Too-Early Prediction: University of Washington

The Washington Huskies have enjoyed a string of winning seasons under coach Chris Petersen including a playoff birth in 2016. The Huskies find themselves in the top 10 in ESPN’s Too-Early top 25. But how will they fair in this upcoming season?

Looking at the coaching record of Petersen, it is easy to say that the 6-loss seasons are over. In the last two seasons, the Huskies have amassed a 22 – 5 record and won the Pac-12 Championship in 2016. Combine that with their ability to find themselves in a bowl game and playoff talks as of recent, and Petersen shows why he was a great hire for UW.

Chris Petersen Coaching Record at University of Washington

The 2018 Huskies also look quite stacked to take the Pac-12 North. Both sides of the ball are returning 15 players, including quarterback Jake Browning and running back Myles Gaskin. Twenty starters on offense and defense are also juniors or seniors. This may play in the Huskies favor when it comes to large games this season.

So what is the prediction per game for the Huskies?

Washington At Auburn

In one of the most highly anticipated games at the start of the 2018 season, the Washington Huskies look to steal one on the road at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. Auburn is a 2.5 point favorite with it being a road game, so expect this one to be close. Bill Bender of Sporting News has UW ranked at #7 and Auburn at #8. A loss here wouldn’t destroy Washington’s chance at the playoffs, but a win would definitely help the conversation. It comes to the end as UW beats Auburn. 23 – 21 Washington

North Dakota At Washington

Division I teams usually schedule a cup-cake team just to give themselves a win without causing too much damage to their team. After a tough game against Auburn, this one in Washington will be a good refresher before starting Pac-12 play against Utah. Don’t expect this one to be pretty as Washington comes away with an easy win. 42 – 10 Washington

Washington At Utah

Utah struggled in Pac-12 play last season, finishing with a record of 3 – 6. With their only wins coming from Oregon, UCLA, and Colorado, it is difficult to see Utah come back from what once was a top 25 team from 2014 – 2016. However, the Utes fared quite well with the Huskies keeping it tied up entering the 4th in 2017. The Huskies would end up winning 33 – 30, but it would come down to a field goal at the end of the game to win it. With Myles Gaskin and Jake Browning returning for another run, don’t anticipate this to be as close as it was before. Expect this to be a balanced scheme as the Huskies look to extend their to 3 – 0. 35 – 24 Washington

Arizona State At Washington

In the last matchup, the Huskies lost 13 – 7. Washington was able to shut down the rushing game, but it was through the air that ASU carved up the defense and racked up 245 passing yards. The Huskies were forced to punt 7 times for 292 yards. Time of possession is what killed the Huskies. Expect them to remember that and return the favor to the Sun Devils. 21 – 13 Washington

BYU At Washington

Since becoming independents in 2011, the Cougars, with the exception of 2017, have won 8 or more games every season. In 2016 BYU struggled to beat Wyoming in the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego and lost to their only ranked opponent Boise State. In 2017, BYU lost to every ranked and power-5 opponent they faced. Expect this year to be no different as the Cougars will be sent home licking their wounds. 27 – 7 Washington

Washington At UCLA

First one to 40 wins. In the last three matchups, the team that has scored over 40 points has won by at minimum 10 points. UCLA holds the advantage over UW for total wins, but that isn’t going to stop Chris Petersen from letting Jake Browning do his thing. I don’t anticipate a lot of offense this game as UW goes on to win at the Rose Bowl. 44 – 30 Washington

Washington At Oregon

Chris Petersen has snapped a 12-game winning streak and is starting to turn on a streak of his own. The Ducks have done well recruiting the last three years staying in the top 20 nationally and top 4 in the Pac-12. Expect it to be close with Oregon squeaking out a win. 26 – 20 Oregon

Colorado At Washington

Colorado kept the ball for almost 10 minutes in the 1st quarter in 2017 and lead 7 – 0. But once the 2nd started, the Huskies outscored Colorado 37 – 3. The game was a won on the ground with the Huskies scarfing up 254 rushing yards. Expect this matchup to be no different. Gaskin is hungry and this could be the highlight real he needs to make a statement to be drafted in the 2nd or 3rd round. 37 – 17 Washington

Washington At Cal

This is the trap game that Washington barely escapes. In 2017, Cal fared well against #5 USC until the 4th quarter as well as Stanford. Their only win against a top 25 team was against #8 Washington State 37 – 3 and that was considered a trap game for them. In 2016, Cal did well to beat #11 Texas and #18 Utah. But in the final stretch, Cal lost to #4 UW, #23 WSU, and #24 Stanford. If the 2016 UW team shows up, expect this to be a blowout. However, knowing that Cal is quite a toss up against top-ranked opponents, we expect this to be down to the wire. It may take a defensive stop for Browning to have a chance to take the Huskies into field goal range. 26 – 23 Washington

#14 Stanford At Washington

This will be the second loss for the Huskies this season. Chris Petersen has only beaten head coach David Shaw once in his tenure at UW. UW has outscored Stanford 93 – 87, but that falls on the blowout game when Washington won 44 – 6 in 2016. Negate that game, and Stanford has outscored Washington 81 – 49 with an average score of 20 – 12. Expect this game to be no different as Stanford puts a bruise on Washington’s record. 21 – 13 Stanford

Oregon State At Washington

Oregon State barely escaped being shut out all last season ending at 1 – 11. This is a classic scenario of Varsity playing Freshman and it being an unfair competition. Last season, OSU lost to UW 42 – 7. With Washington predicted to lose to Stanford, Browning and company will want to release some anger on the meek Beavers. However, coach Petersen will step in early to replace his stars to save them for the Apple Cup. 31 – 3 Washington

Apple Cup – Pullman

The Huskies have won 8 of the last 10 and have scored over 36.5 points in every victory they have secured. In the last two Apple Cups, Washington was ranked in the top 15. This year they enter the season in the top 25. Unless something happens to Jake Browning during the regular season, I expect Washington to roll over the Cougars once again on their way to a chance for the conference title. 45 – 20 Washington

Pac-12 Championship

USC will look to shut out the Washington teams this season in their march towards a playoff birth this season. Last season, USC finished #8 while UW finished at #11. This doesn’t seem too much of a difference considering the too early predictions have UW at #8 and USC at #17. If these rankings hold any merit, expect UW to upset USC and ruin the Trojan’s opportunity to enter the College Football Playoffs. 26 – 20 Washington

Overall

The Huskies look to find another bid into the playoffs but will need an 11-win season for them to stay relevant and in the conversation. A loss at Auburn will be fine as it should not drop UW that far back. But if the Huskies drop any other games outside of Stanford, they will find themselves hard-pressed to make it into the top 4. With a pretty weak strength of schedule, style points and victory margins and a Pac-12 Championship will be the answer for the Huskies if they want to find themselves in the playoffs. Overall: 11 – 2