The first kickoff of the season for the Huskies is now eight days away.
And with every hour that the opener draws nearer it seems that the optimism increases exponentially.
If it’s not SI.com’s Stewart Mandel saying the Huskies are a potential BCS sleeper this season, it’s former Husky and current ESPN announcer Ed Cunningham (never one to just spout the company line) saying there’s definitely a path where UW could win 10 games this season.
And then there’s UW coach Steve Sarkisian, who over the course of the past 19 days has called this the deepest, most physical, most athletic, most explosive team he has had in three years at Washington. Sarkisian was similarly pretty optimistic heading into last season, if you recall, but has seemed increasingly confident as training camp has progressed.
The reality, of course, is that just about every college football team has something to feel good about this time of year. Even in wayward seasons like 2004 and 2008 there were people finding reasons to believe as the first kickoff neared for the Huskies.
UW fans, though, hope that the hope is more legitimate this time. And there’s reason to think it just may be.
There are proven skill players such as Chris Polk and Jermaine Kearse. Exciting young playmakers such as Kasen Williams and Austin Seferian-Jenkins. What appears to be a deeper and better pool of talent on both lines and in the secondary, led by the likes of Alameda Ta’amu and Desmond Trufant, each already drawing the eye of NFL scouts.
It could be argued that UW is better at every position than quarterback and linebacker, the two spots where the Huskies suffered significant losses to graduation.
The hesitation is that the Huskies remain young overall — 11 of 22 position starters against Eastern Washington could be freshmen and sophomores.
The hope on Montlake is that the fondation is sturdy enough to make up for the inevitable growing pains of the kids.
Obviously, we won’t really know if all the optimism is warranted until UW runs the gauntlet of Nebraska and Utah and Stanford and Oregon and USC and all of the rest.
But on this sunny August, hope reigns supreme.
And for our poll question heading into the weekend, we ask just how hopeful you really are. Is this truly the season that the Huskies announce their return to college football’s elite? Or is true contention still a year or two away?