Athlon Sports predicts the Huskies will win the Pac-12, and Pro Football Focus calls UW a dark-horse playoff contender.
The Huskies’ 2016 opener against Rutgers at Husky Stadium is still 110 days away, but the buzz about Washington continues to build this offseason.
Athlon Sports released its offseason top 25 poll on Monday, and it has the Huskies ranked No. 11 — the highest of any of the post-spring polls so far — and predicts UW will win the Pac-12 title this fall.
Last week, Pro Football Focus called UW a “dark-horse contender” for the College Football Playoff.
Much of the optimism centers on a defense that ranked as the best in the Pac-12 last season and returns eight starters, including all-Pac-12 cornerback Sidney Jones (a projected top-20 pick in Mel Kiper Jr.’s early 2017 mock draft). The offense returns a battled-tested quarterback in Jake Browning and an emerging star in Myles Gaskin, who helped the Huskies close out 2015 with three consecutive blowout wins.
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And, as much as anything from a national perspective, there’s Chris Petersen‘s track record. Petersen, no doubt, would rather do without the offseason hype — he hates it — but his 92-12 record at Boise State still resonates.
Here, if you’re curious, is how Petersen’s 15-12 record in his first two seasons at UW compares to other notable coaches in program history, and how those coaches fared in Year 3:
1923: 10-1-1, including Rose Bowl tie with Navy
1959: 10-1, including Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin
1977: 10-2, including Rose Bowl victory over Michigan
2000: 11-1, including Rose Bowl victory over Purdue
2001: 8-4, including Holiday Bowl loss to Texas
2010: 7-6, including Holiday Bowl victory over Nebraska
2011: 7-6, including Alamo Bowl loss to Baylor