The past three years for Chris Petersen’s Washington Huskies have been awesome. A College Football Playoff appearance, a trip to the Rose Bowl, one more NY6 bowl just for fun, two Pac-12 titles, and three straight 10+ win years. It has been great, but this is the year we’ve all been looking towards. Myles Gaskin and Jake Browning are gone, and just two starters return on defense as big names lake Byron Murphy, Taylor Rapp, and JoJo McIntosh, Greg Gaines, and Ben Burr-Kirven depart. In their wake, they leave a talented roster that has incredible raw talent thanks to recruiting but severely lacks in the experience department.
Jake Browning stormed onto the scene in 2016 and looked like a future star in the making, but plateaued and perhaps even declined towards the tail-end of his fourth year starting at QB for the Huskies. His replacement, Georgia transfer Jacob Eason, was the #1 quarterback in the class of 2016 before beaten out by Jake Fromm.
I’m excited for Eason at UW, he’s unproven but has a big arm and can make plays with his feet. He’ll have a talented receiving corps to throw to, where pretty much everybody is bak outside of TE Drew Sample. Aaron Fuller leads the room after bringing in 58 receptions last year on a 15.1 per-catch average, but guys like junior Ty Jones and tight ends Hunter Bryant and Cade Otton will also compete for touches. Marquis Spiker is a four-star freshman that intriques me.
Replacing Gaskins at RB will be junior Salvon Ahmed, who averaged 5.8 yards a touch last year as a backup. Junior Sean McGrew will back him up. On the line, four starters are back including All-American Trey Adams, who was injured for most of last year. The Huskies also bring in an array of highly touted freshmen and JUCOs.
This team loses its two leaders but actually might get more talented with their recent recruiting and the addition of Eason.
The Huskies had an awesome defense last year, which helped carry them to a top-ten finish in the CSD Prime rankings. Just two starters return from that group though, DL Benning Potoa’e (5.5 TFL) and NB Myles Bryant (3.5 sacks, six PBUs).
This defense is still absurdly talented but lacks in experience as guys like Tuli Letuligasenoa and Kyle Gordon will have to step into starting roles with little relevant playing time. Veterans like Levi Onwuzurike (three sacks, 3.5 TFL) and Elijah Molden (five PBUs) will need to help guide the way for this defense, but they will almost certainly take a step back.
The CSD Prime model expects this team to be worse than last year’s team by about five or so points on average, but given a favorable schedule with USC, Utah, and Oregon all at home, the Huskies will still be favored in every game this year. This team will be less proven, but probably will have a higher potential, and despite probably not being quite at the level yet, the schedule leaves the door open for a Playoff return trip.
|Date||Opponent||opp. rank||Proj. Margin|
|8-Nov||at Oregon State||101||12.0|
Average Projected Record: 9.1 wins, 2.9 losses (6.5 wins, 2.5 losses)