It isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel, but I think that when the Huskies are the heavy underdogs, it’s a good idea to really delve into why they are expected to lose. In some cases, it’s easy to just kind of take a “well, we’ll see if we can get the upset!” attitude without realizing whether or not the strengths and weaknesses of the opponent actually lend themselves to a Washington victory, or if it’s almost certainly going to be a bad loss. With a now top-ten ranked Stanford team coming to town next week, here are three quick reasons why the Huskies will lose to Stanford. Later in the week, I will also post five reasons why the Huskies could pull the upset. Remember, this article doesn’t necessarily represent my actual pick for this game, as I’m just playing devil’s advocate.
1.) Stepfan Taylor: A few weeks ago, I could have said something about how Stanford’s star running back was one of the Pac-12’s best kept secrets. Now, after Taylor was named National Player of the Week for grinding out 153 yards in 27 carries with a touchdown in the upset of USC last week, I don’t really think he’s much of a secret to most fans. He’s by far the most important individual player to the success of the Cardinal, and I must say, he is a joy to watch. His running style epitomizes the Stanford way; he hits the hole with conviction, cutting only to make would be tacklers miss, and while he isn’t afraid to lower the shoulder and drag multiple defenders forward, he can also turn on the jets when he sees daylight. Whether or not the Huskies can actually wrap up and bring down Taylor will be a key to this game.
2.) Washington Offensive Line: Why on earth would anyone expect this offensive line to hold up against a tough, tough Stanford defense? Center Drew Schaefer is seriously the only player that started a game last season that hasn’t burn hurt yet this year. While protecting Keith Price will be a challenge, I think the biggest concern is whether or not the linemen can get any push against Stanford’s defensive front to open up holes in the run game. Don’t let the Portland State game confuse you, the Huskies have not proven they can run the ball, and I’m not confident they will do it Thursday.
3.) Stanford Linebackers: One of the strongest position groups in the Pac-12, the Stanford ‘backers are the backbone of this defense (not that linebackers being the backbone of a defense should come as a shock to anyone). In particular, outside linebacker Chase Thomas could wreak havoc on the inexperienced Husky tackles, considering he had 8.5 sacks last season, and Shayne Skov can be counted on to stuff Bishop Sankey at least a few times by filling up whatever holes the Husky offensive line manages to open.