NO. 23 WASHINGTON HUSKIES
The Huskies will contend if … first-year head coach Chris Petersen can work the same magic he did at Boise State. Washington has a favorable schedule, with home games against Stanford and UCLA. If the Huskies can pull off upsets in those matchups, there’s a chance they could end up in the conference title game. However, they still would have to beat Oregon in Eugene on Oct. 18 to have a shot at winning the North Division. That’s no easy task.
Coach: Chris Petersen (1st year, 92-12 overall)
2013: 9-4 overall, 5-4 in the Pac 12 (T-2nd). Beat BYU in Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, 31-16.
Returning starters: 7 offense, 7 defense
The key game: Stanford, Sept. 27 (Seattle)
Going in the right direction: Washington had its best record (9-4) of the past five years in 2013 after three-straight 7-6 seasons. The Huskies have not had a 10-win season since 2000, which also marked their most-recent Rose Bowl appearance. Washington has a good shot to rectify that in 2014. A win against Stanford in the conference opener would likely have the Huskies halfway there. Even with a loss, all but two remaining games (Oregon and UCLA) are almost sure wins.
Getting defensive: Running back Bishop Sankey left early for the NFL and quarterback Keith Price graduated, leaving the Huskies two big offensive holes to fill for 2014. Washington’s defense, however, looks to be stronger than in past seasons, and it’s the better of the two units on paper. All-Pac 12 linebacker Shaq Thompson and DL Hau’oli Kikaha are among seven returning defensive starters who will carry the load until Washington finds an offensive identity under Peterson.
Big expectations: Petersen has built a reputation as an offensive innovator and posted 10 or more wins in seven of his eight seasons at Boise State. Washington’s going to need some innovation since the Huskies are young at the skill positions. The level of competition in the Pac 12 will be is much greater than what Petersen faced in the WAC and Mountain West, but he’s no stranger to it. He was the wide receivers coach at Oregon from 1995-2000. He’s also the only coach to win the Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award twice (2006 and 2009).
- The University of Washington has had 11 alumni win gold medals at the summer Olympics. Of those 11, the only alumnus not to win one in rowing is goalkeeper Hope Solo of the U.S. women’s national soccer team.
- There are two Pro Football Hall of Fame members who played for the Huskies, including former Houston Oilers quarterback Warren Moon.
- In 2006, Petersen coached Boise State to its first undefeated season since 1958, when the school was a junior college. It also was his first season as head coach of the Broncos.
THE PAST FIVE YEARS
2013;9-4;5-4; (W) Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl
2012;7-6;5-4;(L) MAACO Las Vegas Bowl
2011;7-6;5-4;(L) Alamo Bowl
2010;7-6;5-4;(W) Holiday Bowl
Total;35-29;24-21;2-2 in bowls
Passing: Cyler Miles, 37-61-418 yards, 4/2
Rushing: Dwayne Washington, 47-332-4
Receiving: Jaydon Mickens, 65-688-5
Tackles: LB Shaq Thompson, 50
Sacks: DL Hau’oli Kikaha, 13
RETURNING ALL-PAC 12
OL: Dexter Charles (honorable mention), Mike Cirstie (honorable mention), Micah Hatchie (honorable mention)
DL: Hau’oli Kikaha (second team), Danny Shelton (honorable mention)
LB: Shaq Thompson (honorable mention)
DB: Marcus Peters (second team)
TEXAS PIPELINE: 1
DB Dwayne Washington (Mansfield Timberview)
Aug. 30;at Hawaii
Sept. 6;Eastern Washington
Sept. 20;Georgia St.
Oct. 11;at California*
Oct. 18;at Oregon*
Oct. 25;Arizona St.*
Nov. 1;at Colorado*
Nov. 15;at Arizona*
Nov. 22;Oregon St.*
Nov. 29;at Washington St.*
* Pac 12 game
TOP 25, BY CONFERENCES
1: Pac-12 (23-Washington); AAC (24-Central Florida); Big 12 (25-Texas)
TOP 25 SO FAR
No. 25 Texas
No. 24 Central Florida
No. 23 Washington
No. 22: Coming Sunday. Want a hint? This team opens the season against the defending national champion.