. He did it at Boise State and had the Broncos as a BCS party crasher. And now he’s done it at Washington. He loaded up on young studs a few years back giving them time to mature, and the group, led by Jake Browning and Myles Gaskin, did just that last season. The majority of those underclassmen are back and U-Dub is a CFP threat again.
2016 Record: 12-2 SU, 7-7 ATS, 8-5 O/U
2017 Regular Season Win Total: 10
National Championship Odds: +2200
Odds To Win Pac-12: +290
With a bunch of sophomores and juniors littered throughout the two-deep, the Huskies looked like a more experienced team in 2016. They rolled through the non-conference slate, beating up on Rutgers, Idaho and Portland State. That was just the appetizer for what was to come once the Pac-12 season got underway. Peterson’s teams always play hard and the Huskies outscored their three overmatched out of conference foes 148-30.
The Huskies played just two bad games during the regular season. They escaped with an overtime win at Arizona and weren’t so lucky against USC. The Trojans handed U-Dub its only loss with a 26-13 verdict in Seattle. Any doubts about the best team in the North were quickly put to rest when the Huskies hammered Stanford and Oregon in back-to-back weeks. Washington beat their five North counterparts by an average of 35.6 points with, surprise, Oregon State being the closest game with a 24-point margin.
With Browning, who tied a conference record with 43 touchdown passes, and Gaskins leading the way, U-Dub scored at least 31 points in its victories and averaged a robust 41.8 points per game for the season. The Huskies met a buzzsaw in the CFP semifinals losing 24-7 to Alabama, but proved along the way that they deserved the spot.
The Huskies won’t be sneaking up on anyone this season and they will be the hunted. But that shouldn’t stop them from putting another stellar campaign together. Peterson is a program builder. He did it at Boise State and he’s returned Washington to the national stage after nearly two decades of mediocrity. Several key pieces are back from last season’s CFP semifinalist, but getting back won’t be easy in a division that’s improved.
Browning returns for his third season as the starter and must prove that he’s overcome offseason shoulder surgery. It might be too much to ask for him to replicate last season’s numbers when he completed 62 percent of his passes for 3,430 yards and 43 touchdowns with just nine interceptions. He was named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year and was in the running for the Heisman. He had help from Gaskins, who rushed for nearly 1,400 yards and 10 scores. Also back is Lavon Coleman, who added 852 yards, to keep the gears greased.
The secondary was hit with departures as both starting corners opted for the NFL draft. That’s the only vulnerable area on the entire team but it should be aided by a solid front line and linebacking corps. The offense will pile up the points and also help to overcome any difficulties the defense may endure. There is no USC on the schedule, which is a bonus, but the Huskies have to travel to Palo Alto for the game that could decide the North Division.
Week 1: Washington at Rutgers, Friday, September 1
Week 2: Washington vs. Montana, Saturday, September 9
Week 3: Washington vs. Fresno State, Saturday, September 16
Week 4: Washington at Colorado, Saturday, September 23
Week 5: Washington at Oregon State, Saturday, September 30
Week 6: Washington vs. California, Saturday, October 7
Week 7: Washington at Arizona State, Saturday, October 14
Week 8: OFF
Week 9: Washington vs. UCLA, Saturday, October 28
Week 10: Washington vs. Oregon, Saturday, November 4
Week 11: Washington at Stanford, Friday, November 10
Week 12: Washington vs. Utah, Saturday, November 18
Week 13: Washington vs. Washington State, Saturday, November 25
|SEC Conference||Big 10 Conference|
|ACC Conference||Big 12 Conference|
|Pac 12 Conference||Big East Conference|
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