Since college football is a sport in which the teams play just 12-13 times a year or so, there’s ample (maybe too much) time for speculation, projection, analysis, etc.
So it is that one of the first list of bowl projections of the year is out, this one from Jerry Palm, the noted projector of all things college sports for CBSSports.com.
Palm picks UW to play in the Sun Bowl, the game that now has the No. 4 pick from the Pac-12, against NC State.
I Tweeted this out last night and was mildly surprised that every reaction I got was negative, the feeling seeming to be that that would be a big failure for the Huskies in 2012.
As a pre-season projection at this time, I don’t see it as out of line, especially among those looking at UW from afar. They see a team that had one of the worst defenses in the country last season and has lost some of its key offensive skill players from 2011 to graduation.
While fans surely hope the defensive coaching changes will make a big difference and that the return of Keith Price and the maturation of some of the younger players will mitigate the offensive losses, it seems more than fair to me to have questions about the Huskies.
It’d probably take a 7-5 record to get to the Sun Bowl next year, and given UW’s schedule, that doesn’t seem that out of line for someone to project at this point.
Palm basically gives a Pac-12 pecking order of USC (BCS title game), Oregon (Rose), Utah (Alamo), Stanford (Holiday), Washington (Sun), Cal (Vegas), Arizona State (Kraft Fight Hunger) and Arizona (New Mexico).
I’m sure a lot of UW fans would question picking Utah that high. But the Utes will have their own reasons for optimism in 2012 — they went 8-5 last year despite having to go most of the year with a walk-on backup quarterback, return one of the best running backs in the conference, and always seem to figure out how to field a good defense.
Not sure that’s the pick I’d make, but I can certainly see why someone might think Utah could win eight or nine games again in 2012. I’d imagine two fan bases that would have real issues with Palm’s picks are those of UCLA and WSU, each of which I imagine will consider a bowl-less season a big disappointment.
As for the Huskies, I’ll throw it out to you, with the poll question below: