The season started with so much hope, so much optimism surrounding the Washington football team. They bludgeoned Boise State 38-6 in the opening of Husky Stadium, took care of business against Illinois on the road and at home versus Idaho State, and then physically dominated Arizona at home. A 4-0 start looked very promising, but three consecutive losses at Stanford, against Oregon and at ASU have people in panic mode over the football team. From here on out the season can be saved or destroyed. Here are the best and worst outcomes for the Huskies the rest of this year:
Worst Case: The Huskies start Keith Price against Cal even though it’s clear his thumb injury is affecting his play. In the second quarter Price gets sacked and lands awkwardly. After the play he comes off the field and does not return to the game. Cyler Miles comes in and turns in a so-so performance that ends with a 38-28 victory, but only because Kline was picked off three times, two being returned for touchdowns. During the bye week it is announced that Price has to get surgery on his thumb and is done for the year. The Huskies dispose of Colorado the following week at home 34-17, but they look terrible in a 42-14 loss to UCLA, Hundley eviscerating the defense with his arms and legs, while Miles looks overwhelmed the whole game, totaling only 188 yards on the ground and through the air. The Dawgs then travel to Corvallis, where they show signs of hope with a 21-10 halftime lead, but blow it in the fourth quarter, the Beavers sealing the deal with a late fumble by John Ross in the red zone with 30 seconds left in the game. Oregon State then takes a knee and wins 31-27. Limping into the Apple Cup at 6-5, the Huskies take on the Cougars, who sit at 5-6. Cougars win 44-41 at Husky Stadium, Sarkisian is fired the next day. The Huskies go to the New Mexico Bowl and beat a bad UNLV team 31-20, with Justin Wilcox at head coach. The Huskies finish the season 7-6 and unranked for the fourth year in a row.
Best Case: Cyler Miles is declared the starter against Cal, giving Keith Price two weeks to rest his thumb. Washington comes out straight up angry in the night game at Husky Stadium and looks like a new team, absolutely dominating the line of scrimmage in a 56-3 win. Miles gives the Huskies a bright look at the future, throwing for four touchdowns and running for one. Sankey gains 281 yards, and the Washington defense forces 6 turnovers against a young Cal offense. Two weeks later the Huskies haven’t lost their edge, beating up Colorado 55-9. Price starts but is taken out at half after the Huskies build a 38-0 lead. The defense gives up a combined 410 yards to Cal and Colorado. The Huskies then travel to take on 7th ranked UCLA, a few weeks removed from upsetting then #3 Oregon. With 92 seconds left in the game UCLA gets the ball on its own 31, down 27-24. They use 91 seconds to drive to the Huskies three yard line. UCLA elects to go for the touchdown and the win with one second left, and Hundley is leveled on a QB draw play by Timu, not gaining a yard. Huskies win in epic fashion on national television and are then ranked 23rd sitting at 7-3. The Dawgs travel to Corvallis as 4 point underdogs to the surging 8-2, 16th ranked Beavers. The Huskies prove a point in a surprising 36-17 victory, Price throwing for 390 yards and the Huskies secondary picking off the leading passer in the nation, Mannion, three times. The Huskies move up to a #19 ranking at 8-3. The Apple Cup comes around and the Huskies clearly didn’t forget about last year during the game, putting WSU away early in a 48-20 win. The Huskies go to the Alamo Bowl and beat Oklahoma 28-20, ending the year ranked 15th with a 10-3, the best season for the Huskies in 13 years, and Sarkisian keeps his job.