I’m going to be a bit bold early in the preseason by making my win/loss predictions right now. Obviously to do this means that I am making several assumptions about not only the Huskies, but about other teams. I will be considering things like loss of talent due to graduation or the draft and I will be assuming in some cases that talent will mature and that players will improve over the course of a year. I could end up wrong, but of course, that’s how it goes with opinions.
With Washington specifically, I think that this team should be significant better next year compared to the end of 2012 simply because all of the very young starters from last year will simply be a year older, and in college, that usually means better. I also think that the offense will improve, even if Price continues to be the starting quarterback, with the rearranging of offensive assistants. I think Marques Tuiasosopo is a great fit as quarterbacks coach and I think it’s much better to have Eric Kiesau contribute as the wide receivers coach, and I’m optimistic about what it will mean for the offense as a whole, especially the passing game.
Once again, I could be wrong. Maybe Washington picks up right where it left off with the disheartening losses in the Apple Cup and Las Vegas Bowl. But I don’t think that is really who they are, or who they will be next year, so I’ll be projecting based on those opinions.
8/31/13 Boise State
Here’s a prime example. Boise State defeated Washington in a close game on a neutral field to end the 2012 season. But regardless, I think that as far as talent and experience goes, the two teams are headed in opposite directions. Washington is only losing a handful of starters on either side of the ball, and the young classes that are getting ready to step in for those losses are more and more talented. Boise, on the other hand, has to replace its starting running back and 3 out of 5 offensive linemen, not to mention 6 starting defenders. When I think of all the first time starters that will be playing their first game of the 2013 season on the road in the brand-new Husky Stadium, it makes me that much more confident that Washington will get the win.
9/14/13 Illinois at Soldier Field (Chicago, Illinois)
This will be an interesting setting, an off-campus game that is still basically a home game for Illinois. But beyond that little oddity, there’s really just the cold hard fact that Illinois is really bad. They were 2-10 last year with wins over Western Michigan and Charleston Southern, so even if Washington struggles early in the year, this one should be a fairly easy win.
9/21/13 Idaho State
And even if Washington totally bombs and loses to Illinois, they should still beat the tar out of Idaho State, a team that went 1-9 last season with a lone win over Black Hills State, a division II school. Also, it’s a home game.
The conference season begins with a serious match-up, but with Matt Scott graduated, the Wildcats will be starting someone new at quarterback, and whoever that is will be on the road against Washington’s physical secondary. I believe that that will make the difference, and that the Huskies will win this game and start off the year 4-0.
10/05/13 at Stanford
A really intriguing game. Like anyone else, Stanford will have some holes to fill on the offense and defense, especially at running back, where Stepfan Taylor was served as the motor of the offense. But still, I’m done questioning Stanford’s ability to replace productive starters with productive starters, and on the road, I think Washington will lose.
This year, Washington’s chance of winning this game is probably higher than it has been in years, simply because the Huskies are more talented than ever and, of course, because the game is taking place at home. But still, Chip Kelly is still the couch, and there’s no reason to believe Oregon will stop scoring touchdowns every 1:15 like clockwork. They are dominant, and they must be favored in this one.
10/19/13 at Arizona State
Could be a tricky one, a road game right after Stanford and Oregon against a team that is consistently underrated. Definitely a game that the Washington of the end of 2012 would have likely lost, so I think it will be a very nice indicator of whether or not the team has evolved in the way that I believe it will.
Washington has beaten Cal on the road multiple times over the course of the last few years, so there’s really no reason to think they can’t do it at home. Unless Jeff Tedford’s replacement totally pulls a Mora and lights a fire under the Golden Bears, I just don’t see the Huskies losing.
The only win easier will probably be Idaho State. Colorado has shown no signs of improving, and they will be starting over once again with a new head coach, so there is no way they will be capable of winning on the road.
11/15/13 at UCLA
I had a lot of confidence in the Bruins midway through last season, but the Holiday Bowl collapse against Baylor was fairly epic and tough to ignore. Even with all of the rising talent, especially young quarterback Brett Hundley, that sort of confidence-shaking loss makes me think that this team will be good, but not elite, and that Washington will be able to take care of business in the less-than-intimidating Rose Bowl road game atmosphere.
11/23/13 at Oregon State
OSU is very similar to UCLA in that they surprised people with their near-dominance early in the year before delivering disappointing bowl losses. Certainly Oregon State’s loss to Texas was far more competitive, but it still leaves lingering questions. Definitely a team that could be perceived in a drastically different way from now to when this game actually takes place, but for now, I think this is one that Washington will let slip away, as two straight road wins against solid opponents isn’t something that has happened very often under Coach Sark.
11/29/13 Washington State
Regardless of the epic collapse in Pullman, this one is at the new Husky Stadium, and I think that even if the Cougars take a big step forward in 2013, a win here will be beyond them.
Projected Record: 9-3