Adam Jude breaks down the schedule and makes his picks for the 2016 UW football season.
11 a.m., Pac-12 Network
Difficult to peg the Scarlet Knights under first-year coach Chris Ash, the former Ohio State defensive coordinator. Last year, WSU squeaked by Rutgers, which finished 1-7 in the Big Ten. The Huskies are favored by 22 points, but Rutgers has 16 starters back and its strong defensive line should keep things close … for a while.
UW 34, Rutgers 17
2 p.m., Pac-12 Network
The Huskies have the softest nonconference schedule in the Pac-12, and it doesn’t get much softer than the Vandals, who announced earlier this year that they will drop down to the FCS level in 2018.
UW 52, Idaho 13
vs. Portland State
5 p.m., Pac-12 Network
The Vikings, an FCS program out of the Big Sky Conference, knocked off two FBS teams in 2015, including a 24-17 stunner over WSU in Pullman. It’s not crazy to think this could be the Huskies’ toughest nonconference matchup.
UW 42, Portland St. 24
On one hand, the Huskies’ first road game and first Pac-12 game looks like a favorable matchup against an Arizona team that UW annihilated 49-3 last October. And yet the trip to the desert has been a strange pitfall for UW, which hasn’t won in the state of Arizona since 2006. Figure on something bizarre again — a Tucson blizzard, anyone? — but ultimately, and finally, a win for the Huskies.
UW 40, Arizona 27
6 p.m., ESPN
UW’s 1991 national championship team will be feted at this showdown, a game billed as the biggest in the Pac-12. Stanford shouldn’t be fazed. The Cardinal is accustomed to playing in big games — anyone catch the Rose Bowl eight months ago? — and its new QB will be battle-tested from a tough September schedule. These young Huskies still need to experience these types of games.
Stanford 28, UW 24
The Stanford game may be the biggest in the Pac-12 this year, but there isn’t a game Husky fans want to win more than this. Like, maybe, ever. Autzen Stadium’s still the most intimidating venue in the conference, but having an extra day to prepare will be an advantage. The Huskies’ defense is finally good enough to slow down Oregon’s attack and end the 12-game skid to UW’s most bitter rival.
UW 35, Oregon 30
vs. Oregon State
The Beavers were 0-9 in the Pac-12 in 2015 and the prospects for their first conference win this year in the Gary Andersen era don’t look promising, either.
UW 45, Oregon State 17
The Utes, ranked as high as No. 3 in the polls last season, are a sleeper to win the conference. This will be UW’s first trip to Salt Lake City in four years, and former Husky QB Troy Williams will be motivated.
Utah 20, UW 17
The Bears lost seven starters on offense, including No. 1 pick Jared Goff, and they’ll host UW in the middle of what is surely the most daunting six-week stretch of anyone in the Pac-12 (vs. Oregon, at USC, vs. UW, at WSU, vs. Stanford, vs. UCLA).
UW 42, Cal 21
The Trojans, No. 20 in the AP preseason poll, have 10 starters back on offense and former Skyline High QB Max Browne has patiently waited to take charge. Clay Helton inherits the nation’s toughest schedule in his first full season as coach, and the hunch here is he’ll get a signature win in Seattle.
USC 35, UW 28
vs. Arizona State
The Huskies have lost 10 in a row to the Sun Devils dating to 2001, including last year’s stunning collapse in Tempe. By now, Jake Browning and UW’s offense will have learned from their mistakes.
UW 34, ASU 24
at Washington State
12:30 p.m., FOX/FS1
Granted, they’ve only faced the Cougars’ backup QBs, but the Huskies have shut down WSU’s prolific passing offense better than anyone the past two seasons. The Huskies might have the best secondary in the nation, and they’ll get a chance to prove that again in Pullman.
UW 38, WSU 31