Guest Post: 2011 UW Football Predictions


This is a GUEST POST by GRIFFIN BENNETT known mainly for his coverage of Husky basketball on However, he is a talented writer that loves the Huskies in all avenues and arenas. This is his piece on “predicting the UW Football season”. FOLLOW Griffin at @GriffinWB . 

The 2011 season couldn’t start fast enough, I thought to myself as I walked out of Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego last December. Drunk on the Huskies’ first bowl victory in a decade (and other things), I began to dream about what the 2011 season could hold.

Fast forward seven months and the Huskies have some serious national sleeper buzz and there could be something to it. I’m not going to bother you all with a position-by-position break down because odds are that if you’re reading this you are in the top 5th percentile of Husky football fans and already know everything. Instead, I’ll just touch on the reasons why the Huskies will either sink or swim this season as well as give an early preview and prediction for each game.


Keith Price isn’t Jake Locker. We forget how many broken plays that Jake kept alive with his feet that otherwise would have been for losses. The offensive line is still relatively young and the rising stars may take some time to fully shine. Opposing defenses will stack the box with 8 and 9 defenders and dare Keith Price to throw it. While I don’t think that Chris Polk’s injury is a serious one, you never know how it may effect his play.

On defense, there is no doubt that the defensive line will be it’s strength. However, the defensive line’s job is to take up blockers and allow the linebackers to make plays. The problem is that our linebackers are young and, outside of Cort Dennison, their skills have barely been tested. Vic Aiyewa was a pleasant surprise last year but can we truly expect Fui/Gilliland/Timu to be as good as Vic was last year? I won’t hold my breath.

The secondary has it’s problems as well. To succeed this year, the Huskies can’t take another Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde act from Q-Rich again. Last year he was worse than bad for the first 7 games and then became a serious play maker for the last 6. Which one is going to show up this year?


This is the best crop of receivers that UW has ever had. Yeah, that’s right, I just busted out the hyperbole. Kearse and Aguilar are enough to have a solid staff by itself. Add in Parade All-American Kasen Williams, James Johnson, Kevin Smith, and Diandre Campbell and you have a disgustingly deep receiving corp.

Obviously, you have Chris Polk and his never-go-down running style with Keith Price who just finished his third pre-season under Sark’s system and you have a recipe for a truly deadly offense.

Ta’amu and Jamora ended last season as the Huskies two biggest break out stars. They bolster a defensive line that not only has size in the middle (Ta’amu, Thompson, Potoa’e, Shelton) but also speed on the ends (Jamora, Shirley, Crichton, Hudson). They should be wreaking havoc on third downs all year.

Another year under the belts of Trufant, Parker, Richardson, and Fellner can only be a good thing for the Dawgs’ secondary. There are some real positives on this defense.

Now on to the game previews.

Week 1: vs. Eastern Washington

Line: -18.5

They Eagles are the preseason number one team in the FCS after winning the “National Championship” last season. That makes them the 121st best college football team in the country. Their team is littered with transfers, dropouts, or people who were passed over by bigger schools. I’m not knocking these kids, it’s just the truth. If the Huskies and Eagles played this game 100 times the Eagles would win 5. Maybe. Don’t buy into the Eagle hype.

Prediction: UW 42, EWU 17. It won’t be as close as that score looks.

Week 2: vs. Hawaii

Projected Line: -10

The high octane Warrior offense comes to

Montlake led by quarterback Bryant Moniz. He has a chance to lead the nation in passing yards this season and will really test the linebackers and secondary. Their defense is never anything special and nothing has changed this year.

More so than anything, I personally want revenge against Hawaii for the 2007 loss when the Dawgs were up 21-0 and then Colt Brennan picked the Huskies apart. Watching that game made me punch a cement wall which somehow didn’t shatter on impact and instead shattered my hand. The Huskies have come a long way and so has my temper (both thanks to Sark).

Prediction: UW 34, Hawaii 24. It will be an offensive game but the Huskies defense will be the difference.

Week 3:  @ Nebraska

Projected Line: +6.5

The third game in two years between these two squads should be a very fun one. There are a lot questions to be answered. Was Nebraska trying in the Holiday Bowl? Is Taylor Martinez alive? Which game last year was the closest to the truth? How many beers am I going to drink?

The Huskers lost some great players in Prince Amukamura and Roy Helu Jr., but they do return Jared Crick who is a beast inside against the run. This game will be a tone setter for both teams and the winner could go on to do great things this season.

Nebraska has a new offensive coordinator who is “looking to make everything easier”, whatever than means. He’s a run first guy who looks to pound the ball between the tackles and Nebraska has the beefy O-line to do it. It’s going to be a huge test for this highly touted UW D-line.

Prediction: UW 20, Nebraska 27. The game being in Lincoln will be the difference. It will be decided in the final 2 minutes.

Week 4: vs. California

Projected Line: -10

Have you ever heard of Zach Maynard or Isi Sofele? They are Cal’s quarterback and running back, respectively. I had to look them up. Shane Vereen left Cal high and dry as he went to the NFL instead of returning for his final year. All you need to know about Cal is that their punter is arguably their best player.

It’s a down year for Coach Tedford’s team and the Huskies have more talent on their roster. Hopefully it won’t be a let down game after playing Nebraska the week before.

Prediction: UW 28, Cal 10. Just too much running game from UW and Maynard isn’t good enough to beat a stout UW defense.

Week 5: @ Utah

Projected Line: +2.5

The Huskies will be the first Pac-12 home game for the Utes which means it will be a rowdy atmosphere. Utah is a tough team to project because this is easily their toughest schedule in their history and no one knows how that will effect their weekly performance on the field or in the film room. Utah can’t be looking ahead two weeks anymore to their key game as each week will be a battle. Unfortunately, Utah has their BYE week this year before they play the Huskies.

The Utes are led by QB Jordan Wynn who threw for 2,334 yards* last year and WR DeVonte Christopher is the real deal*. On defense, the Utes have a strong defensive line* and will make it hard to run the ball.

*All stats and reviews acquired in an inferior league.

Prediction: UW 24, Utah 28. I just have a bad feeling about this one. They are such an unknown and it being the first Pac-12 home game for the Utes is not a good thing. My opinion could completely change after I see them play at USC and at BYU early.

Week 6: BYE

Week 7: vs. Colorado

Projected Line: -11

It’s year one for Colorado in the Pac-12 and year one as a head coach for Jon Embree. Needing to learn brand new systems is never a good thing for a team and Colorado isn’t exactly bursting at the seams with talent, either.

They do have talented running back Rodney Stewart who is the lone star on the team. He is a true talent that has game-breaking ability. The rest of the offense is predicated on sophomore WR Paul Richardson who had a strong freshman campaign and QB Tyler Hansen who will just try to not be terrible during his senior year. Their O-line is Cougar-bad and needs some serious improvement.

The Buffs’ defense has just as many holes as their offense. They lost corners Jimmy Smith and Jalil Brown to the NFL draft and they aren’t exactly reloading. Throwing on Colorado should be the key.

Prediction: UW 32, Colorado 13. It should be a tough year for the Buffs and UW is better at just about every single position. This game is my Pac-12 Lock of the Year.

Week 8: @ Stanford

Projected Line: +18

I think this will be the toughest game of the season. Stanford has had UW’s number for a while now and their physical style can wear you down. Obviously, Andrew Luck is the best player in the country and is a huge factor in how well this Stanford team plays. Their O-line, led by my fellow Bellevue alum David DeCastro, lost three starters from last year but they have the talent to partially reload.

The loss of Jim Harbaugh is an obvious blow but the loss of defensive coordinator Vic Fangio could have a larger impact immediately. They have a good defense, talent wise, but how that comes together under new leadership remains to be seen. Shane Skov and Chase Thomas are dangerous at the linebacker position and will really challenge Price in the passing game.

Prediction: UW 21, Stanford 34. Maybe next year.

Week 9: vs. Arizona

Projected Line: -7.5

You only need to know one stat about Arizona this year. Their starting offensive line has only ONE previous start TOTAL. They lost all five starters from last year which is a huge problem for the Wildcats. Arizona is second only to UW at wide out with Criner, Douglas, and Buckner. Mix in RB Keola Antolin and QB Nick Foles and their offense should be electric. Too bad their offensive line won’t give Foles any time to throw deep and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was injured by week nine.

The Wildcat’s defense has to replace both defensive ends Ricky Elmore and Brooks Reed who tore up the Pac-12 last year. Add in the injury to starting corner Jonathan McKnight and Arizona may struggle on defense more than people think.

Prediction: UW 29, Arizona 17. The Huskies will dominate the line of scrimmage all game. How will UW score 29? A safety. Mark it down.

Week 10: vs. Oregon

Projected Line: +14.5

This is the Huskies’ Superbowl. The last game before they rebuild Husky Stadium, the and the Huskies haven’t beaten the Ducks in 7 years. I won’t pretend that the Duck’s squad isn’t superior or that the Huskies won’t need to play at their very best to even be close in the fourth quarter.

This is our Rocky IV. Ivan Drago is the Ducks, Apollo Creed is our last 7 seasons, and the 2011 season is Rocky. You can feel the guard changing as Oregon gets further buried in scandal and Sarkisian is quickly building the Huskies back up. A win against the Ducks this season could be the final blow that knocks the Ducks off of their perch.

Offense: They’re fast. Defense: They’re fast.

Prediction: UW 35, Oregon 38. I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t. They’re just a better team. It would be a pick with my heart instead of my head. It’s going to be close and it’s going to be high-octane. Can’t wait.

Week 11: @ USC

Projected Line: +3

You no longer need a wooden horse to sack Troy. All you need is to wear purple and gold (or black). Sarkisian has had USC’s number ever since moving north. While there is still a lot of talent left on the Trojan squad, it has yet to be seen how motivated they will be without hope of post-season play due to their sanctions. Washington will have a lot more to play for in week eleven and that could give them all the edge that they need. On the other hand, I doubt Lane Kiffin wants to lose to his former compatriot twice in a row.

I personally think Matt Barkley is overrated but he is still the second best quarterback in the conference. RB Marc Tyler is still suspended for an off-the-field incident and USC has yet to determine if he will be able to return this  year. I would bet that he sits out two or three games and then returns. Their O-line, which is usually a strength, now becomes their Achilles’ heel (pun intended) with Tyron Smith leaving early for the draft. Sophomore wide out Robert Woods is a freak athlete and should take a major step forward this season.

Defensively, the Trojans return safety T.J. McDonald whom all Husky fans remember from last year as the guy who seemingly was everywhere at the same time. Add in linebackers Kennard and Gallippo, and defensive ends Perry and Horton, and the Trojan defense is probably better than it was last year.

Prediction: UW 23, USC 27. The odds of beating any USC squad three years in a row (and two on the road) is too low for me to predict this one as a win. Kiffin gets his revenge and then gets demolished at Oregon the next week.

Week 12: @ Oregon State

Projected Line: -3

It’s not looking good for the Beavs this year. Quizz is finally gone and his brother James is still injured and no one knows if he will ever be healthy. McCants is not even close to Quizz and their running game will seriously suffer as a result.

The Beaver D is a hot mess. (I just wanted to write that sentence). Seriously, though, they’re bad. With DT Paea now gone, they don’t have a single game changer on that side of the ball.

Prediction: UW 32, OSU 17. I’m more of a Dawg person than a Katz person.

Week 13: vs. Washington State (at the Clink)

Projected Line: -13

Oh, Cougs. You’re so cute when you’re angry. You don’t even want to win this game. Do you want to give Paul Wulff even the slightest chance of coming back next year? It was a nice experiment and it failed miserably.

Jeff Tuel has serious weapons out wide in Karstetter and Wilson but they still don’t have a running game. Have you ever heard of Logwone Mitz? How about Rickey Galvin? Those are the Cougs’ options. While I enjoy poking fun at the Cougars, they have improved since last year. Their offensive line will continue to be their barometer as the team will only go as far as that unit lets them.

On defense, DE Travis Long is the best player by far and everyone else is average at best.

Prediction: UW 33, WSU 24. They Cougs can score points but they just can’t prevent them. Apple Cups are always close and I will never completely write them off. I’ve learned my lesson over the years.

In Review: 

Overall Record: 7-5

Bowl Game: Maaco Bowl (Las Vegas). Party time.

Final Thoughts: I think my review is pretty level headed and I would consider 7 wins a successful season for Sarkisian in his third year. Getting rid of the blow outs and getting back to a bowl game should be the baseline goal this year. Bow Down.