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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

June 8, 2009 at 9:23 PM

Athlon’s take on the Huskies

If it’s June, it must be time for the college football preview magazines to begin hitting the newsstands.
And that means our annual entries examining what they are saying about the Huskies (and with the usual caveat that yes, I know these predictions don’t mean anything and that all that matters is what happens on the field this fall. I realize further that my opinion doesn’t mean anything. Your opinion doesn’t mean anything. Lou Holtz’s opinion doesn’t mean anything — especially Lou Holtz’s. But it’s a long off-season and if we decided just to wait until we saw the Huskies on the field again to talk about them, we obviously would have very little to talk about until then. So it’s in the spirit of thinking that talking and analyzing and speculating about college football is half the fun of it all that we do this. Okay, lecture over for this year).
First up, Athlon’s, which picks UW ninth in the Pac-10 this year, where I would imagine most of these magazines will.
In fact, here is how Athlon’s sees the Pac-10:
1, USC
2, Cal
3, Oregon
4, Oregon State
5, Arizona State
7, Stanford
8, Arizona
9, Washington
10, Washington State
Really not much to argue with there from my perspective. The first three are pretty much how everyone is going to see it. The middle five will likely have some variation in the pre-season picks and figures to be pretty fluid once games start, as well. But OSU has begun to earn a lot of benefit of the doubt and I think the Beavers may be a consensus fourth heading into the season.
And UW and WSU did nothing last year and have so much uncertainty heading into this season that it has to expected the two in-state teams will be picked at the bottom this year. UW will get the nod over the Cougars from almost everyone, I think, due largely to Jake Locker and the feeling that Steve Sarkisian will get a lot more out of the talent on hand than did Tyrone Willingham (again with the obvious caveat that it would be impossible to get less).
Athlon’s All-Pac-10 First Team doesn’t include any Huskies.
The second team features Locker and Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, and the third team has D’Andre Goodwin and E.J. Savannah.
In its unit rankings, Athlon’s judges UW this way, on a scale of 1-10, one being the best:
QB — 3
RB — 10
WR/TE — 7
OL — 9
DL — 9
LB — 9
DB — 10
I’m sure a lot of you will find cause to argue with those, and it would be little surprise if units like LB would rank a lot higher at the end of the season. But again, the stench of 0-12 and a team that was barely competitive the last two months of the season is going to take a while to overcome.
The team preview is pretty detailed and I won’t repeat it all here, though for the hard-core fans, it probably doesn’t contain a whole lot you don’t already know. Most interesting may be the answer to this question — which teams have have the second-longest losing streaks in the nation after UW’s 14? SMU and Iowa State, each with 10.
Maybe most interesting to UW fans is the “Scouting The Huskies” segment in which opposing anonymous coaches “size up Washington.”
Here are those comments: “I think it’s going to be a process. I don’t know how long it will take. It’s going to take a year or two to recruit probably to be competitive in the conference. … (Quarterback) Jake Locker makes a difference, there’s no question — his leadership, his skill. … I thought their team speed on defense was very suspect. Their talent level on defense was not very good. It was shocking to see, to tell you the truth. It was shocking to see how slow they were, and not real physical, either. They need to get some people in there. … A chance of scenery is going to make it better for them. I don’t know if it’s going to happen overnight. (Steve) Sarkisian knows what he’s doing. He’s worked for Pete Carroll. He’s going to have a good handle on doing things. They’ll probably do a lot of what USC does, while tweaking it a little bit. It’s going to be a battle for this new staff, with the trust factor wanting to get their own players in there. Inserting your own culture can be tough.”
The magazine also lists UW No. 76 out of the 120 teams in the country — Arizona, picked eighth in the Pac-10, is at 58 while WSU is at 88, sandwiching the Huskies.
Athlon’s national champ is Florida with a top ten following of Oklahoma, Texas, USC Ohio State, Alabama, Penn State, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma State and Ole Miss.



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